[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 123 (Wednesday, June 25, 2008)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 36013-36015]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-14392]



48 CFR Parts 509 and 552

[GSAR Case 2006-G512; Docket 2008-0007; Sequence 9]
RIN 3090-AI57

General Services Acquisition Regulation; GSAR Case 2006-G512; 
Rewrite of GSAR Part 509, Contractor Qualifications

AGENCY: Office of the Chief Acquisition Officer, General Services 
Administration (GSA).

ACTION: Proposed rule with request for comments.


SUMMARY: The General Services Administration (GSA) is proposing to 
amend the General Services Acquisition Regulation (GSAR) to update 
language addressing contractor qualifications. This rule is a result of 
the General Services Administration Acquisition Manual (GSAM) Rewrite 
initiative undertaken by GSA to revise the GSAM to maintain consistency 
with the FAR, and to implement streamlined and innovative acquisition 
procedures that contractors, offerors and GSA contracting personnel can 
utilize when entering into and administering contractual relationships. 
The GSAM incorporates the General Services Administration Acquisition 
Regulation (GSAR) as well as internal agency acquisition policy.
    GSA will rewrite each part of the GSAR and GSAM, and as each GSAR 
part is rewritten, will publish it in the Federal Register.
    This is one of a series of revisions. It covers the rewrite of GSAR 
Part 509, Contractor Qualifications.

DATES: Interested parties should submit written comments to the 
Regulatory Secretariat on or before August 25, 2008 to be considered in 
the formulation of a final rule.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments identified by GSAR Case 2006-G512 by any of 
the following methods:
     Regulations.gov: http://www.regulations.gov.
    Submit comments via the Federal eRulemaking portal by inputting 
``GSAR Case 2006-G512'' under the heading ``Comment or Submission''. 
Select the link ``Send a Comment or Submission'' that corresponds with 
GSAR Case 2006-G512. Follow the instructions provided to complete the 
``Public Comment and Submission Form''. Please include your name, 
company name (if any), and ``GSAR Case 2006-G512'' on your attached 
     Fax: 202-501-4067.
     Mail: General Services Administration, Regulatory 
Secretariat (VPR), 1800 F Street, NW., Room 4041, ATTN: Laurieann 
Duarte, Washington, DC 20405.
    Instructions: Please submit comments only and cite GSAR Case 2006-
G512 in all correspondence related to this case. All comments received 
will be posted without change to http://www.regulations.gov, including 
any personal and/or business confidential information provided.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Ms. Meredith Murphy, Procurement 
Analyst, at (202) 208-6925, or by e-mail at [email protected] for 
clarification of content. For information pertaining to the status or 
publication schedules, contact the Regulatory Secretariat (VPR), Room 
4041, GS Building, Washington, DC 20405, (202) 501-4755. Please cite 
GSAR Case 2006-G512.


A. Background

The GSAR Rewrite Project
    On February 15, 2006, GSA published an Advance Notice of Proposed 
Rulemaking (ANPR) with request for comments because GSA is beginning 
the review and update of the General Services Administration 
Acquisition Regulation (GSAR).
    The GSAR rewrite will--
     Consider comments received from the ANPR, published in the 
Federal Register at 71 FR 7910, February 15, 2006.
     Change ``you'' to ``contracting officer.''
     Maintain consistency with the FAR but eliminate 
     Revise GSAR sections that are out of date, or impose 
inappropriate burdens on the Government or contractors, especially 
small businesses.
     Streamline and simplify.
    In addition, GSA has recently reorganized into two, rather than 
three services. Therefore, the reorganization of the Federal Supply 
Service (FSS) and the Federal Technology Service (FTS) into the Federal 
Acquisition Service (FAS) will be considered in the rewrite initiative.
The Rewrite of Part 509
    This proposed rule contains the revisions made to Part 509, 
Contractor Qualifications. There are no major substantive changes to 
the policies. GSA Form 353, Performance Evaluation and Facilities 
Report, is proposed for deletion so that FAR forms would be used 
instead. Subsection 509.405-1(b) and clauses 552.209-70 through

[[Page 36014]]

