The Washington Post reports that Norman Dong, head of the General Services Administration’s (GSA) Public Building Service (PBS), has announced to colleagues that he is stepping down. The position has drawn political interest, as GSA and PBS oversee the lease President Donald Trump’s company has to operate a hotel at the Old Post Office location. Democrats have raised concerns that the hotel lease presents a conflict of interest, and GSA has said it’s looking into the matter, but has not yet drawn any conclusions.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has put together a report on government-wide contracting trends, from 2011 to 2015. The report identifies trends in spending, competition and contract type, and found that defense agencies decreased their spending by more than 30% in that time, while spending at civilian agencies remained fairly stable. The report also notes that the competition rate of 64% stayed steady, as did the use of fixed-price contracts, which stayed steady at about 63%.
NASA Awarding Contracts to “Tipping Point” Companies
Stephen Jurczyk, the associate administrator for the Space Technology Mission Directorate for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), talked with Federal News Radio about new contracts the agency has awarded to encourage innovation. NASA awarded $17 million in contracts to eight companies that are making what they call “tipping point” technologies—leading-edge innovations that require “a small funding boost” to bring to market.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has sustained the protest of Harmonia Holdings Group, LLC, which challenged a Federal Transit Administration award for information technology (IT) services. GAO found that the source selection authority did not perform a price/technical best-value tradeoff evaluation before concluding that the higher-rated, higher-priced quotation offered the best value to the government.
Procurement attorney Norman Catalano looks at FirstNet, the proposed broadband network to be used by public safety officers across the public sector, from local governments all the way up to federal agencies, and whether the constraints of federal acquisition regulations are holding it back. FirstNet expected to award its first major contract on November 1, but it’s been held back by a protest. Catalano argues that there’s nothing in the statute creating FirstNet that mandates it follows federal acquisition regulations, and that leaders should consider whether simpler, clearer guidelines should be used.
The state senate of Kentucky recently approved a measure that will bring area development districts (ADDs) under federal and state procurement guidelines. ADDs typically allocate state and federal funds to make them more attractive to businesses or investment.