The Contract Management Support (CMS) program is an essential part of the The Lighthouse for the Blind, Inc.’s mission and our relationship with government customers.

Peter Ash, Contract Closeout Site Supervisor, notes the importance of the program. “One of the underlying objectives of the CMS program is to integrate legally blind employees into the general workforce. We have the chance to show the value our employees bring. This program can, and has, led to the opening of career opportunities within the federal government. Therefore, besides providing a service to the customer, CMS can function as a gateway to external job possibilities.” Peter has worked at the Lighthouse since 2014.

The Lighthouse currently operates three AbilityOne CMS sites. Two CMS sites are in San Diego, CA. The third is in Huntsville, AL.

As an essential service, the program has continued to operate at full capacity throughout the pandemic. Some employees have been teleworking. Others have been reporting to the office and following COVID safety guidelines.

Lighthouse employees support government customers by facilitating the formal closeout of government contracts. This frees up time for Contracting Officers and Contract Specialists to focus on the solicitation, award, and management of live contracts. It also releases un-used obligated funds, which allows them to be re-absorbed by the United States Treasury for use in other efforts.

Accessibility of CMS Positions

In accordance with the Lighthouse mission, jobs in the Contract Management Support program are fully accessible. CMS employees use computer screen magnifiers and text-to-speech readers such as Zoom Text, and JAWS for digital information. Some employees also use CCTVs and hand-held magnifiers for printed material. CMS currently employs 13 people who are legally blind as both Contract Closeout Specialists and Supervisors.

Each Lighthouse Contract Closeout Specialist is assigned to a contract. They are fully accountable for managing and tracking their closeout actions. These efforts include utilizing government systems to assess the delivery status of goods or services to the government, as well as payment status to the vendor. When additional information is necessary, the Contract Closeout Specialist reaches out to the end-user or vendor in order to work with them on obtaining what is needed. Once all the required information has been collected, the Contract Closeout Specialist creates the formal closeout documents using the customer’s procurement system. Then they submit them to the customer so the appropriate government personnel can sign them.

Supervising the CMS Program

Peter describes what his role as Supervisor of the NAVSUP Fleet Logistics Contract Management Services program entails. “In part, the Supervisor role is to support the team, resolve issues, and answer questions,  I also track and report information to the Lighthouse, National Industries for the Blind, and the customer. I act as the point-of-contact between the customer and CMS. The Supervisor assigns work, and reviews all production in order to ensure that the Customer receives the highest quality product in accordance with all applicable government and agency regulations.

“There is no set definition of scope for a supervisor’s role. Because of that, I must be prepared and able to help resolve problems and empower staff in any way possible. I’m focused on providing the best service to the customer while maximizing the mission of the Lighthouse.”

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Learn more about managed services at the Lighthouse.

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