What's the future of GTSI?

Thursday - 10/21/2010, 6:11pm EDT

Scott Friedlander, President and CEO, GTSI

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GTSI's Oct. 1 suspension by the Small Business Administration came unexpectedly for both the company and the contracting community. This week SBA lifted the suspension under an agreement with GTSI that forced CEO Scott Friedlander, the vice president and senior counsel to step down.

In an interview with the DorobekINSIDER, Friedlander said the company was "blindsided" by the 30-day suspension, which came late afternoon on a Friday without any notice.

According to The Washington Post, GTSI allegedly "inappropriately went through other firms to gain access to contracts set aside for small companies."

Under the new agreement with SBA, GTSI is barred from joint ventures with small businesses or contracts where a small business is the prime contractor. Also, an SBA monitor will be on-site.

In the last three weeks, the company's priority was to get back to business as soon as possible.

"My number one priority was to protect the corporation moving forward and allow 530 families, 530 employees to continue moving forward," Friedlander said.

All of GTSI's business is with government and 95 percent is with the federal government, Friedlander said. The company does not have long-term contracts; most are 30 to 60 days, he said. A full 30 days without business would have been devastating to the company, he said.

If the suspension continued until the end of the month, "there wouldn't be a GTSI," Friedlander said.

Prior to Oct. 1, Friedlander said there was "no due process that we knew of."

"What did happen was we immediately went into crisis," said Friedlander, whose last day on the job is next week. He added, "We should've been given a chance to explain ourselves."

Friedlander referred to "artful language" from a 2007 document that appeared in the administrative record of SBA. The company would have changed this language if they had the opportunity.

However, Friedlander insisted that GTSI had nothing to hide. The company has compliance and security clearance officers.

"We were always doing a thorough job," he said.

"If there was concern for our processes or concerns for anything, we certainly would've ... let the SBA come in and look and do proper due diligence prior to the facts of Oct. 1," Friedlander said.