GSA ends office supplies 2 contract; faces new protest on version 3

Monday - 6/16/2014, 5:25pm EDT

The General Services Administration has decided not to extend the Office Supplies 2 strategic sourcing contract after all.

GSA had proposed extending the OS2 contract through November after it expired May 31, but 11 vendors protested that decision. The complaints to the Government Accountability Office forced GSA to suspend OS2 until GAO decided the case.

But on June 13, Kristen Nowadly, GSA's assistant regional counsel, notified GAO that the agency decided to end all OS2 extensions that are subject to the protests, and asked for the protests to be dismissed as moot.

Nowadly told GAO it took formal action to end the extensions on June 12.

"There is no FSSI office supplies contract presently in place and we are working to make an FSSI OS3 solution available as soon as possible," a GSA spokesperson said in an email. "We advise federal customers to fulfill their present needs through GSA's Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) 75 or through GSA Global Supply via GSA Advantage."

GSA's decision not to extend OS2 comes on the heels of a big decision in its favor from GAO on protests against the OS3 contract.

GAO on June 9 denied the protests of five vendors, who claimed GSA didn't adequately consider the impact OS3 would have on small businesses.

GSA still faces at least one more protest over OS3 from the National Industries for the Blind, filed March 24 with an expected decision date no later than July 2.

"GSA is an important partner of National Industries for the Blind (NIB) and has been a strong supporter of the AbilityOne Program, authorized by the Javits- Wagner-O'Day (JWOD) Act," said Kevin Lynch, NIB president and CEO, in a statement. "NIB is protesting the inclusion of 'brick and mortar' stores in CLIN 004 of the OS3 solicitation because GSA has not identified a method to enforce compliance with the JWOD law through a 'brick and mortar' model. NIB's position is that the CLIN 004 will lead to non-compliance with the law, resulting in a loss of jobs for people who are blind."

GSA has been facing a succession of protests over its strategic sourcing contracts. Along with office supplies, the OASIS multiple award contract for complex professional services came under an agency-level protest most recently. This complaint follows the five that the GAO already is considering.

GSA declined to name the vendor filing the protest with the agency protest official (APO) on June 2.

The agency says the vendor is protesting one of the evaluation factors allowed for 500 points to be given to proposals with: "verification from the [Defense Contract Management Agency] or any cognizant federal agency of an approved purchasing system for compliance in the efficiency and effectiveness with which the contractor spends government funds and compliance with government policy when subcontracting."

GSA says the vendor "claims this prejudices those businesses that do not already have an approved purchasing system."

GSA has filed a motion to dismiss for lack of timeliness with the APO.

"GSA has made it a top priority to work closely with both our industry and federal partners throughout the OASIS solicitation and award process," said a GSA spokesperson by email. "GSA is confident that the OASIS award protest filed with the agency will be resolved in a timely fashion. Ultimately, OASIS will strengthen the federal government by reducing costs and expenses, minimizing contract duplication and improving efficiency. OASIS and OASIS Small Business will also deliver great benefits to GSA's industry partners and maximize opportunities for small businesses."

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