Meeting of September 7, 2006, Washington D.C. on Federal Sector EEO Investigations
On behalf of the U.S. General Service Administration’s Office of Small Business Utilization, I appreciate the opportunity to testify before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission regarding the GSA Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) Program and its part in assisting Federal agencies procure EEO services in an expedited process..
GSA’s Office of Small Business Utilization advocates for procurement opportunities with small, minority, veteran, HUBZone, and women-owned businesses. I have more than 17 years of procurement experience specific to the GSA Multiple Award Schedule Program ranging from contract award to contract training. I commend the Commission for holding this hearing and welcome the opportunity to explain how GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule assists Federal agencies in procuring EEO services.
The GSA Multiple Award Schedule Program provides “a simplified process for obtaining commercial supplies and services at prices associated with volume buying…”(1) This program is government-wide which means that a vendor can have a contract with GSA and sell to any Federal Agency. This streamlined process means Federal agencies get great value for their contracting dollars and vendors have a minimum of paperwork while doing business with the Federal government.
Let me tell you how the Multiple Award Schedules work generally. GSA’s contracting officers’ use procedures established pursuant to statute and regulation, to produce contracts that are pre-negotiated for immediate supply. More than 80% of the vendors on GSA’s Multiple Award Schedule are small business contractors. In fact, GSA designed the main contractor search vehicle at www.gsa.gov/elibrary(2) to help agencies identify business size so that they might optimize meeting their small business purchasing goals(3).
GSA reviews vendor offers and makes awards based on a determination that the vendor has reasonable prices, discounts, and terms and conditions that are beneficial to the Federal government. The vendors discounting practice is disclosed to identify the Most Favored Customer and GSA negotiates the contract discount for equal to or better than that category of customer.
If the vendor meets all GSA requirements, a Contract Award is issued and that vendor is placed on a list of qualified contractors through our E-Library website. This contracting technique streamlines the purchasing process for Federal agencies.
The synopsis to the GSA Multiple Award Schedule Solicitation reads “…This unrestricted GSA/FAS solicitation provides a vehicle for the acquisition of a wide range of professional Human Resources support services and allEEO investigations and related services such as ADR, Resolution, Counseling.Includes HR & EEO trainingdelivered in the classroom, and in print or electronically (Web-Based). General HR support services include but are not limited to pre-employment screening/hi-end investigations (BI,NAC,LAC ,etc.) employee assistance, recruitment, , internships, program planning, assessment, integration, records management, position classification, personnel actions, career transition services, outplacement. Workers Compensation and HR related Program Function Review/process improvement services, consulting apply. Offers may be submitted at any time as it is open and continuous with no closing date. The following NAICS Codes apply 561611, 561110, 541611, 541612, 541191, U006, U008, [and] U099. Scope is 50 States and Worldwide. Award results in a 5-year contract…”(4)
Statistics on The Program(5)
There are 20 Special Item Numbers (SINs) assigned for EEO and HR Services combined. There is no specific HR breakout but vendors would offer Services as they apply to their company within the SIN.
There are 185 GSA Multiple Award Schedule contractors currently providing services for schedule 738 X. In FY 2006, sales are currently at $117,744,358. Of the 185 vendors, 73 vendors have reported $0 sales. Vendors must maintain sales of $25,000 per year in order to remain on the GSA Multiple Award Schedule Program(6). Vendors are given 24 months from the date of award to achieve $25,000 before this requirement is enforced.
Each vendor remits .75% of their sales quarterly under the Industrial Funding Fee (IFF) to fund the part of the program, not funded by Congress.(7)
It is easy for Federal agencies to procure EEO services using GSA’s EEO Multiple Award Schedule 738X. This is how it works. The agency follows ordering procedures as outlined by Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 8.4. Agencies award orders to vendors based on a “Best Value” Principle. Best value may be price, however, price may not be a factor and other things like post-contract support, flexible time schedules, etc. may better define value and weigh more heavily in an award decision.
Also, GSA directs vendors to market their services to Federal agencies and to attend conferences that cater to the appropriate Federal community for more visibility. This helps Federal agencies learn about contracting options that are available.
GSA’s EEO Schedule is managed in GSA’s Northeast Caribbean Region in New York City. If users of the EEO Schedule want to provide feedback on Schedule 738X the feedback would go to the managers of Schedule 738X in our New York office.
Before today’s hearing, I checked with our New York office to learn about the feedback they have received to date on Schedule 738X.
As a general rule, relatively little feedback has been received on Schedule 738X. The vast majority of users of Schedule 738X seem to be satisfied.
A vendor concern that has been expressed, however, is that it would be helpful if the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission could more specifically define the scope of what is required in an EEO investigation. According to some vendors there may be some disagreement on this. According to them, agencies sometimes expect a vendor to do more than the vendor believes is required, and that the agency has paid for.
An agency concern that has been expressed is that vendors sometimes provide below quality work and sometimes miss deadlines.
Overall, the GSA Multiple Award Schedule 738X provides an excellent resource for Federal agencies to procure EEO services.
The GSA Multiple Award Schedule Program is a contracting success. There are relatively few complaints expressed about EEO Schedule 738X and the schedule has produced sales exceeding $100 million. I expect this Schedule to grow and expand.
For the future, I recommend the EEOC consider more clearly defining what is required for an EEO investigation to address the disagreement that may exist about what is required. I also recommend that Federal agencies educate themselves about contract management. I will also recommend that GSA consider making even more information about contract management available to Federal agency customers.
3. Federal Small Business goals are established by the Small Business Administration, www.sba.gov
4. Synopsis information can be found at www.fbo.gov under Solicitation Number 2FYP-DR-990001-B
5. Statistics can be found at http://ssq.gsa.gov
This page was last modified on September 7, 2006.
Return to Home Page