Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spending Stimulus Funds

With the push for stimulus funding to be spent quickly, GSA and GovWorks should see a tremendous increase in activity in the next few months.

Government, March 17, 2009:

Existing contracts offer the best option for getting stimulus money out the door quickly, a General Services Administration senior official said on Monday.

Mary Davie, assistant commissioner of GSA's Federal Acquisition Service, told members of the Industry Advisory Council and American Council for Technology that the agency is marketing its schedules and governmentwide acquisition contracts for spending under the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"If you can use existing contracts... it's going to help you on the time frame immediately," Davie said. "It will help you with the firm fixed-price aspect, and it will help you with competition. Agencies should look first to existing contracts."…

Using existing contracts is certainly the preferred option with Stimulus funding. As agencies will see increasing pressure to spend, acquisition personnel will not have the time to start a new requirement from scratch. Having pre-negotiated pricing vehicles already in place, GSA schedule buys are a great way for government to act quickly.

My fear is that with the rush to spend, and increasing pressures on an already overwhelmed acquisition workforce, the doors will be open to waste, fraud, and abuse. Further, time requirements to spend will no doubt shrink, eliminating time for competition and seeing more to sole-source awards. Both possibilities are worst case scenarios, and with the announcement of several awards made by GSA to help with these issues (here), the hope is these concerns will not come to fruition.

Nonetheless, many acquisition centers are struggling to cope with the workloads and do not have the infrastructure in place (here).

We will need to keep a careful eye on how these funds are spent, and hope that acquisition centers continue to reach out to industry and across government to find the personnel and the skills they will need to ensure taxpayer money is spent wisely.

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