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Ratification Whose Fault

By Anonymous on Wednesday, April 02, 2003 - 08:41 pm:

In our organization, the program manager certifies invoices before they are forwarded to the finance center for payment. The program manager certified about 25 invoices over a three-year period from a service vendor. At the end of each fiscal year, the budget officer de-obligated remaining funds from the program manager's contracting instrument without any coordination with the program manager. Now the vendor has informed our organization that he has not received payment on these invoices (true). There are no funds from prior FYs to pay the vendor so the Budget Officer insists the program manager must complete a ratification request and accept responsibility for causing the unauthorized commitment. What's your opinion of this situation?


By Anon2U on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 12:03 am:

If the program manager stayed within the funding limits on the contracting documents then it is the finance officer who has the problem with responsibility. Ratification is for unauthorized commitment and the PM did not make any unauthorized purchases unless there is more to this story than we now know.

With that said however, the finance office may not have any funds to cover the payment of the invoices. If no prior year funds exist in the finance office, current year funds will be needed. The finance officer should come begging to the PM, not pushing blame on him.


By joel hoffman on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 01:47 am:

It may not be that easy, Anon2U. Not sure current year funds can be used simply because the finance office doesn't have the original year funds.

If the original year source funds are not exhausted and are still available for payment of valid obligations, they must be used. Expired funds generally remain available for such purposes for a certain amount of time. Only after final expiration or exhaustion of the original year funding source can you use current year funding. I've run into this problem before.

Someone has to investigate and obtain the expired funds, if available. That would be the responsibility of the finance office in our organization, under such circumstances. happy sails! joel hoffman


By Vern Edwards on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 08:44 am:

What kind of "contracting instrument" was it?


By Anonymous on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 12:48 pm:

The contracting instrument was a blanket purchase agreement. As I mentioned, the funds were de-obligated from the BPA and placed on other contracts so the funds are no longer available. Does this change your responses? We still have a situation where the contractor provided the service, funds were available when the service was provided, but now, no funds are not available and the contractor still needs to be paid. Original Anon


By Anonymous on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 01:14 pm:

BPAs are not funded until calls are placed -there should have been no de obligation because there could have been no obligation.


By Vern Edwards on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 02:05 pm:

If there was a legitimate obligation for which appropriated funds were available, and if the contractor performed as required, then you owe the contractor money. Where you'll get the money is a question to which I do not know the answer.

You asked for opinions about the situation. My opinion is that someone screwed up. Based on what you have told us, I think it was the person who deobligated the funds.


By Anonymous on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 02:16 pm:

I think it was the KO-if the following had been followed it would not have been the BPA that obligated.


13.303-3 Preparation of BPAs.
Prepare BPAs on the forms specified in 13.307. Do not cite accounting and appropriation data (see 13.303-5(e)(4)).

In any case the contractor must be paide.


By FormerCO4AF on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 02:55 pm:

Anonymous of 2:16 pm

Your right in one aspect, the fund cite is not on the forms for the BPA. However, dependingo n how the BPA is written, fund cite would be placed on the documents used for placement of BPA calls. Just like with IDIQ's, Requirements, and GSA contracts, funds are cited on the orders, not the basic contract.

I personally don't believe this would be a ratification, however the contracting and finance office needs to improve communication and coordination. Of course it is the CO's determination and if he/she determines the use of Ratification procedure it should be against the person causing the situation.


By FormerCO4AF on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 03:29 pm:

Original Anonymous:

I think to call it a ratification you would have to check on the timing. If the funds were available at the time the order was placed, it wouldn't be a ratification. If the funds were removed sometime between the date of the order and the receipt of the invoice, then it's as Vern said, a "screw up" and it needs to be fixed.

I would press hard to solve it in the quickest manner possible without further delaying payment to the contractor.


By 2-16 on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 03:49 pm:

FF- I agree 100%--if the BPA had not cited funds on the document itself this never could have happened as there would have been no obligating document (in this case the BPA) for the FIN guy to deobnligate. When properly done the obligation and the invoice would show up together .....sort of like the simulteanous commit and obligate ...and even better ..with an invoice.


By Phil C. on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 04:59 pm:

Provided the details provided are accurate, I don't see this being an unauthorized committment. The vehicle was in place (BPA), I'm assuming the BPA calls were placed by an authorized BPA caller, apparently funds were available.

