New GSA Procurement Chief: Improving Communication between Feds, Contractors a ‘Two-way Street’

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Photo: Alexey Klementiev

Fresh into her new role as the General Services Administration’s chief acquisition officer, Mindy Connolly sat down for a short Q&A with The Washington Business Journal to discuss the two-way street that is communication between the government and contractors.

Connolly, who was previously an analyst with the Office of Federal Procurement Policy and has also been a contractor, herself, said the issue of communication looms large in the process of government contracting for both the government and industry.

“Part of my role at GSA will be to put in place vendor communications plans that we’ll share with OMB and industry and the public, so everyone is aware of the minimum standards of communication as we conduct acquisition activities,” she told The Journal.

As GSA’s procurement chief, Connolly will help create the rules that form the government-contracting bible, the Federal Acquisition Regulation. She said she would take “more practical steps to understand the impact those FAR clauses have on industry — especially small businesses.”

As for improving communication, which the administration has undertaken with a “myth-busting” campaign, Connolly told The Journal, contractors must do their part as well.

“[T]here are barriers to communication on both sides of the desk … Both sides still have a lot to learn about how we need to communicate; it’s a two-way street,” she said.

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1 Comment

  1. Communications are definitely a two-way street, but it is incumbent on government to remove the artificial barriers that have been erected that prevent meaningful dialogue to begin with. Point #25 of CIO Vivek Kundra’s plan is to create the platform to help facilitate these exchanges, and I hope that both government and industry realize the value of this opportunity. This forum will allow dialogue and discussions to occur much earlier in the acquisition process, which is to stay in the need identification and requirements development phase. This early communication is where invariable many programs suffer ultimate failure, as the requirement development process for IT does not currently have proper market research conducted, or any opportunity for industry to help the government see what it is needs are are what solutions are available.

    Industry, specifically small businesses, are very willing to have these discussions. However, government needs to set the parameters for how and when they are to be conducted, but more importantly, executing on these communications plans early and often.

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