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No more bids by telegram

Telegram from Harpo Marx to JFK (Image from the National Archives)

Telegrams were once used for everything from messages to the president (in this case from Harpo Marx) to, apparently, bids for government contracts. (Image: National Archives)

So much for those singing bid proposals.

New rules prohibiting bid submissions via telegram and fax are part of a Dec. 4 memo from Federal Procurement Policy Administrator Anne Rung on procurement simplification.

Rung's memo is primarily aimed at spreading the use of data-driven procurement practices, particularly category management, to cover the entire federal government, as well as developing talent management within agencies and building better vendor relationships. However, one clause in the lengthy document states, "the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council (FAR Council) shall take steps to identify and remove or revise any outdated regulations, as was recently done for rules related to Y2K compliance, and will be done for submission of bids via telegram or fax..."

All government rules need periodic reviews and updates, of course, but OMB did not respond to an inquiry about why now was deemed the time to take aim at procurement by Western Union. After a chuckle, a GSA spokesperson told FCW the agency couldn't remember the last time a bid was last submitted via telegram, or even by fax.

Western Union, incidentally, delivered its last telegram in 2006.

Posted by Mark Rockwell on Dec 09, 2014 at 12:14 PM


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