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About this blog

This blog is managed by Bob Antonio, the Owner of Wifcon.com. It includes link to news items on contracting and the blogger's comments

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"According to the complaint, filed in this matter with the United States District Court, Southern District of California, case number 13MJ1269, Cervantes is charged specifically with violating Title 18, United States Code (U.S.C.) Section 201 ( B )(2), bribery. Cervantes allegedly used his position to extort bribes from businesses seeking to do business at Camp Pendleton and allegedly referred to himself as the Godfather at Camp Pendleton; Cervantes is currently a U.S. Department of Defense employee and a supervisor for Construction and Service Contracts, Inspection Branch, at Camp Pendleton."

See it at fbi.gov.


"A bipartisan group of senators led by U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) are expressing continued concern and frustration over the Army's use of contractors that have potential ties to terrorist groups. The senators specifically referred to a longstanding backlog of 43 referrals pending before the Army's Suspension and Debarment Official that involve individuals or companies with links to groups including the Haqqani Network and Al Qaeda as reason for concern that underscores the Army's need to take swift action."

See it at shaheen.senate.gov


"What you’re looking at is a cell in the midst of dividing into two identical copies—a process called mitosis. Here, the chromosomes (in blue) are aligned at the cell’s equator. Microtubules (red) from opposite poles of the cell attach to the chromosomes using the kinetochores (green) and pull them to opposite ends of the cell, which then splits in half. But sometimes cells do not divide properly—a common problem in cancer. Understanding the mechanics of cell division could help us correct this process when it goes wrong."

See it at directorsblog.nih.gov.


You are a program officer with big "wants" but with little federal money. Your contracting officer is not familiar with hiding overruns in an FPI(F) contract--yet. Besides, you have never heard of it--yet. What to do? Well, this politician knows best. With a little luck and plenty of ignorance, you may see the "fixed price technical competition, under which all offerors compete solely on nonprice factors and the fixed award price is pre-announced in the solicitation."

Let's think about this. Fixed price, fixed award price, the same thing. Nobody is saying anything against the FPI(F). So, get ready, low ball your fixed-price and let the offerors compete for it. If they want the business, they can promise you anything. What else can they do? In a few years, just before things fall apart, find another job.

By the way, if you want to read about it start at the bottom of the "Discussion draft" to the right of the article. It is in Title V "Other Reforms." They should have called it "Afterthoughts."

See it at fcw.com


". . . in the current fiscal climate, agencies and businesses alike have been forced to make tough spending cuts. After carefully reviewing the projected spending and attendance for this year’s conference, GSA is suspending Expo for 2013 in an effort to use our resources responsibly and to deliver better value and savings for our government partners, our vendors, and the American people."

See it at gsa.gov.


You're travelling on your own for the government and you found a way to save money but you're subject to the Joint Travel Regulations as well as the Federal Travel Regulation. What do you do?

You went ahead and saved the government money and were proud of yourself. Unfortunately, your finance office stiffed you when it came time for payment. Its time to learn about rules that are mandatory.

See the case at cbca.gsa.gov. (it is only 2 pages.)


"Under a Contractor Team Arrangement (CTA), two or more GSA Schedule contractors work together to meet ordering activity needs. By complementing each other's capabilities, the team offers a total solution to the ordering activity's requirement, providing a "win-win" situation for all parties."

But what is a Prime/Subcontractor relationship and what is the difference from a CTA? Let GSA explain.

See the information at gsa.gov.


One of our colleagues sent this to me and I am posting it for you. Even Bilbo Baggins has a contract attorney to watch over him.

"I, the undersigned, [referred to hereinafter as Burglar,] agree to travel to the Lonely Mountain, path to be determined by Thorin Oakenshield, who has a right to alter the course of the journey at his so choosing, without prior notification and/or liability for accident or injury incurred."

"The aforementioned journey and subsequent extraction from the Lonely Mountain of any and all goods, valuables and chattels [which activities are described collectively herein as the Adventure] shall proceed in a timely manner and with all due care and consideration as seen fit by said Thorin Oakenshield and companions, numbering thirteen more or less, to wit, the Company."

See the article at wired.com.


Searching for an item to post is time-consuming and frustrating. However, some times an item pops up from an unexpected place. In this case, it was the U. S. Civilian Board of Contract Appeals. The case is straightforward and easy to read and contains some excerpts that are noteworthy. Here is what the Board said:

"Our view is in line with the contractor's. Although Drennon's technique for excavating the hillside may not have been ideal, due to the defects in the design of the project and significant differences between the geotechnical information provided and the actual soil composition, the hillside would have collapsed no matter what technique the contractor had used. Whether the contractor's design for the wall (which was approved by the agency) would have succeeded is irrelevant; the virtue of the design was not tested, since the project was truncated before the wall was built. We grant the appeal, excluding from the award only the contractor's profit on its suspension of work claim."

See the entire case at Drennon Construction & Consulting, Inc. v. The Department of the Interior.


In Estes Express Lines, Inc. v. U. S., No. 11-597C, January 15, 2013, the Court of Federal Claims said:

"For the government to be sued on a contract pursuant to the Tucker Act, there must be privity of contract between the plaintiff and the United States." "This is so because the doctrine of sovereign immunity precludes a suit against the United States without its consent and because, under the Tucker Act, the United States has 'consent[ed] to be sued only by those with whom it has privity of contract."' Accordingly, "[t]he effect of finding privity of contract between a party and the United States is to find a waiver of sovereign immunity."

Conversely, a finding of lack of privity deprives this court of jurisdiction.

See the opinion here.


At this time of year, newly introduced legislation often is introduced and then quickly enters oblivion. I checked this Senator's committee and subcommitee assignments and did not find any direct link to federal contracting. Maybe that explains it.

"Sen. Toomey's bill would require the GAO to include the most common reasons bid protests are sustained. This additional information could help federal agencies identify needed improvements in the contracting process, reduce the number of protests overall and provide Congress with much-needed information about possible weaknesses in the federal contracting process to facilitate potential legislation."

See it at toomey.senate.gov.


"The Subcommittee’s investigation of food service contracts has revealed systemic deficiencies in the transparency and oversight of contractors’ rebate and discount policies. Chairman McCaskill asked Office of Management and Budget Director Zients to review the Subcommittee’s findings and issue guidance to federal agencies to address these deficiencies. She also requested that OMB consider how the federal government can better leverage its buying power through the strategic sourcing of food service."

See it at hsgac.senate.gov. (The letter is on the upper left of the linked page in a pdf document.)


In a letter to the Secretary of the Army and the Chief of Staff of the Army, Senator McCaskill, Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Contracting Oversight and Senators Shaheen, Coburn, Burr, Webb, Cornyn, Inhofe, and Blumenthal, questioned the significant delays between when a referral is made to the Army and when the Army takes action to keep the contractor from receiving additional government contracts. The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction reports that between June 2011 and June 2012, the Army's average time to process a debarment referral was a total of 323 days.

See the letter at mccaskill.senate.gov.