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jsprandel

MAS/FSS for State Agency Use

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My agency uses special funds to provide supplies to various U.S. States. I've been tasked with investigating the possibility of pursuing an approach similar to the MAS/FSS contracts against which various State agencies could order product.

My first thought was to just ask GSA if they could set up some new schedules, but my agency (just like any other agency) doesn't want to give up control. I believe that when GSA sets up a schedule, they invite contractors to propose products and prices and GSA puts those on the schedule, and then when agencies order from the schedules, they do a limited competition and ask for discounts from the schedule prices. This is a different process than the IDIQ contracts I usually award. I am just starting to research this issue and I'm trying to identify some of the important issues that my agency would have to address. I'm reviewing FAR Parts 8.4 and 38 and will probably call GSA to get more detailed information.

I would appreciate any insight or recommendation concerning issues I might have to consider. So far, I'm reviewing the following issues, but I'm sure there are a lot I haven't thought of:

1) My agency believes that, if there are any barriers to setting up these types of contracts, they will pursue an exception to the FAR or other regulations - can anyone think of any regulatory hurdles that might have to be overcome (for example, I don't know if GSA and the VA are the only agencies allowed to award FSS type contracts)?

2) I've see that the GSA FSS site mentions that these type of contracts can be used by State and Local Governments for ordering purposes - is there a FAR reference that specifically allows this?

3) Would this type of contract require an interagency agreement between the State and Federal Governments? Is the Economy Act a consideration?

4) I'd appreciate the identification/discussion of these or any additional issues I should consider. I need to advise my management of the feasibility of pursuing this method of contracting.

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A FSS contract is an indefinite-delivery contract. FAR 38.101( a ). Indefinite-delivery contracts are described in FAR Subpart 16.5.

It sounds like you need an IDIQ contract under FAR 16.504.

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1) My agency believes that, if there are any barriers to setting up these types of contracts, they will pursue an exception to the FAR or other regulations - can anyone think of any regulatory hurdles that might have to be overcome (for example, I don't know if GSA and the VA are the only agencies allowed to award FSS type contracts)?


Maybe, but there is not enough information provided.

* How much money do you and your customer anticipate spending?

* Does your agency have specific statutory authority to create a purchasing vehicle for states?

* Have you already investigated the GSA Cooperative Purchase agreement that allows states and local governments to purchase from some GSA FSS and BPAs and determined that it won't meet your needs? See http://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/202313

2) I've see that the GSA FSS site mentions that these type of contracts can be used by State and Local Governments for ordering purposes - is there a FAR reference that specifically allows this?


Section 211 of the E-Government Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-347)authorized state and local governments access to Federal Supply Schedule 70, Information Technology (IT), and Consolidated (formerly Corporate Contracts) Schedule contracts, containing IT Special Item Numbers (SINs). I do not know if it is codified in the FAR.

3) Would this type of contract require an interagency agreement between the State and Federal Governments? Is the Economy Act a consideration?


No, an agency includes any executive department, military department, Government corporation, Government controlled corporation, or other establishment in the executive branch of the Government (including the Executive Office of the President), or any independent regulatory agency (28 U.S. Code 2671). A State Government does not fall within to one of those categories, and therefore is not considered an agency to agency transaction applicable to the Economy Act or interagency agreement requirements.

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FAR Part 38 states that the Federal Supply Schedule program is directed and managed by the General Services Administration, and is for the use of Federal agencies. Not sure how that would allow a State to order off an FSS, but there's an address listed, so reach out and ask.

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I'm not with a state government, but I work for a grantee. We are able to use Schedule 70 and 84:

http://www.gsa.gov/portal/category/100739

Here is an attempt to answer a few of your questions.

1) My agency believes that, if there are any barriers to setting up these types of contracts, they will pursue an exception to the FAR or other regulations - can anyone think of any regulatory hurdles that might have to be overcome (for example, I don't know if GSA and the VA are the only agencies allowed to award FSS type contracts)? My only comment is that this may or may not be worth the trouble.

3) Would this type of contract require an interagency agreement between the State and Federal Governments? Is the Economy Act a consideration? There would be a grant agreement, and perhaps some general grantee guidance issued by your agency. I spend a fair amount of time poking through things like this:

http://www.fta.dot.gov/documents/FTA_Circular_4220.1F_-_Finalpub1.pdf

4) I'd appreciate the identification/discussion of these or any additional issues I should consider. I need to advise my management of the feasibility of pursuing this method of contracting. You may want to reach out to some of your usual suspects in the various State Governments- there may me some gyrations they would have to perform to use a new schedule. However- they may already be prepared on their own without any assistance whatsoever. It's ultimately their reponsibility to spend the money correctly in accordance with both their rules and yours. They ought to know those ropes. Also- if you had o accomplish the purpose of the grant, would GSA be the way to go? I hope these comments are helpful. Please feel free to message me if you wish, and best of luck.

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Thanks for the response. I agree with the issues you have identified, but you know how it is when upper management comes to your with an "out of the box" idea. I'll have to thoroughly investigate the feasibility of using FSS and report back the specific obstacles. I still have to call GSA and discuss the matter with them - I can use the address Khunron referenced above. To answer some of the questions presented here: I realize an FSS is an IDIQ contract and that's probably what I'll have to put in place if we go forward - I hadn't thought about it before, but it's possible my upper management thinks that once an FSS is in place, there's no further work and they don't realize the manpower drain potential here. I figure the contracts could be in excess of 50M per year. My agency does not have FSS authority, but they've been able to get other issues legislated that surprised me - so my response to them will have to assume they can do that. There are no current FSS, GWACS, etc in place that we can order from. I agree with Apsofacto above, that it might not be worth pursuing a FSS considering there might be other options out there.

At this point I'm just gathering pros and cons to support a recommendation and making sure my recommendation is fully thought out. Thanks for the assistance.

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