Letter: Taxpayers lose under many agency-oriented contracts

Regarding "Use of GWACs seen slowing," a reader writes: [Ray] Bjorklund is objectively correct about the decline of the [governmentwide acquisition contracts]. This decline is perhaps the saddest commentary on the health of the federal acquisition community, including [the Office of Federal Procurement Policy], in the last three years.

The proliferation of agency-oriented contracts represents a perverse fragmenting of operations. The fed should be unifying, consolidating and integrating its sprawling acquisition enterprise to save resources, especially when there is a shortage of trained acquisition personnel. The proliferation of these contracts complicates doing business with the federal government and runs up industry costs. The agency-oriented contract offices become saturated and increasingly cannot support agency missions on a timely basis, especially in the Defense Department. In the end, the taxpayer loses.

Bjorklund is too polite and ultimately off the mark in his reasons for the decline of the GWAC. The reality has more to do with politics, egos and rice bowls than anything else.

Compounding the problem is a comprehensive lack of leadership at the General Services Administration that has allowed the most enlightened acquisition apparatus in federal history to crumble under the fear of audits no matter how overzealous or irrational. Yes, GWACs are in decline for now. The acquisition community is in decline. But GWACs are not dead. Millions of dollars continue to flow through them. Missions are accomplished under GWACs every day. Tomorrow is a new day.

Even bureaucrats can learn. Some are still looking out for the taxpayer.

Anonymous


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