SIA questions GSA pricing policy

Anecdotal evidence shows companies are being unfairly rejected
Wednesday, October 8, 2014

WASHINGTON—Uncertainties surrounding the General Service Administration’s new schedule pricing policies for products and services need to be further examined, according to Jake Parker, government relations director at the Security Industry Association.

SIA’s procurement policy working group discussed the significant change for federal contractors at the recent ASIS show in Atlanta, Parker told Security Systems News.

With this year’s “Fair and Reasonable Pricing” policy, the GSA says it will consider a number of factors, including pricing on competitor contracts, historical pricing and currently available pricing in other venues. “Offers which provide ‘Most Favored Customer’ pricing but which are not highly competitive will not be found fair and reasonable and will not be accepted,” it says.

This is a big change in policy over the past two decades, Parker says.

“We’re still trying to work with GSA to find out how this has been carried out nationwide. Basically, they are evaluating third-party pricing as the major consideration. If you’re trying to add a product to the schedule or update the price, they now check prices against other schedules, but also on the Internet,” he said.

The problem with Internet checks, he said, is that many prices listed there are out of date, and most importantly, “they lack terms and conditions, and that’s supposedly one of the comparisons (GSA) is making. We’ve heard anecdotally that companies have been rejected as a result of this” because their prices were “not competitive,” he said.

“We’re still not clear on how this tool works,” Parker said. “We’re trying to reconcile it with them. We’ve heard this rule is not really consistent with federal acquisition regulations. There’s lots left up to interpretation,” he said.

SIA has met with GSA representatives a couple of times over the past year and will continue to pursue the matter, he said.

Meanwhile, SIA continues to work with ESA on reinstating federal funding for school security. “There’s a huge need out there,” Parker said.

The group also feels optimistic that Congress will pass the Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Standards authorization bill during the lame duck session after this fall’s election. “The roadblock right now is that there are some senators objecting to the full Senate taking up the bill. The resistance is due more to skepticism about DHS’s ability to carry out the program in general. We support the bill and want to see it passed. It tightens up some reporting requirements and performance goals,” Parker said. SIA will reach out to opposing senators and Senate leadership, he said, to reiterate that many industry groups and chemical producers “are very much on board with this.”