Building on an effort to improve communications between federal agencies and industry about government contracts, the Office of Federal Procurement Policy released part two of its “Myth-Busting” campaign to address misconceptions from industry.
The memo reiterates the importance of ”early, frequent and constructive engagement with industry,” especially for high-risk procurements and large information technology projects, that former OFPP administrator Dan Gordon introduced in a memo last year. That memo directed agencies to share more information with contractors.
Here are four of the eight myths OFPP listed in its memo, which was released today by Acting Administrator Lesley Field:
Myth: “The best way to present my company’s capabilities is by marketing directly to contracting officers and/or signing them up for my mailing list.”
Fact: Instead of sending contracting officers and program managers information they may not need, vendors should attend industry days, pre-solicitation conferences and vendor forums that agencies hold for specific upcoming contracts or growth areas. More of these opportunities have been added to the FedBizOpps website.
Myth: “It is a good idea to bring only business development and marketing people to meetings with the agency’s technical staff.”
Fact: Agencies want to know where a company’s capabilities fit in the marketplace and what technology they are bringing, which are usually better addressed by the technical experts at a company.
Myth: “Agencies generally have already determined their requirements and acquisition approach so our impact during the pre-RFP phase is limited.”
Fact: Agencies spend a great deal of effort collecting and analyzing information about what is available in the marketplace. They are looking for specific information from companies about what works, what doesn’t, and how it can be improved.
Myth: “Agencies have an obligation not to share information about their contracts, such as prices, with other agencies, similar to the obligation they have not to disclose proprietary information to the public.”
Fact: Agencies can and should disclosure of information regarding existing contracts between agencies to help ensure the government is getting the best value for taxpayers.
The Office of Management and Budget wants Congress to reconsider a proposal to reduce how much contractors can charge the government for their executives’ compensation, an amount that is currently “unjustified and unnecessary,” the federal procurement chief said in a blog post this morning.
Under federal cost reimbursement contracts, agencies pay contractors for incurred costs, including salaries for executives and other employees. These costs usually show up in the overhead rates that contractors set. OMB caps how much contractors can charge the government for executive compensation based on what top private sector executives earn.
Contractors can currently ask the government to reimburse up to $693,951 for each of its top five executives. OMB will soon have to update that figure and the cap is expected to increase to $750,000.
The administration asked Congress last year to scrap the formula that sets the reimbursement cap and instead tie it to what the government pays its own top executives, about $200,000.
“Unfortunately, Congress failed to reform the current reimbursement formula for contractor executives and, until it does, taxpayers will continue to foot a bill that is both unjustified and unnecessary,” Lesley Field, acting administrator of OMB’s Office of Federal Procurement Policy, said in the post.
The administration has asked Congress to take another look at the formula and lower the compensation cap this year.
Word around town is that Joseph Jordan, an associate administrator at the Small Business Administration, has been tapped to replace outgoing Office of Federal Procurement Policy Administrator Dan Gordon.
The Office of Management and Budget won’t confirm that Jordan is the nominee for Gordon’s job, which requires Senate confirmation. But
Jordan has been named as a senior adviser to Jeff Zients, the federal Chief Performance Officer and OMB’s deputy director for management.
Jordan will start advising Zients and his senior staff on policy and procurement matters this month. Jordan did not respond to requests for an interview.
Being brought on as a senior adviser is a common first step before being nominated to a position like this. In the meantime, OFPP Deputy Administrator Lesley Field will serve as acting administrator starting Jan. 1.
Gordon announced last month that he will leave his post later this year to become associate dean for government contracts law at the George Washington University Law School.
Jordan has been SBA’s associate administrator of government contracting and business development since March 2009. His team oversees
several programs and services that help small businesses meet the requirements necessary to win government set-aside contracts.
Prior to joining SBA, Jordan was an engagement manager with McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, where he
specialized in developing purchasing and supply management strategies for clients. He also worked in the firm’s public sector practice, advising state governments on how to cut costs and capture efficiencies.
