GSA official sentenced to three months in prison for Las Vegas conference spending scandal

The man behind the General Services Administration’s Las Vegas conference spending scandal was sentenced Tuesday to three months in prison and a bevy of monetary fines, according to an emailed GSA inspector general statement.

GSA logoAlong with the jail time, Jeff Neely, the former GSA executive behind the Western Regions Conference in Las Vegas, was sentenced to three months home confinement, $8000 in restitution and $2000 in fines and probation. The prosecution was seeking a full six-month prison stay.

“This concludes our case about a GSA executive abusing his position and wasting taxpayer dollars,” GSA Acting Inspector General Robert C. Erickson said in the statement.

Neely oversaw the 2010 GSA Las Vegas conference and came under fire for spending $75,000 on a team-building exercise and thousands of dollars in commemorative coins, among other things.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/gsa-official-sentenced-three-months-prison-las-vegas-conference-spending-sc/2015-06-30

Senators push to reform federal program management

A bipartisan pair of Senators have introduced legislation that aims to improve how the federal government manages projects and to cut wasteful spending on poorly managed programs.

Seal_of_the_United_States_SenateSenators Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., introduced the Program Management Improvement and Accountability Act, which would create a formal job series and career path for program managers in the federal government in order to improve how agencies manage projects.

The bill also requires that the Office of Management and Budget develop and adopt governmentwide standards, policies and guidelines for program and project management at federal agencies, as well as chair an interagency council on program management.

OMB would also conduct annual reviews of agency projects and programs to see if they were being managed correctly, including addressing issues identified as high risk by the Government Accountability Office.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/story/government/management/agency/2015/06/11/programs/71081260/

Why commercial acquisition is hard for government

If one were to ask the average citizen if the government should buy more like industry, most would probably say yes.

So why then has commercial contracting by the government struggled to catch on?   In this article NCMA Executive Director Michael P. Fischetti addresses this question.

Theoretically, the U.S. federal government encourages buying commercial whenever practical. Passage of the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act (FASA) in 1994 included the government’s stated preference for commercial items. As stated in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), agencies shall determine whether commercial or nondevelopmental items are available to meet their needs, acquire them when available, and require contractors at all tiers to incorporate them as components. This can have worthwhile affects, such as minimizing acquisition lead time and reducing the need for detailed design specifications, expensive product testing, or government-funded research and development. The government can keep current, as commercial products or services will conform to industry trends and standards and reduce government-specific tailoring that increases cost.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/story/government/acquisition/blog/2015/06/24/commercial-acquisition-government-fischetti/29209797/

3 ways to make government a smarter shopper

It is time to rethink federal acquisition, particularly as we move into a new era of governing—one that is focused on delivering public service for the future. 

There is a groundswell of energy around making procurement a more efficient and outcomes-driven process.

American Flag 2Forward-looking agencies are not simply improving the acquisitions function, they are strategically aligning acquisitions with the organizational strategy, creating holistic business units focused on a highly engaged workforce, total cost of ownership and predictable outcomes.

Taking three major steps can help agencies fundamentally transform federal acquisition.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/excellence/promising-practices/2015/06/3-ways-make-government-smarter-shopper/115798/

New GSA tool helps buyers search open, closed and canceled eBuy RFQs

For years, the federal acquisition community has been wishing for simpler access to the kind of information they need to make smarter purchases and save taxpayers dollars.

Now, GSA’s new “eBuy Open” is delivering that critical market research through an easy to use interactive web platform designed with their needs in mind.

Category Management

The eBuy Open tool helps customers leverage best practices and lessons-learned from across the federal acquisition community. According to GSA, eBuy Open helps buyers quickly search open, closed, and canceled eBuy Requests for Quotes (RFQs) from FY14 forward, showing which agencies are requesting what products and services from GSA Schedules. Digging deeper unearths other valuable information, such as how other buyers draft their documents to get the best quotes from industry, and when specific products and services are purchased. Use of the the tool can support market research and the search for acquisition examples.

eBuy Open is now live on GSA’s Acquisition Gateway.  Questions about eBuy Open or the Acquisition Gateway may be directed to: hallways_site_manager@gsa.gov