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Expansion of Buy American Act Requirements are Coming – Including the Addition of Cyber Projects

By Heather Mims, Esq. In general, the Buy American Act (“BAA”) requires the United States government to give a preference to American-made products. When applied to a specific procurement, a contractor must provide an end-product that was manufactured in the United States and must also certify that more than fifty percent of the cost of all the parts were manufactured in the United States. Executive Orders Since its implementation in 1933, numerous exceptions and interpretations have develope

Centre Law & Consulting

Centre Law & Consulting

Wojciech Kornacki Writes Article on Pricing Compliance Programs for Bloomberg BNA

Reproduced with permission from Federal Contracts Report, 105 FCR (June 21, 2016). Copyright 2016 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) http://www.bna.com Effective Trade Agreements Act and Pricing Compliance Programs for Federal Supply Schedules Recent scrutiny by Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and a $75.5 million settlement stemming from allegations of overcharging the U.S. government send a clear message: Vendors must be compliant with their Trade Agreements Act (TAA) and pr

Changes to Trade Agreements Act Thresholds

By Wayne Simpson, CFCM, CSCM New Thresholds for 2018 and 2019 The United States Trade Representative (USTR) has determined and announced new U.S. Dollar Procurement Thresholds implementing U.S. Trade Agreement obligations, effective January 1, 2018, for calendar years 2018 and 2019. The Trade Agreements Act of 1979 (TAA) implements international trade agreements and guarantees non-discriminatory treatment in government procurement. TAA provides the President of the United States authority to

Centre Law & Consulting

Centre Law & Consulting

Spring Cleaning for Your GSA Schedule

As spring approaches, it’s the time of year when we are all busy dusting off and cleaning up around the house, but do not forget to spruce up your General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule contract as well. Below are key items to consider when spring cleaning your GSA Schedule: Authorized Negotiators/Digital Certificates: Have you reviewed the authorized negotiators on your GSA Schedule recently? If any authorized negotiators need to be removed or added, this can be completed via an admin

GSA Federal Supply Schedule Description Too Limited For Contractor to Receive Award

In its September 18, 2017 decision, the GAO sustained a protest over a task order awarded to a contractor whom only had one of the two required services listed on their General Services Administration (“GSA”) Federal Supply Schedule (“FSS”). The United States Navy attempted to acquire 120-250 hotel rooms for civil service mariners in the Norfolk, Virginia area. The Agency invited vendors to submit offers through the GSA’s e-buy system, with instructions to only submit services on a current GSA

Centre Law & Consulting

Centre Law & Consulting

GAO Will Occasionally Review Terminations for Convenience

By Heather Mims Ordinarily, the GAO will decline to review the termination of contracts for convenience because such actions are matters of contract interpretation and are more properly brought within the context of a CDA claim. However, in the recent decision of AutoFlex, Inc., B-415926 (Apr. 19, 2018), the GAO noted that it will review the propriety of a termination for convenience where the termination flows from a defect the contracting agency perceived in the award process. AutoFlex, Inc.

No April Fools Joke: GSA Refresh/Mass Mods Are Coming!

The General Services Administration (GSA) Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) is planning to refresh ALL Multiple Award Schedules (MAS). The purpose of the refresh is to incorporate provision and clause changes into MAS solicitations and contracts. Be on the lookout for updates tentatively planned for April 2017. Major changes to the Small Business Subcontracting Plan will be included in these Refreshes/Mass Mods that will impact both large and small businesses. Look for changes in the Model Subc

You’ve Accepted Transactional Data Reporting, Now What?

The Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) Rule requires vendors to electronically report the price that the federal government paid for an item or service purchased through GSA acquisition vehicles and other data elements. The rollout of TDR across all pilot schedules is now complete. If you accepted TDR willingly or unwillingly, it’s time to understand the reporting requirements. When are the TDR Requirements Effective? Upon acceptance of the TDR pilot bilateral mass modification, the requireme

Centre Law & Consulting

Centre Law & Consulting

As One Protest Door Closes, Another One Opens

By Heather Mims The protest saga of the Department of Education’s contracts for collection services for defaulted student loans has now been going on for over a year – and the contracts are worth fighting for as it is for a roughly $2.8 billion debt collection procurement. As a refresher, forty-seven companies originally submitted bids in response to the Department of Education’s RFP but only seven companies originally received contract awards back in December 2016. The unsuccessful offerors s

Subcontracting Payment Rules: Make the Payment or Incur the Penalty

The Payment of Subcontractors proposed rule, which appeared in the Federal Register in January 2016, is the latest in a series of efforts to hold the Prime accountable for timely payments to its Subs. Those who follow these blogs know that ‘payment’ is a hot button topic for me whether it is payment to the Prime by the Government or payment to the Subcontractor by the Prime. We’ve previously highlighted the “Accelerating Payments to Small Businesses” rule whose aim is to enable small business

Lowest-Price, Technically Acceptable (LPTA) Reform Legislation Introduced

Bill Seeks to Limit Improper LPTA Use Although Lowest-Price, Technically Acceptable (LPTA) procurements are conducted as part of the “best value” continuum, nothing seems to get the ire of industry up more than LPTA procurements, and the government’s seemingly ever-increasing use of the LPTA method.  Help may be on the way to curb the use of improper LPTA procurements in civilian departments.  The National Defense Authorization Act of 2017 already placed restrictions on use of LPTA procurements

Service Contract Labor Standards (AKA SCA): Top 10 Things to Consider

By William Weisberg, Esq., The Service Contract Labor Standards (“SCLS”) governs how, and how much, government contractors must pay “covered” employees on “covered” contracts.  Here are the Top 10 things to keep in mind regarding Service Contract Labor Standards: It used to be called the “Service Contract Act,” and many people still call it that, or SCA. It is now, however, Service Contract Labor Standards.  In real life, either name will do. The contracting agency, and the Department of Lab

Centre Law & Consulting

Centre Law & Consulting

Cooperating with DOL Investigation Does Not Protect You from Debarment

On December 28, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) filed a complaint with the DOL Office of Administrative Law Judges seeking debarment of a contractor for violation of the Service Contract Labor Standards (formerly the Service Contract Act). The contractor, Restaurant Associates LLC, runs the cafeteria in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. Even though Restaurant Associates won a seven year contract extension in December 2015 to continue operating the cafeteria, the company would be prohibited

Centre Law & Consulting

Centre Law & Consulting

Centre Staff Speaking at NCMA World Congress

Centre Law & Consulting will be at NCMA World Congress in Chicago from July 23-26, 2017. A number of Centre’s staff have been invited to speak about various federal contracting topics (see below for the topics and times). Centre will also be exhibiting at booth 417. Monday July 24 Corporate Ethics: Lead from the Top or Pay Through the Nose A07 • Managing Contracting Organizations • Room 309/311 • Intermediate David Warner, Partner, Centre Law & Consulting This session will review r

Federal Contractor Survival Guide (2016 Mid-Year Update)

This guide pinpoints some of the major government contracts-related developments that occurred over the last six months. These developments create new opportunities and compliance requirements that people who conduct business with the Federal Government need to know about. Major Regulatory Developments Compliance: False Claims Act Penalties Almost Double The U.S. Department of Justice issued an interim rule increasing monetary penalties for contractors. Civil monetary penalties under certain

Removal of Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Rule from the Federal Acquisition Regulation

By Wayne Simpson A Final Rule was published in the November 6, 2017 (corrected and republished in the November 8, 2017) edition of the Federal Register removing all regulations relating to the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order issued by President Barrack Obama (Executive Order No. 13673, July 31, 2014). In March 2017, using the authority of the Congressional Review Act, Congress passed House Joint Resolution 37, which disapproved the final rule submitted by the U.S. Department of De

Centre Law & Consulting

Centre Law & Consulting

Communication, Consistency and … the OFCCP?

