1:05 pm, May 23, 2015

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  • The VA OIG and Resellers
    Mr. Jackson of Buffalo Supply (BSI) unjustly demonized the VA Office of Inspector (OIG) General. As a former OIG member and intimately involved in the case, I can say that the OIG was protecting the taxpayers' interests. BSI's business model meant they were not a good fit for the Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) program. This resulted in higher initial contract pricing without the corresponding price protection inherent in all other FSS contracts. OIG simply required BSI follow the FSS program rules, like all other FSS contractors. Perhaps the fact that BSI's former biggest partner recently replaced BSI as their major reseller had a bigger impact on BSI's employee layoff than did OIG's work. grj
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  • Reply Abuse Vote
    Buffalo Supply & VAOIG
    Granted that I am from Colorado and therefore care about the loss of jobs here; but, that said, I will side with a small business who has been serving the government marketplace for over 25 years versus the bitter remarks of a government bureaucrat.
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    What the ex-OIG auditor didn't say was: 1. Congressional representatives have repeatedly written to VA telling the aggency that the position the IG took concerning reseller participation in VA schedule contracts was inconsistent with law and Congressional intent; 2. As a matter of law, schedule contract regulations and policy must be set by GSA and not VA and VA must follow GSA's lead; 3. GSA has repeatedly told VA that it cannot allow the VA IG to change what the ex-IG auditor calls "price protection" policy; 4. GSA has thousands of small business schedule contract resellers on its schedules that perform just like BSI and other VA resellers, promoting competition and product choice for federal buyers; and 5. The IG's campaign has gone on for a decade -- and now is continuing against BSI's replacement. Meanwhile, because the IG has kept many resellers off VA schedule contracts, federal buyers are faced with paying higher offf-contract prices given the lack of competition and choice. Who investigates the IG when it defies the law?
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  • Taking a step back and reviewing the issue
    It's unfortunate that this issue has created such a vitriolic environment - as is evidenced not just from Mr. Jackson's story about the VAOIG's actions, but also, in the comments left here. As far as the VAOIG's position is concerned, it appears that the devil is in the details: If the VAOIG is confident of their position - why have they been unable to prove through any of the four audits that the pricing scheme achieved through resellers is a net negative for the government? Why has GSA - the agency entrusted with overall government procurement power - consistently sided with companies like Buffalo Supply? Government oversight is a necessary and valuable aspect to the government procurement process. However, quixotic campaigns against small businesses founded on refuted arguments is not just bad for small business, it's bad for taxpayers. It would behoove the VAOIG's office to take a fresh look at this issue, perhaps even with new personnel who bring no baggage to the table, and really WORK with the small businesses in studying this issues, as opposed to FIGHTING with this same small businesses. I suspect some cooperation from the VAOIG would go a long way. I've personally witnessed such success with GSA/private enterprise cooperation. I wonder why the VAOIG is so against it?
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