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"A Propinquent Level Of Bureaucratic Service And Consideration"

bob7947

3,945 views

Propinquent. The word you've entered isn't in the dictionary. (Source: merriam-webster.com)

Imagine quoting on a procurement in which you submitted the lowest-priced, technically acceptable quote. Instead of winning the award, you were told that your quote was unacceptable and ineligible for award because you did not possess the requisite facility clearance prior to award. Although you submitted your facility clearance information to the contracting officer on December 6, 2012, nearly two months later on February 1, 2013, little had been done on it.

You protest to the U. S. Court of Federal Claims and everything seems to be going your way until you read the following quote from the opinion:

While . . . certainly did not act with alacrity, vigor, or timeliness, he provided a propinquent level of bureaucratic service and consideration.

Nonsense! Even the dictionary cannot tell me what propinquent means. However, the dictionary does define propinquity. My interpretation of the phrase that I italicized is "good enough for government work." That's not good enough for me. I disagree with the judge's ruling! In addition, I disagree with the judge's singling out one individual for a process issue.

Now, let's look at the cause for the nearly 2-month delay in processing the facility clearance. I blocked out the individual's name because I want you to look at this as a process issue.

Regarding GSAs actions, Mr. . . . provides an explanation for his delay in processing MVSs facility clearance request. He notes that between December 6, 2012, and February 1, 2013, he worked on the development of [six] DD-254 packages, including MVSs, as well as . . . numerous others that were in various stages of development or modification award processing. Decl. of . . . (. . . ) ¶ 14 (May 10, 2013), ECF No. 44. He states that he also worked on a security audit report and was on personal leave for sixteen days during that time period. Id. Mr. . . . additionally says he halted the processing of DD Form 254 requests for a two-week period in January while DSS was questioning whether a bona fide need existed for any facility clearances under SINs 132-54 and 132-55 under Schedule 70. Id. ¶ 15. He resumed processing requests after that issue was resolved and worked on all the vendors[] requests for facility clearances and did not expedite the request of any particular vendor. Id. ¶ 16. Mr. . . . , however, notes that he did expedite the processing of MVSs request as soon as he was informed that the matter required prompt consideration. Id. ¶ 17.

I'm asking you to look at the above quote and the entire opinion to identify ways to improve the process in this procurement. I'm not looking for an answer here. Instead, how would you initiate the improvements? I'll point out a few items to give you a start.

  1. He was on personal leave for sixteen days during that time period.
  2. He halted the processing of DD Form 254 requests for a two-week period in January while the Defense Security Service was questioning whether a bona fide need existed for any facility clearances under SINs 132-54 and 132-55 under Schedule 70.
  3. The splitting of responsibilities in the Memorandum of Agreement between the Defense Information Systems Agency and the General Services Administration.



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The Oxford English Dictionary Online, June 2013, spells it propinquant with an "a" (and gives propinquent as an alternate spelling). It says that the term is chiefly literary and defines it as meaning "nearby, adjacent."

Merriam Webster's Unadbridged Dictionary Online spells it propinquant with an "a" and defines it as meaning "nearby."

Judge Lettow misused the word as meaning adequate or sufficient.

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