I think the issue of funds being made available when the BPA was put in place is a distraction. My experience with BPAs and IDTCs, is that bulk funding was provided all the time for anticipated future calls/orders. That way, when a call had to be placed/ordered, it could be done quickly vice scrambling for $$$.

The screw-up here I think we would agree is that the finance officer recaptured the funds without completing the proper paperwork (deobligating/recapture funding document).

Bottom line....I think the activity should pay the contractor as the work was authorized and accepted by the Government.


By Anon2U on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 05:26 pm:

The question posed: Is the program manager to blame and does he have to do a ratification or is the finance officer to blame for deobligating funds too soon?

Apparently a BPA vehicle was in place but probably does not fund any purchases. At my agency the Program office has to submit a funding document to finance to put funds onto the BPA after it is awarded. The KO is not involved in this. One BPA may have 25 Program offices funding its use (e.g. FEDEX BPA) with 25 fund cites. Finance has to try to keep all the calls straight and I doubt they can.

Only the budget officer in the program office and the finance technician know how much funds is there for that customer. If the program office's budget person does not monitor the BPA calls they could make purchases without funds. On the other hand someone in finance could accidently deobligate the funds and leave the customer without a way to pay. Good luck figuring out what really happened.

Having to pay the contactor is not in doubt but where the funds are coming from is.

By the scenario given it would seem that finance does not believe it has expired funds from the previous year to pay the vendor. Therefore, current funding will be required.


By joel hoffman on Thursday, April 03, 2003 - 09:00 pm:

Anon2U - your last statement appears to be wrong. The appropriations law rules don't allow using current funds, simply because the local finance office doesn't have the original year funding. I'm not in town, so don't have access to my files on this - believe me, I've been through this before.

If the original year funds are available for the agency (e.g., FY 2000 Army O&M funds are available), they must be used. Expired funds remain available for in-scope modifications for an extended period of time. The finance office has to go up the chain to the repository of the expired funds to check.

Original anonymous, are you sure that there was a funded call against this BPA? Or did the PM just direct work and receive the bills. happy sails! joel hoffman


By dave on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 07:12 am:

I'm going to go on a tangent here. I have nonprocurement types at my facility who have credit cards, they place an micropurchase order and don't use Part 8 required sources of supply, would such a credit card purchase need to be ratified.

Specifically, they buy steel plates from a local vendor, however, steel plate is available through the DLA Prime Vendor program. We are catching heck from our Inventory Control Point managers who insist that failure to use these sources of supply requires a ratification. The card holders state that the Prime Vendors can't meet their delivery schedules unless we pay a surcharge which makes their prices higher than what's available from the locals.

Thoughts?


By formerfed on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 07:45 am:

Anonymous,

I'm sorry I'm jumping in here at the tail end of this. Like Joel, I've been through similar situations numerous times.

Here's my opinion. First your Budget Officer was wrong in deobligating funds without either checking with users/requestors/PMs, etc to see if all outstanding calls are covered. Phil's comment is right on the mark. Next, there's no unauthorized commitment involved so no ratification is needed. Finally they need to use prior year funds as Joel states. It may involve some explaining on the Budget officer's part but that person needs to process the request. It is flat out wrong to use current year money unless the prior year's appropriation is exhausted. Certainly sufficient money is available to cover a BPA call!

If your budget officer is claiming this needs ratifying and he has to use current year money, your agency is in big financial trouble because I know more that your finance people (and that isnít a lot)!


By formerfed on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 08:53 am:

Dave,

I don't think buying from the wrong source requires ratifying. Ratification is typically required when an unauthorized commitment occurs. An unauthorized commitment is defined in FAR 1.602-3 as "...an agreement that is not binding solely because the Government representative who made it lacked teh authority to enter into that agreement...". You can say the cardholder has the authority to make the purchase but failed to adhere to FAR part 8.


By dave on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 09:42 am:

Formerfed, that's pretty much my take on the issue. Noncompliance with a reg does not make for an unauthorized committment, convincing a hardheaded management is the problem.


By Vern Edwards on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 10:10 am:

formerfed and dave:

Formerfed, you said: "I don't think buying from the wrong source requires ratifying." Dave, you said: "Noncompliance with a reg does not make for an unauthorized committment... ."

