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States face roadblocks in using GSA schedule.

Nearly half the states will not be able to buy through GSA schedule 70 under GSA's proposed rule because of requirements of their own laws, a GSA official said.

The E-government Act of 2002 gave state and local agencies the right to buy information technology products and services through the schedule.

Neal Fox, assistant commissioner of GSA's Federal Supply Service, said state purchasing officers told him that 24 states have procurement laws that would preclude the use of the schedule without altering the contract terms. GSA's proposed rule says state and local buyers may add "no other terms and conditions" to standard schedule contracts.

"Many states might have some environmental law or another provision that must be inserted in each contract," he said.

At a public meeting on the proposed rule in Arlington, VA, March 10, Fox said GSA schedule vendors will have to teach local purchasing officers how to use the schedules, because GSA doesn't have the resources to go "from Poughkeepsie to Pocatello" to educate buyers.

David Drabkin, deputy associate administrator of GSA's Office of Acquisition Policy, said state and local buyers could save substantial amounts of money by using the schedules. "Generally speaking, we get better prices on our schedules for IT products and services," he said.

Under the proposed rule, Schedule 70 contractors are not required to sell to state and local governments.

The market research firm Input of Chantilly, VA, said it expects state and local buyers will be slow to use the schedules. "There are many barriers that must be resolved before this purchasing arrangement will work smoothly," Input says. (SAA, 3/7)

The proposed rule, GSAR Case No. 2002-G505, is open for public comment until March 24.
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Title Annotation:General Services Administration
Publication:Set-Aside Alert
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 21, 2003
Words:284
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