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Jim Williams, former acting administrator of the General Services Administration, discusses issues with federal labor-pricing tools, and how they can be fixed.

A new report from the General Services Administration’s inspector general finds that the tools used by the Federal Acquisition Service to calculate labor costs are inaccurate. Data generated by the Contract-Awarded Labor Category and Contract Operations Division Contractors Database tools is flawed, and the government could be overpaying contractors. Jim Williams, former acting administrator at the General Services Administration, says that it’s important these systems assist acquisition professionals, instead of hindering them.


“It’s supposed to be ‘How did you evaluate the contractor’s performance from a quality standpoint?’ If you could link that together with the price you paid, then you are thinking like the average consumer, when you look at quality and price and make a decision, Here they’re focusing only how do you lower prices for services,” Williams said. “In the IG example, it should be $114 an hour, not $130 for an IT security engineer. You are competing with the private sector. Do you really want to try to lower the price? If you go for too low a price, the government customer may be not happy with the service and may have to use more hours for that person who is not as good.”

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