GSA: Congress should broaden state, local access to GSA contracts

As the Senate considers legislation that would open several General Services Administration contracts to state and local agencies, a top GSA official said today that the measure should include more opportunities.

The Local Preparedness Acquisition Act, which the Senate might vote on this week, would open GSA’s Schedule 84 for security and law enforcement products and services to state and local governments. The House passed a similar bill in December.

Currently, those agencies can only use the schedule contracts through cooperative purchasing agreements or when they’re recovering from a disaster.

Jim Williams, commissioner of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, said state and local agencies should have had access long ago to GSA’s contracts and that the bill should extend beyond Schedule 84 and even beyond state and local governments.

“If we’re really trying to be one government and we’re trying to achieve interoperability, why not [offer the same access to] grantees [that receive] federal money?” he said in a speech at the Security Industry Association’s Government Summit. He added that recipients of federal grants and state and local agencies should be able to buy from all of GSA’s contracts, including its governmentwide information technology contracts.

“When we’re looking at one government, that’s where we ought to be going,” he said, adding that he wasn’t speaking for the Bush administration.

Sales on Schedule 84 have reached $1.8 billion through April 30 of this year, while sales reached $2.2 billion in fiscal 2007, Williams said.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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