Jordan also worked as a consultant at Corrigan Communications in Boston; built and managed operations of the Web-based publisher and marketer formerly known as Backwire; and was an associate producer on MSNBC’s “Hardball with Chris Matthews.”
Jordan holds a bachelor’s in political science from College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. and an MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business Administration in Charlottesville, Va.
The Obama administration has yet another dashboard on the way.
Dan Gordon, head of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, told Federal Times in a statement that the administration will launch a dashboard to track agencies’ progress on acquisition reform later this summer.
The administration has had its much-ballyhooed IT dashboard up and running for about a year, and is working on another dashboard to track agencies’ progress toward “high priority performance goals.” Dave McClure at GSA is also working on something called a “citizen dashboard” that we probably won’t see until sometime next year. Some agencies, apparently realizing that the administration thinks dashboards are the wave of the future, have set up internal dashboard systems to track certain areas like IT spending, cyber security, or overall agency progress toward strategic goals.
OMB’s dashboards typically provide public information on how well federal agencies are performing in certain areas, so I assume the acquisition dashboard will rate agencies’ progress toward identifying contracting savings in an effort to hold them accountable for progress toward the president’s goal.
Gordon said in his statement to Federal Times:
“This is just one step to ensure agencies remain vigilant in their efforts to maintain fiscal discipline and achieve the best value for our taxpayers. We will be meeting with agencies periodically to review their progress against their savings plans and risk reduction goals – helping those who are achieving success to sustain and build on those results and working closely with those who are having difficulties to identify actions that can be taken to improve results.”
The water metaphors were flowing at yesterday’s Senate Budget Committee hearing on federal contracting.
In his opening statement, Office of Federal Procurement Policy administrator Dan Gordon mentioned the massive growth in government contracting over the last decade. He said that acquisition workers “couldn’t cope with this tsunami of buying that was taking place.”
Not to be outdone, Rhode Island Democrat Sheldon Whitehouse later said that “more than half a trillion dollars a year and climbing is clearly a geyser of taxpayer funds that needs to be carefully watched.”
Either way, it sounds like taxpayers are taking a bath.
The Senate confirmed Daniel Gordon as administrator for the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Nov. 21.
Senators confirmed Gordon by voice vote during a break in work on the Senate’s health care bill.
Two critical federal leadership positions may soon be filled.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has unanimously approved Erroll Southers as administrator of the Transportation Security Administration and Daniel Gordon as administrator for the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. The committee approved both nominations by voice vote Nov. 19.
It’s unclear whether the Senate will vote on these, or any other nominations, before it recesses sometime next week for Thanksgiving. Both nominees are considered non controversial.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee will quiz Gordon on his vision for the Office of Federal Procurement Policy at 10 a.m. on Nov. 10. Gordon is slated to have his confirmation quiz alongside the president’s choice to lead the Transportation Security Administration, Erroll Southers.
It’s official: Daniel Gordon, the acting chief counsel of the Government Accountability Office, is President Barack Obama’s pick to lead the Office of Federal Procurement Policy inside the Office of Management and Budget.
Gordon has a long history in procurement law since he joined GAO in 1992. From 2000 through 2006 he led GAO’s procurement law division, which hears bid protests on government contracts. GAO’s bid protest decisions frequently set precedent for government contracting officers. In 2006, he was named GAO’s deputy general counsel and has served as GAO’s acting general counsel since May.
As administrator of OFPP, Gordon will lead Obama’s procurement reform agenda.
In announcing Gordon’s nomination, OMB Director Peter Orszag said in his blog:
Dan is a career contracting professional who understands that the top goal of our procurement efforts is to use taxpayers’ dollars smartly and effectively – that we get the most value for every dollar we spend. Dan will bring a fresh approach to procurement policy, but he also will rely on the expertise of the career procurement workforce to improve our procurement processes.
Check back with FederalTimes.com for a full report on Gordon’s nomination.