552.209-73 are proposed for deletion as unnecessary. The explanation of 
``auditor'' in 509.105-1 is removed as unnecessary - it is partly 
duplicative (credit and finance) and too restrictive (does not allow 
use of DCAA). Subsection 509.406-3(b)(7) is deleted as duplicative of 
509.406-3(b)(5). The debarment legal authorities in 509.401 are 
updated. The term ``Suspension and Debarment Official'' is used 
throughout the Part.
Discussion of Comments
    As a result of the ANPR, GSA received two comments pertaining to 
GSAR Part 509.
    One commenter suggested revising the Assignment of Claims clause, 
GSAR 552.232-23, to facilitate contractor teaming arrangements. The 
proposed revision applies to GSAM Part 532, not Part 509; it has 
therefore been referred to the Part 532 Rewrite Team, which has not yet 
begun work. Any changes proposed to the Assignment of Claims clause by 
the Part 532 Rewrite Team will, of course, be published for public 
comment. The other commenter suggested GSA consider placing guidance on 
teaming arrangements that is on GSA's website in the GSAR. There is no 
guidance on teaming arrangements on a GSA-wide website. One purchasing 
office within GSA does have such guidance on a website, but that 
guidance is unique to Federal Supply Schedules. Therefore, the team 
that is revising GSAM Part 508, Required Sources of Supplies and 
Services, will incorporate the regulatory and procedural material on 
Schedules teaming arrangements in GSAM Part 508, ensure that it is 
published for public comment, and oversee the removal of the regulatory 
and procedural teaming arrangement material from the Federal 
Acquisition Service (FAS) website.
    This is not a significant regulatory action and, therefore, was not 
subject to review under Section 6(b) of Executive Order 12866, 
Regulatory Planning and Review, dated September 30, 1993. This rule is 
not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804.

B. Regulatory Flexibility Act

    The General Services Administration does not expect this proposed 
rule to have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of 
small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 
U.S.C. 601, et seq., because the only substantive change is a minor 
one, deleting a GSA-unique form in favor of using the FAR forms. An 
Initial Regulatory Flexibility Analysis has, therefore, not been 
performed. We invite comments from small businesses and other 
interested parties. GSA will consider comments from small entities 
concerning the affected GSAR Parts 509 and 552 in accordance with 5 
U.S.C. 610. Interested parties must submit such comments separately and 
should cite 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq. (GSAR case 2006-G512), in 

C. Paperwork Reduction Act

    The Paperwork Reduction Act does apply; however, these changes to 
the GSAR do not impose additional information collection requirements 
to the paperwork burden previously approved under OMB Control Number 

List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 509 and 552

    Government procurement.

    Dated: June 12, 2008.
Al Matera,
Director, Office of Acquisition Policy,General Services Administration.
    Therefore, GSA proposes to amend 48 CFR parts 509 and 552 as set 
forth below:
    1. The authority citation for 48 CFR parts 509 and 552 is revised 
to read as follows:

    Authority: 40 U.S.C. 121(c).


    2. Revise section 509.105 to read as follows:

509.105  Procedures.

509.105-1  Obtaining information.

    (a) From a prospective contractor. FAR 9.105-1 lists a number of 
sources of information that a contracting officer may utilize before 
making a determination of responsibility. The contracting officer may 
request information directly from a prospective contractor using GSA 
Form 527, Contractor's Qualifications and Financial Information, but 
only after exhausting other available sources of information.
    (b) From Government personnel. The contracting officer may solicit 
and consider information from any appropriate activities, e.g., legal 
counsel, quality control, contract management, credit and finance, and 
auditors before determining that an offeror is responsible.

509.105-2  Determinations and documentation.

    (a) The contracting officer shall provide written notification to a 
prospective contractor determined not responsible. Include the basis 
for the determination. Notification provides the prospective contractor 
with the opportunity to correct any problem for future solicitations.
    (b) Due to the potential for de facto debarment, the contracting 
officer shall avoid making repeated determinations of nonresponsibility 
based on the same past performance information.
    (c) To provide for timely consideration of the need to institute 
action to debar a contractor, the contracting officer shall submit a 
copy of each nonresponsibility determination, other than those based on 
capacity or financial capability, to the Suspension and Debarment 
Official in the Office of the Chief Acquisition Officer.

509.106  [Removed]

    3. Section 509.106 is removed.

Subpart 509.2 [Removed]

    4. Subpart 509.2 is removed.
    5. Revise section 509.306 to read as follows:

509.306  Solicitation requirements.

    The clauses at FAR 52.209-3 and 52.209-4 do not cover all the 
solicitation requirements described in FAR 9.306. If a solicitation 
contains a testing and approval requirement, the contracting officer 
must address the requirements in FAR 9.306(d) and (f) through (j) in 
the solicitation's Section H, special contract requirements.

