I wake up to yet another day of rain in the Washington D.C. metro area. It wouldn’t be so bad if my driveway was not a mud pit. Years ago a crafty driveway company talked us into a pebble driveway which looked like it was in Architectural Digest – for all of a couple of years. Rocks eventually roll downhill and my driveway has a definite slope to it. I also have discovered that it is cheaper to put down gravel than it is to remove it and that crews don’t like working in the rain. And I don’t like slogging through the driveway mud to my car, which is parked on the street in what I think is another zip code.
Which brings me to why federal budgets are flat. Since my last blog I have attended and spoken at numerous conferences. Some prognosticators say professional services will pick up and others say that is a downward slope like my driveway. What I think we all agree on is that there will be no budget until next year. The government will soldier on with continuing resolutions until another administration takes office. I am separating from the pack though and predicting that temporary staffing services will pick up even in a flat budget year. Someone has to do the work.
Which leads me to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) which is flying the “Incumbent Bridge Contract Flag”. This is because of their own acquisition directive MD 102 (“mad dog” 102). That directive mandates an acquisition lifecycle framework (ALF) which sounds good in the land of good intentions. However, ALF is a dog and a not a friendly one. The ALF is a cumbersome four-phase process that anyone in DHS wanting to buy anything (with the exception of the IG) must go through prior to proceeding with an acquisition. Most of the DHS acquisition pros have thrown up their hands (and maybe their lunches) over this onerous process. It is far easier to extend incumbent contracts than to proceed under ALF.
Recent Bid Protests
Protests are trending up 3% over the previous year. Sustain rates are around 12 to 14% on average. In CACI Enterprise Solutions, Inc., B-412648, Apr 25, 2016, the GAO upheld the award to SAIC under a NASA procurement for management of NASA’s enterprise applications. From the decision:
Protest that agency’s evaluation and selection decision failed to consider performance risk associated with staffing reductions in the awardee’s proposal is denied where the agency reasonably concluded that the awardee proposed sufficient staffing to perform the contract requirements, and the source selection authority fully considered the performance risk associated with the awardee’s staffing approach but found the risk to have been mitigated. http://www.gao.gov/products/B-412648,B-412648.2#mt=e-report
It’s interesting to note that SAIC was the incumbent and trimmed its own staff down for the new win.
The White House has proposed new regulations that will prohibit federal agencies from asking a job applicant about their criminal history until after a conditional job offer has been made. Hiring managers will have to eliminate questions about criminal records until later in the hiring process. This, I am confident, will eventually flow down to federal contractors. File your comments before July 1. I can’t resist posting a link to my Linked In post last week about the VA retaining an employee convicted of armed robbery because the armed robbery was committed on her own time and not on VA time.
GSA and VA Schedules
I’ll be posting a white paper on our website next week on the latest news in GSA and VA contracting covering the latest on category management and the new SAC at the VA.
Until next time,