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I was recently appointed as a GPC Level III/IV coordinator. I am relatively new to the career field (4 years) and was very surprised when I was tasked by my boss for this position. It seems as if this is either a good skill set to have or a career ender.

Any one have any advice on being a GPC coordinator?

I have been to a training and it seems as if even the Cardholders dread this Contracting method more than actually putting a Purchase Request or a contract in place. When I ask peers in the office I get comments GPC is the only thing that they did not want to ever do. It seems to be contracting's ugly stepsister.

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Unfortunately it is viewed too frequently as contractings ugly stepchild. The program saves the government considerable administrative time and expense and allows programs to get what they need very quickly. The down side is cards can easily be abused and IGs constantly examine use to catch guilty parties. As a result, cardholders often feel the strict oversight and questioning as well as problems matching invoices with purchases doesn't make use that beneficial. Often they like the idea of preaping and submitting a requiistion and have someone else make the procurement.

As far as your role, my advice is to make the program as easy as possible to use. Share best practices and lessons learned from others with your cardholders. When you do your reviews, look for things to improve. Send out helpful hints. But also keep a watchful eye for misuse. Catch things before auditors do.

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Pebbles,

I would fall into that catagory that would not want to be an APC for anything. To me, not only could it be repetitive which would bore me, but I have seen people get pigeon-holed in GPC and never able to get a position back in "real" contracting. It's a specialty. Now if you're close to retirement, this may be the perfect job. The last APC I knew loved her job and stayed in it for the last 6 years of her worklife... then she retired happily.

She would always tell me that no matter how many trainings were provided, people continued to misue the card either because they hit a "grey area" or just had to "get the job done" and deal with the reprocussions later. Not uncommon in DoD.

If you are with DoD, be sure to learn/know the additional regulations that DoD and the Branch puts on their cardholders. Knowledge is key...

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Knowledge and a SENSE OF HUMOR is extremely important.

I was a Level II with the Army after being a Contracting Officer for several years. The previous three GPC Coordinators had come and gone so quickly that this was a secondary duty along with being an 1102.

The best thing you can do is have the endusers make all requests in WRITING. Nine times out of ten they figured out the answer themselves when they had to put it down in writing. I returned phone calls once a day (otherwise you are bouncing back and forth between customers all day long.)

Secondly, make it clear from the start that 'no exceptions' will be made for people who do not follow the regulations. YOU are the person that will take it in the shorts if you let them get by with stuff.

Third, document all conversations. You will need a paper trail to show WHY you changed something.

Fourth, your Approving Officials will change regularly. This can make it hard to reconcile an account. Keep good communication with the units so you know who they are and that the backup are CURRENT.

ACA Hawaii used to have a great GPC training slide show on their website. Print it out for the attendees at your classes and then they have something to refer to.

Another source: http://dccw.hqda.pentagon.mil/services/dow...rd/PCOPFY07.pdf

Best of luck. I enjoyed it but took another job that was only one mile from home (rather than 40). Loved it though.

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  • 1 month later...

DoD FMR is working on a new chapter (Vol. 10 Chapter 23): "Government Purchase Card (GPC) Program policies and procedures".

I have been asking DoDFMR since May when it will be published - in June I got this reply:

"Volume 10, Chapter 23 is under review. It will be posted as soon as it comes

out of review.

Thanks,

Rose Dorcely

FMR Coordinator"

Keep an eye put for it, I think it might eventually help clear up some recurring problems with managing the GPC program in DoD. Right now, our program is coordinated out of RM and its a nightmare. If you still want more info., shoot me an e-mail (humphreyb at marshallcenter.org), I've got a ton of DoD regs, policies and info.

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  • 1 month later...

Based on my experience as the Level IV OPC for the local GPC program, I would highly recommend that you ensure your CHs and AOs seriously conduct timely account reconciliations... in addition the other information provided here.

The GPC program has changed its 'processes/procedures/programs' several times recently (March '08, when it changed from CARE to AXOL "Access On-Line) and earlier this year to its regenerated guise as "PCOLS" (Purchase Card On-Line System) for management and accountibility of GPC. Like many of the CHs, the GPC program was not my primary function, its oversight was about 3rd on the list of programs that fell under my AoR (even though the related workload could support an FTE). As with many CHs it is often seen as just another additional duty --- which gets the back-burner treatment. Unfortunately, this often leads to cards being blocked from use and these units are then stuck with little/no means to procure needed goods/services. Thats when the "proverbial" hits the fan --- and the upshot: Contracting catches in the neck ...again!!

(Note: Oversight of this task area has recently been delegated to newly hired, fresh, young, eager, MBA graduate.)

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  • 1 month later...
I was recently appointed as a GPC Level III/IV coordinator. I am relatively new to the career field (4 years) and was very surprised when I was tasked by my boss for this position. It seems as if this is either a good skill set to have or a career ender.

Any one have any advice on being a GPC coordinator?

I have been to a training and it seems as if even the Cardholders dread this Contracting method more than actually putting a Purchase Request or a contract in place. When I ask peers in the office I get comments GPC is the only thing that they did not want to ever do. It seems to be contracting's ugly stepsister.

As a former Cardholder, AO and APC for over 10 years in both active duty and civil service, I agree to formerfed's advice on sharing the information to cardholders and all personnel involved. But most of all, be involved with the program. Conduct your own audit, sit down and watch an actual certification, and network with other GPC Coordinators.

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View it as a good opportunity to broaden your knowledge, but don't stay in it more than a 2 years or so if you can. I'm treat my GPC AOPC position as a 2 year rotational assignment and unless/until someone simply falls in love with it and wants to stay (usually until retirement). It is not a positon where your contracting skills will develop much and what you do know could erode. Depending on the size of your program it is a good introductory leadership position. The GPC AOPC position in many respects is comparable to the old Chief, Purchasing Division/Branch back when we didn't have the GPC card. If you stay in it too long you will be put at a competitive disadvantage with peers when competing for other positions.

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