Those statements are incorrect. Even contracting officers can bind the government only to the extent of the authority delegated to them. That authority does not include the power to violate regulations with which they must comply. If a contracting officer violates a regulation when awarding a contract, even though the award is otherwise within the scope of his authority, then he has exceeded his authority and the the award constitutes an unauthorized commitment that requires ratification.

See, for example, the GAO's decision in the matter of: Bureau of Land Management: Payment of Pocatello Field Office, Photocopying Costs, B-290901, Dec. 16, 2002, in which the GAO held that a BLM field office's purchase of photocopying services from a commercial source was an unauthorized commitment because the office did not comply with the FAR and other regulations requiring a waiver from the Joint Committee on Printing. BLM ratifying officials refused to ratify the unauthorized commitment and the GAO refused to authorize payment.


By Anonymous on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 10:28 am:

Vern is absolutly correct ...KOs must insure that all applicable laws and regulations have been observed.....that includes the FAR. First thing I would do is pull the abusers cards.....believe me that will get their attention. And I would remind card holders that that card they use is ,in fact a warrant and that all rules affecting warranted KOs apply to them.


By dave on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 11:13 am:

Vern, in retrospect I agree with your point, and I should have added "necessarily" make an unauthorized committment because, for example, not using GPO is a nonratifiable committment. Here's my conundrum, the cardholders would love to have their cards revoked, my procurement management doesn't want to pull the cards because it makes them look customer friendly to the program office management.

Tis such a game...


By Vern Edwards on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 11:31 am:

dave:

Why do the cardholders want their cards revoked? Are they afraid of getting into trouble?

Vern


By FormerCO4AF on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 12:24 pm:

Vern,

When I ran the GPC program at Ellsworth, most cardholders hated having the cards because it was an additional task to their regular job and they hated it.


By Vern Edwards on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 12:33 pm:

FormerCO4AF:

Thanks for the info. That's interesting, because the card was promoted as a way to reduce the paperwork demands on requisitioners and speed up the process of making small buys.

Vern


By formerfed on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 01:23 pm:

Vern,

The card does do all that. Most senior managers recognize the benefits and want employees in their organization to have them. The problem is a cardholder comes with some added burden and responsibility. The funny thing is the senior people that want cards in their organization donít end up with them. Rather itís delegated to the already overworked administrative people.

Also that's good and valid point you stressed about not having authority to do a proper purchase. I has lax with a quick but wrong answer.


By Phil C. on Friday, April 04, 2003 - 06:34 pm:

Sorry, I tried to start another thread for the credit card tangent, but couldn't do it.

In my current line of work, I get a chance to see numerous credit cards programs each year. Some good, some okay, some downright ugly.

If managed properly, the card is a time, resource, and money saver. The key being if managed properly. First, the activity MUST appoint the right person as the Agency Program Coordinator. As we know, this person is charged with managing the activity's program. The wrong person here translates to disaster.

The APC should focus on putting reasonable and prudent processes and procedures in-place that streamline the credit card buy vice make it more difficult and time consuming. 2nd, provide initial, continuous, and refresher training of cardholders and approving officials. Not just what the regs say such as FAR 8 NIB/NISH, etc, but how to use the card to obtain requirements faster and easier.

The end-user who has the card can get what they want faster with the PC than sending a requisition to the purchasing/contracting office. However, the end-user (cardholder) now has a responsibility that they didn't have before. If this person doesn't want an added responsibility, then its a tough sell to get them to "buy-in" on using the PC. The responsibility being minimal record keeping (a cardholder logsheet), and reconciling their PC purchase on a monthly basis. Much like many of us do with our own personal credit cards or checking accounts.


By Another Anon on Monday, April 07, 2003 - 10:13 pm:

The PC buying process is also getting more and more complicated - check the mandatory sources list, debarred list, environmentally appropriate products list - it is not like using your own credit card.

With respect to the deobligation topic - how can a budget officer deobligate funds from a contract? Doesn't that require a KO?


By dave on Tuesday, April 08, 2003 - 09:32 am:

Sorry to get back to you so late Vern, but the earlier threads pretty much said it all, the cardholders don't like the additional burden that goes with the card and as we audit and enforce regulatory requirements E.G. Part 8 compliance, they just feel the card is getting more burdensome, not less.

