The GSA Multiple Award Schedule Program
Co-Authors: Terry L. Albertson and Marc F. Efron.
Since Vice President Gore smashed an ashtray made to customized Government specifications during his celebrated appearance on the "Late Show with David Letterman," the procurement of commercial items by the U.S. Government has attracted national attention and been one of the focuses of initiative for reform of the procurement system. The problems experienced in connection with the principal contractual vehicle by which the Government purchases commercial "off-the-shelf" products - multiple award schedule (MAS) contracts issued by the General Services Administration (GSA) - demonstrate that the Government's procurement of commercial products can be just as difficult for contractors as the Government's procurement of customized products.
The stated purpose of the MAS program is to simplify the process by which the Government obtains commercial items and services. Notwithstanding this purpose, MAS contractors face extensive disclosure requirements that can give rise to contractual, civil, and criminal liability. To assist you in understanding the MAS program, this Briefing Paper discusses (1) the role of the GSA under the MAS program, (2) the negotiation of MAS contracts, (3) the Government's right to price reductions under two key MAS contract clauses, (4) enforcement of MAS contract requirements through civil, criminal, and administrative sanctions, (5) claims and disputes procedures under MAS contracts, and (6) current initiatives to reform the MAS program.
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