By David Warner, As most federal contractors are aware, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (“OFCCP”) is the agency responsible for ensuring that contractors and subcontractors doing business with the U.S. government comply with affirmative action and non-discrimination obligations under federal laws, executive orders, and regulations. In September 2016, the Government Accounting Office (“GAO”) issued a report recommending that OFCCP review its complian

An Agency Taking Corrective Action Does Not Necessarily Mean You Will Receive Your Protests Costs

In a GAO decision released September 13, 2017, the GAO denied Walker Development & Trading Group, Inc.’s (“Walker”) request for reconsideration of the denial of its costs. On January 2, 2017, Walker filed a protest arguing that the Department of Veterans Affairs (“VA”) did not properly set a requirement aside for small businesses. In the VA’s report, the contracting officer stated that, after performing market research, she did not have a reasonable expectation that two or more capable smal

Centre Law & Consulting

Centre Law & Consulting

Wojciech Kornacki Quoted in Bloomberg BNA Article on HHS IT Competition Cancellation

Reproduced with permission from Federal Contracts Report, 105 FCR (July 27, 2016). Copyright 2016 by The Bureau of National Affairs, Inc. (800-372-1033) http://www.bna.com HHS Couldn’t Justify IT Competition Cancellation, COFC Says The Department of Health and Human Services couldn’t justify its cancellation of an IT competition that a protester claimed was tainted by bias, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims said (Starry Assocs. Inc. v. United States, 2016 BL 241279, Fed. Cl., No. 16-44C, 7/27/1

Awardee’s Below Market Employee Compensation Not a Win for Protester

Warning! This post contains explicit (and depressing) news about low bidders using below market salaries and benefits to win contracts. The Air Force issued a solicitation for information technology services at Joint Base San Antonio. The RFP provided for award to the offeror that submitted a technically-acceptable proposal with the lowest price and a realistic employee compensation plan (ECP). For the ECP evaluation, the solicitation stated that the plans “will be evaluated for realism” and dir

Failure to Submit Signed JV Agreement Rendered Proposal Technically Unacceptable

In a decision publicly released on Friday, March 31, in CJW-Desbuild JV, LLC, B-414219 (Mar. 17, 2017), the Government Accountability Office (GAO) denied a protest challenging the rejection of a proposal where the contractor had failed to provide a signed joint venture agreement with its proposal. In issuing the RFP, the Department of the Navy, Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) stated that award of the construction and repair contract would be made on a best value basis, with price

GSA Schedule Update: Breaking News on Service Contract Act (SCLS) – What To Do Now

Alleluia! Inconsistence SCA implementation from GSA be gone! GSA has finally issued guidance on the implementation of the Service Contract Labor Standards (formerly called the Service Contract Act). It seems like dog years ago and certainly several changes of leadership at GSA when I first met with them about issuing uniform SCLS guidance. How Do We Know This? GSA published a draft refresh of Schedule 23V (firetrucks, auto, and auto parts and accessories) which contains the draft guidance alo

VETS-4212 Reporting Requirement Approaching

By Wayne Simpson, CFCM, CSCM Federal Contractor and Subcontractor Labor Reporting Requirements Under the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act (VEVRAA) VEVRAA requires Federal contractors and subcontractors covered by the Act’s affirmative action provisions to report annually to the Secretary of Labor the number of employees in their workforces, by job category and hiring location, who are qualified covered veterans.  VEVRAA also requires Federal contractors and subcontractors to re

Fifteen New Cybersecurity Safeguarding Requirements and Procedures Take Effect

The Federal Government continues to issue more and more cybersecurity rules, Executive Orders and guidance for federal contractors, and the latest addition is the Federal Acquisition Regulation Part 52.204-21 – Basic Safeguarding of Covered Contractor Information Systems, published in June 2016. This new rule establishes new definitions of “Covered Contractor Information System”, “Federal Contract Information”, and outlines 15 new safeguarding requirements and procedures for federal contractors.

America’s Continuing Independent Contractor Conundrum

Employees are expensive. It’s little surprise market forces incentivize companies to search for a way to get the same work out of people without paying for holidays, accommodating disabilities, and paying overtime, among countless other requirements. Imagine if you could save all this money within the law and avoid the risk of employment discrimination lawsuits. With all these savings your company could lower the price of your services/goods and edge out the competition. Figure out how to replac
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