Another Anon, everywhere I've been the KO deobligates the funds


By Vern Edwards on Tuesday, April 08, 2003 - 09:51 am:

Thanks, Dave.

Vern


By Anonymous on Friday, April 11, 2003 - 09:07 am:

Vern,

Vern, You made the following statement: "If a contracting officer violates a regulation when awarding a contract, even though the award is otherwise within the scope of his authority, then he has exceeded his authority and the award constitutes an unauthorized commitment that requires ratification."

I think your interpretation of the Pocatello decision may be too broad. The decisions seem to distinguish regulatory violations that go to the essence of the agency's or KO's authority, as in Pocatello, from other types of regulatory violations. Without such an approach, the Government could essentially escape from an undesirable contract simply by finding a regulatory violation associated with the award.

EROS ASBCA No. 48355 (1998) has a great overview of the issue and discusses Cubic Applications v. U.S., 37 Fed. Cl. 345 where the Ct. of Federal Claims ruled a KO did not loss her authority when she failed to follow statutory procedure.

I think authority, unauthorized commitments, ratification, quantum meruit, etc... is the most difficult area of Government contracting. There are no obvious answers so I won't argue too strenuously. But I'm interest in seeing you're thoughts.


By Vern Edwards on Saturday, April 12, 2003 - 10:37 am:

Anonymous of April 11 at 9:07am:

My thoughts are this: I'm glad you aren't arguing too strenuously and I wish you hadn't argued at all. No contracting officer has the authority to violate a regulation when awarding a contract. All you have to do to verify the truth of my statement is read FAR ß 1.602-1(b), which states:

"No contract shall be entered into unless the contracting officer ensures that all requirements of law, executive orders, regulations, and all other applicable procedures, including clearances and approvals, have been met."

Note the word "all," which I have underlined. Note, too, FAR ß 1.602-2, entitled, "Responsibilities," and which states:

"Contracting officers are responsible for ensuring performance of all necessary actions for effective contracting, ensuring compliance with the terms of the contract, and safeguarding the interests of the United States in its contractual relationships. In order to perform these responsibilities, contracting officers should be allowed wide latitude to exercise business judgment. Contracting officers shall-

(a) Ensure that the requirements of 1.602-1(b) have been met, and that sufficient funds are available for obligation;

(b) Ensure that contractors receive impartial, fair, and equitable treatment; and

(c) Request and consider the advice of specialists in audit, law, engineering, transportation, and other fields, as appropriate."

Note the word "shall," which I have underlined and which re-emphasizes ß 1.602-1(b).

Finally, look at SF1402, Certificate of Appointment. It says that so-and-so is appointed contracting officer for the United States of America, "Subject to the limitations contained in the Federal Acquisition Regulation... ." Now, if a contracting officer's appointment and authority is limited to acquisitions in which all requirements of statute, regulation, etc., have been met, and if a contracting officer makes a commitment in which he or she has exceeded that authority, then I think that commitment is, by definition, an unauthorized commitment and must be ratified in order to be binding on the government.

You have misread the Cubic decision. For one thing, in that case the government had ratified the CO's action by defending it in court. Moreover, the court said: "If the contracting officer has viewed the award as lawful, and it is reasonable to take that position under the legislation and regulations, the court should normally follow suit."

Underlining added. And here is what the ASBCA said about that decision in its own decision in the matter of Eros Division of Resource Recycling International, Inc., ASBCA No. 48355, 99-1 BCA ∂ 30,207 (December 31, 1998):

"The court held that the contracting officer had authority to award the contract; her failure to follow the statutory procedure did not mean that she lost her underlying authority; the agency did not lack appropriated funds for the contract; and the error did not harm the public interest, for whose protection the statute was enacted, because the illegality was not plain since all participants operated under the impression that the statute was inapplicable; and Cubic, which had reason to know of the application of the statute before the solicitation was issued, did not assert timely the illegality of the solicitation."

Underlining added.


By Anonymous on Friday, April 18, 2003 - 10:02 am:

Vern,

You mischaracterized both my argument and Cubic. I never said a contracting officer has authority to violate a regulation when awarding a contract. But words (in this case "authority") can have more than one meaning. The fact a contracting officer doesn't have "authority" to violate a regulation doesn't mean the KO automatically loses the "actual authority" necessary to bind the Government when an acquisition regulation is violated.

