GovWorks finds silver lining in DOD limits

The Interior Department’s GovWorks assisted-acquisition services believes its compliance problems with the Defense Department’s major procurement block have strengthened it and even have a silver lining, an official said June 21.

John Nyce, director of the Acquisition Services Directorate at the Interior Department’s National Business Center, said GovWorks Federal Acquisition Center for NBC reacted too slowly to new DOD regulations, which are unique to the massive department that represents about 50 percent of GovWorks’ business. That led DOD to put a hold on large procurements from the center.

“We have a few targets on our back right now that we’re dealing with, but I can assure you we’ll get through it,” Nyce said in a speech at the Coalition for Government Procurement conference in Crystal City, Va. He added later that “the current environment has made us a stronger and better contracting organization.”

Circumstances have caused GovWorks to review its procedures, such as making sure it meets other agencies’ requirements and checks for the appropriate funds for transactions, Nyce said. In addition, it has increased its own oversight by better documenting and reviewing its contracts files.

“So there is some silver lining to the issues that we face,” he said.

Nyce said he believes GovWorks has its compliance problems with DOD regulations under control and is ready to bounce back. GovWorks officials have said that NBC has solved the problems and have asked Interior's inspector general to review the changes.

To further prove the point, the assisted-acquisition service center has asked the IG to do an audit of the entire center before the end of the fiscal year. "We have to prove we are a compliant organization," Nyce said.

DOD decided to stop using GovWorks’ assisted-acquisition services for all orders worth more than $100,000, Shay Assad, DOD’s director of Defense procurement and acquisition policy, said in a May 31 letter to Interior Chief Financial Officer Nina Hatfield. The letter said DOD’s IG was not satisfied with GovWorks’ attempts to fix its contracting and funding processes.

“We direct that no interagency agreement in excess of $100,000 be accepted by GovWorks…from DOD unless a determination has been made in writing,” Assad wrote in the memo. “This restriction shall remain in effect until rescinded.”

The decision could have a crippling effect on business at Interior's assisted-acquisition services center.

Along with its other changes, Nyce said, GovWorks is trying to diversify its client base, evening the balance between DOD and civilian agencies.
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