Federal Agencies: Please support the NPMA’s annual training event

Federal agencies demand competitive performance from their service providers, contractors and grantees. This is definitely the responsible thing to do. However, they should be aware of one potential unintended consequence: lack of organizational skills and processes to deliver the performance.  Federal agencies need to take active steps to prevent that.

There is an irony in this. The Lowest Cost Technically Acceptable procurement principal has led to some contractors cutting costs in order to win awards. Usually, the easiest costs to cut are the variable costs, such as salary, training and development. Cutting salary will lose current experience and expertise. Cutting training and development will shrink the pipeline of future experience and expertise. So federal agencies may gain short term cost advantages, but lose long term performance potential.

One case in point: Federal agencies want their contractors to have a “Government Property Management business system” in place to meet the requirements in FAR 25.245.1, but they don’t necessarily encourage or provide allowance for the contractors to invest in this capability.

Many government contractors can’t justify investing in a full time property management professional. Since this function is a part time job, it lacks the consistent attention. For those that have full time property management professionals, these employees are so overwhelmed with the amount of work. Continued professional development is not a priority.

Nor do the federal agencies invest in their own capability in the Government Property Management business system. The across the board cut in travel has led to a drop in the participation of federal employees in professional training events. These events are not only training opportunism, but also a forum for peer group discussions, which is an essential part of professional development.

If the Contracting Officers or Grant Program Officers overseeing the contract performance are not up to date on the requirements of Government Property Management business system, how can they monitor and enforce the performance?

So what can Federal Agencies do to prevent the long term consequence of losing the talent and experience in government property management business system? For starters, they should encourage their own employees and their contractors/grantees to participate in the National Property Management Association’s training events.

This year’s NPMA’s annual training event is scheduled for Aug. 13-15, in Dallas, TX.  I would urge all federal agencies to send their contracting officers and property management professionals to attend. This will help to improve the performance of the Government Property Management business system overall, and the accountability of the tax payers’ dollars.


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