There's no use in going into much more detail with you on Cubic. You say the Cubic court said something to make a point about the facts in the Cubic case when in reality the quote you included is taken from the Cubic court quoting another case. And you're "government... ratified [it] by defending it in court" is an outrageous attempt to make the case conform to what you thought it must mean before you even read it.

Look at Maintenance Services (B-242019). A contracting officer violated the competition regulations in awarding contract 0028. AFTER awarding 0028, the contracting officer lost his warrant authority. He then awarded contracts 0033 and 0068. He also violated the competition requirements in awarding 0033 and 0068.

The agency, perhaps after seeking legal advice from consultants on wifcon, determined all three contracts were unauthorized commitments. The agency then concluded ratification wasn't permissable due to the CICA violations, and the contractor sought quantum meruit recovery at GAO.

Here's what GAO said about contract 0028: "Ratification... is not required because when the order was issued... the awarding official still had authority to bind the Government. The issue with respect to this order, therefore, is not the authority of the awarding official, but rather the effect of his failure to obrain competition prior to issuing the order."

GAO then discussed a similar test to that of Cubic (this test is also consistent with my opinion that some, but not all, regulatory violations nullify a KO's actual authority to bind the government) regarding when improperly awarded contracts should be treated as void and when they shouldn't.

I've reviewed thousands of contracts and in almost all cases the KO made some sort of regulatory violation (CICA, not using the right clauses, failing to include documentation required by the regs, etc...). If you really think they're all unauthorized commitments then take your theory to its conclusion and claim you've found discovered the holy grail of government contracting: almost every contract payment the United States makes is based on an implied ratification or quantum meruit theory and no one ever realized it but you.


By Vern Edwards on Friday, April 18, 2003 - 12:48 pm:

Anonymous:

Let me make myself clear:

I really think that when a contracting officer violates a statute or regulation in awarding a contract, that contracting officer has made an unauthorized commitment that must be ratified. I reach that conclusion on the basis of the fact that contracting officers are required to comply with all laws and regulations and their authority to enter into contracts is thusly limited. If a contracting officer exceeds his or her authority in making a commitment, then the commitment is unauthorized by definition. It is an easy conclusion to reach, and I'm frankly surprised that you find it to be a matter of debate.

All that you have been saying is that contracting officers often violate statute and regulation when awarding contracts and nobody does anything about it. That certainly doesn't surprise me. As a practical matter, it is probably impossible to know all the laws and regulations, much less comply with them. Nobody wants to process ratifications every time there is a minor screwup. What the GAO, the courts, and the boards will or will not do about a particular violation is anybody's guess. But none of that changes the fact that an unauthorized commitment must be ratified in order to be binding. See: Administration of Government Contracts, 3d ed., by Cibinic and Nash, p. 67, under the heading "Authority Required."

You're right about there being no use in going on about Cubic. In the Cubic case the court simply decided that any violation of statute was inadvertent and no big deal ("harmless error") and refused to block the award. The fact that the government chose to defend award in court, notwithstanding the contracting officer's failure to comply with the law by preparing the required D&F before issuing the solicitation, is clearly a sign of implicit ratification by knowledge or adoption. See: Adminisration, cited above, pp. 47-54.

Your outrage at my "outrageous" interpretation of Cubic and your shots about legal advice from consultants at wifcon and the holy grail made me laugh. I don't know why you have chosen to get so angry with me. (I've got this mental image of you hopping up and down in your chair, gurgling incoherently while staring at your computer monitor.) While I'm perfectly capabable of being nasty, I did't get nasty with you. What's up?

I generally don't take anonymouses like you very seriously when they respond as you have. I identify myself in my communications, and take personal responsibility for my remarks. I assume that people writing anonymously don't want to be associated with what they have written.

The sun is shining where I am. Have a nice day.

Vern


By Anonymous on Friday, April 18, 2003 - 01:24 pm:

Vern,

The only thing that me a little mad (although not hopping mad) was what I perceived as a rather conclusory statement that I misread Cubic.

The shots were simply included to add some humour to a dreary (the sun is not shining here) Friday and weren't meant to be taken seriously.

