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FCW Insider: A touchy question about the MAS panel

"Is anyone interested in this panel's recommendations?"


It's a question I had to ask when intrepid reporter Matthew Weigelt returned from a two-day assignment covering the latest meeting of the Multiple Award Schedule Advisory Panel.


It was not a rhetorical question, nor was it meant as a cheap shot. It was just a factor worth considering when weighing the importance of Matthew's articles ("GSA should kill price reduction clause," "GSA customers need more data on purchases, panel says").


I was not the first person to ask that question. In fact, I had to ask it because Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, asked it first, back in July ("Waxman questions need for schedules panel").


Waxman argued that the only person interested in the panel was former GSA Administrator Lurita Doan, who resigned in April. If no one else saw the need, why should the panel continue?


Initially, the question sounded like a bit of political grandstanding by Waxman, who had pushed for Doan's resignation in June 2007. But as far as we can gather, no one exactly leapt to the panel's defense, which makes me wonder whether Waxman is on to something.


Nonetheless, I believe the panel is newsworthy because the primary issue it is tackling — the price reduction clause — deserves attention, having been a matter of debate for many years now.


If nothing else, the panel's recommendations might help crystallize a rather arcane matter, which, with a little nudge from acting GSA Administrator Jim Williams, might help keep the issue alive through the coming transition to a new administration.

Posted by John Stein Monroe on Sep 25, 2008 at 12:17 PM


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