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Hi All,

During a recent audit GSA has recently pointed us the following statement on their FAQ page- 

Yes, all members of a CTA must contribute items of value from their GSA Schedule contract to the customer agency's solution.
 
Two questions came up-
Is there some regulatory (FAR etc...) that backs this? I cant find anything in the schedule or the MAS desk reference that backs this. 
What defines "items of value" ? More than one item? A certain $ threshold? Social economic status? 
 
I am curious if anyone else has seen this come up...
 
 

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I don't know the specific motivation for this statement, however, there have been court decisions and GAO bid protest decisions that hold that agencies cannot issue an order against a GSA schedule for items, with a value exceeding the micro purchase ceiling, that are not on the schedule unless the agency uses the appropriate procedures for an open market procurement.  See, FAR 4.802(f).  Therefore, if a teaming agreement is formed, each team member must provide an item that is on its schedule when responding to an order otherwise the agency will have to comply with 8.402(f).

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What if the only items on the order are on one team member's schedule and there are no open market items? 

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Then there is no need for that schedule contractor to enter into a CTA.

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13 hours ago, sdvr said:

What if the only items on the order are on one team member's schedule and there are no open market items? 

 

9 hours ago, ji20874 said:

Then there is no need for that schedule contractor to enter into a CTA.

A MAS order with a CTA arrangement provides for privity of contract between each schedule contractor in the CTA and the government. See:

https://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/200553

Unless there is more to it, the proposed arrangement would not be a "CTA" under the GSA description on the referenced webpage.  

You asked "What are items of value?" I'd say that they would be products and/or services that a scheduler holder in the CTA provides under their MAS contract. 

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19 hours ago, sdvr said:

Is there some regulatory (FAR etc...) that backs this?

No regulation. It's a GSA policy. For an explanation see Veterans Healthcare Supply Solutions, GAO Decision B-409888, 2014 CPD ¶ 269, September 5, 2014.

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9 minutes ago, C Culham said:

After all FAR subpart 9.6 provides that teaming arrangements can also be a JV or partnership.

That might not be the case under a GSA FSS contract unless the JV or partnership itself has a GSA FSS contract.

GSA orders can bee issued only to companies that have GSA contracts. If two GSA FSS companies form a JV or partnership, the JV or partnership would be a business entity in and of itself, and an order would be in the name of the JV or partnership. GSA policy is not clear that an agency could issue an FSS order to a JV or partnership on the basis of the individual contracts of its members. Maybe, maybe not.

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I get GSA's position and the fact of a relationship needing to be with two GSA FSS contractors but it seems that the protest decision depends on specific language in the RFQ, the CBCA case seems to be saying "may" not "shall" (if such a quickly stated view makes sense). 

  When I looked at FAR (subpart 9.6), the GSAR which does not supplement 9.6 and a couple of GSA FSS solicitations, like the OP I cannot find something that specifically supports that the teaming arrangement must the privity implied by the FAQ.    FAR 9.603 says this -

The Government will recognize the integrity and validity of contractor team arrangements; provided, the arrangements are identified and company relationships are fully disclosed in an offer or, for arrangements entered into after submission of an offer, before the arrangement becomes effective. The Government will not normally require or encourage the dissolution of contractor team arrangements. 

In the end the OP has to play the game yet I agree GSA policy is not clear and seems to be a position that is not substantiated in contractual terms and conditions.  I guess if I was the one "audited" I would ask for a more creditable reference than a FAQ.

 

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Thanks to all so far on your input and the references. Under schedule 70, there is a growing trend of OEMs that no longer hold their own schedule, and have moved to a distribution held GSA model. Cisco, Adobe, Redhat (and more) are now only available from distributors, that while they have a GSA schedule, don't typically take orders directly from the US government. The issue becomes when there is a GSA request with just these items, and no other products, services etc. are being provided/requested.

I guess I am just venting, but it seems like an outdated model that needs to change. 

  

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