As for the law, from the beginning the only point I was trying to make is the courts have distinguished some types of regulatory violations from others when faced with the issue (i.e., some result in nullification, other don't). I like this approach because it doesn't result in procurement review teams having to recommend the activity send all reviewed contracts to a Flag officer for ratification. Maybe activities could institute preemptive ratifications where all contracts were ratified immediately after award since something was probably done wrong somewhere in the file (sorry about the final attempt at humour).

I guesss there's all sorts of reasons why people choose to remain anonymous, but in my case it has nothing to do with personal responsibility.

I'm glad your having a nice day.


By Vern Edwards on Friday, April 18, 2003 - 02:20 pm:

Anonymous:

No problem. The thing to keep in mind about unauthorized commitments and ratification is that it gives the government a chance to get out of a deal when it doesn't want to be stuck with it, but usually lets it keep the deal if it likes it.

If a contracting officer breaks a rule, or some non-contracting officer makes a deal, and the government wants to stick with it, all it has to do is ratify. What cases like Cubic show is that judges tend to be pragmatic. They decide what they think is fair and then dredge up case law to justify the decision. What makes the Cubic decision fun reading is Judge (Eric) Bruggink's verbal gymnastics in deciding count one as he tries to let the government break a rule and away with it. The guy goes on forever before concluding: no big deal. It's a hoot.

Take it easy,

Vern


By Anonymous on Saturday, April 19, 2003 - 12:10 pm:

Vern, we appreciate someone of your statue being willing to put their name on the line in the forum; however, I think some may discount too much those of us wishing to remain anonymous. I appreciate your qualification "when they respond as you have" and take that to mean you consider what we have to say solely on the merits of what is said. I've seen indications others do not understand as well.

First, as you and others have said many times, this forum is not the authoritative final answer to contracting questions. Anyone making a contracting decision solely on the basis of a forum answer, even one of yours, is extremely foolish. The forum's value lies in its ability to provoke thought and provide guidance on where the answer may be found.

For example, I find your research valuable and quite solid, but would never just copy your cites for the record. They simply provide expert direction to the answers. Meanwhile the arguments, even by those less skilled, are valuable. If I've jumped to a conclusion there is one way, these arguments provide a way to consider that conclusion in light of possible alternate and better methods. One should not go to Wifcon Forum for answers. One should come to fertilize thinking about answers.

For that purpose an anonymous opinion may be as useful as a named opinion. Certainly an anonymous cite with reference is as useful as one that is signed. Many of your analysis answers would be just as useful as they provide solid references. Certainly no one should get too excited when an anonymous goes off the deep end, though it can be amusing or irritating.

I believe there are many reasons for remaining anonymous. For one, an "anonymous" has no ego. I offer my opinion, standing on its merits or flaws alone, or offer cites with references. They are offered as thinking points with no "authority" attached. I have sometimes taken hours researching questions on this and other forums despite the fact there will never be a "credit" line. I'm simply interested in the issue or answer myself.

I also have found that "I" do not get snared as easily by unending, pointless arguments as I have no reputation to build and no interest in remaining in an argument to win even for the sake of a tag line. I will argue points anonymously. I have found it is much easier as "anonymous" to walk away when the argument becomes pointless or personal. I more easily avoid intemperate responses to which I might otherwise be prone. That does not mean I do not invest experience and research in responses.


By Vern Edwards on Saturday, April 19, 2003 - 12:41 pm:

Anonymous:

I agree that comments should be assessed on their own merits, and you have also made some good points about reasons for posting anonymously. Some very interesting things have been written anonymously in the past. Consider the famous "X" article in Foreign Affairs, which became the basis for the U.S.'s policy for containing communism, and which turned out to have been written by a career diplomat on active service, George F. Kennan.

Usually, I don't mind anonymous posts. I think it's okay if someone wants to ask a question without being embarrassed or if a policymaker wants to take a position without putting himself or herself on the spot, like Kennan. But when the debate gets vigorous, then I think it's time to either stand up or get out. I'm sure you don't agree, but that's my opinion.

Vern


By anon on Friday, April 25, 2003 - 08:15 pm:

Just an observation that I'm throwing out for thought: If any award is invalid where a regulation was violated somewhere in the process, then how do we explain GAO decisions where a protest is denied because there was no prejudice to the protestor, even though something was done wrong? Are those all invalid awards that would need to be ratified? Should the GAO be sustaining protests whenever there is error in the process, because the CO had no authority to make that award?
And yes indeedy, I'm staying anonymous on this.

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