509.308  [Removed]

    6. Section 509.308 is removed.
    7. Revise section 509.401 to read as follows:

509.401  Applicability.

    This subpart applies to all the following:
    (a) Acquisitions of personal property, nonpersonal services, 
construction, and space in buildings.
    (b) Acquisition of transportation services (Federal Management 
Regulation (FMR) Parts 102-117 and 102-118 (41 CFR Parts 102-117 and 
    (c) Contracts for disposal of personal property (FMR Parts 102-36 
through 102-38 (41 CFR Parts 102-36 through 102-38)).
    (d) Covered transactions as defined by 41 CFR Part 105-68.
    8. Amend section 509.403 by adding, in alphabetical order, the 
definitions ``Debarring official'' and ``Suspending official''; and, in 
the definition ``Fact-finding official'' by removing the word ``GSA'' 
and adding the word ``Civilian'' in its place. The added text reads as 

[[Page 36015]]

509.403  Definitions.

    Debarring official means the Suspension and Debarment Official 
within the Office of the Chief Acquisition Officer.
* * * * *
    Suspending official means the Suspension and Debarment Official 
within the Office of the Chief Acquisition Officer.
    9. Revise section 509.405 to read as follows:

509.405  Effect of listing.

509.405-1  Continuation of current contracts.

    (a) When a contractor appears on the current EPLS, consider 
terminating a contract under any of the following circumstances:
    (1) Any circumstances giving rise to the debarment or suspension 
also constitute a default in the contractor's performance of the 
    (2) The contractor presents a significant risk to the Government in 
completing the contract.
    (3) The conduct that provides the cause of the suspension, proposed 
debarment, or debarment involved a GSA contract.
    (b) Before terminating a contract when a contractor appears on the 
current EPLS, consider the following factors:
    (1) Seriousness of the cause for debarment or suspension.
    (2) Extent of contract performance.
    (3) Potential costs of termination and reprocurement.
    (4) Need for or urgency of the requirement, contract coverage, and 
the impact of delay for reprocurement.
    (5) Availability of other safeguards to protect the Government's 
interest until completion of the contract.
    (6) Availability of alternate competitive sources to meet the 
requirement (e.g., other multiple award contracts, readily available 
commercial items).
    (c) The responsibilities of the agency head under FAR 9.405-1 are 
delegated to the GSA Suspension and Debarment Official.

509.405-2  Restrictions on subcontracting.

    The responsibilities of the agency head under FAR 9.405-2(a) are 
delegated to the GSA Suspension and Debarment Official.
    10. Revise section 509.406-1 to read as follows:

509.406-1  General.

    The Suspension and Debarment Official is the designee under FAR 
    11. Amend section 509.406-3 by--
    a. Removing from paragraphs (a) and (b), the words ``debarring 
official'' and adding the words ``Suspension and Debarment Official'' 
in its place each time it appears;
    b. Removing from paragraph (b)(2), the word ``Number'' and adding 
the word ``Numbers'' in its place;
    c. Removing paragraph (b)(7);
    d. Revising paragraph (c); and
    e. Removing from paragraph (d), the words ``debarring official'' 
and adding the words ``Suspension and Debarment Official'' in its place 
each time it appears.
    The revised text reads as follows:

509.406-3  Procedures.

* * * * *
    (c) Review. The Suspension and Debarment Official will review the 
report, and after coordinating with assigned legal counsel--
    (1) Initiate debarment action;
    (2) Decline debarment action;
    (3) Request additional information; or
    (4) Refer the matter to the OIG for further investigation and 
development of a case file.
* * * * *

509.407-1  [Amended]

    12. Amend section 509.407-1 by removing the words ``suspending 
official'' and adding ``Suspension and Debarment Official'' in its 

509.407-3  [Amended]

    13. Amend section 509.407-3 by removing the words ``suspending 
official'' and adding ``Suspension and Debarment Official'' in its 
place each time it appears.


552.209-70 through 552.209-73  [Removed]

    14. Sections 552.209-70 through 552.209-73 are removed.
[FR Doc. E8-14392 Filed 6-24-08; 8:45 am]