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  2. Headline in the Nov 28 edition of The Wall Street Journal, page A3: Excerpt: Longer version available online. Does all 1102 work require a degree? Which ones do and which ones don't?
  3. Yesterday
  4. Several years ago when strategic sourcing was in vogue, some agencies awarded requirements contracts for commonly purchased supplies and services. Since those contracts were mandatory in agency use, they felt requirements type was appropriate as opposed to IDIQ. As such they didn’t necessarily need to specify maximum quantities.
  5. Shortly after we celebrate our country's independence on July 4, 2013, Wifcon.com will end its 15th year on the internet. With much help from the Wifcon.com community, I've raised a growing teenager. When I started, I was 49 and my hair was so thick that I often shouted ouch or some obscenity when I combed it. Wifcon.com has existed in 3 decades and parts of 2 centuries. During that period, I've updated this site for every work day--except for the week or so when I called it quits. I remember the feeling of relief. I thought it was over. However, many of you convinced me to bring it back. Yes, just when I thought I was out, many of you pulled me back in. As I mentioned in an earlier post, someone once told me that Wifcon.com was my legacy. I once had great hopes for a legacy. Perhaps, a great saxophone player belting out a solo in front of thousands of fans and seeing them enjoying themselves. Instead, here I sit in my solitude looking for news, decisions, etc., to post to the home page. For many years, my dog Ambrose kept me company. Now, my dogs Blue Jay and Lily stare at me and look for attention. With my sights now set realistically, I accept that Wifcon.com is my legacy. It's the best I could do. Every now and then, I receive an e-mail from someone thanking me for Wifcon.com. They tell me how it helped their careers. These e-mails keep me and Wifcon.com going. The thoughts in these e-mails won't let me quit. I still search each night for something to add to the site in hopes that it will increase your knowledge. If I find something new, I still get excited. Often, it feels like a self-imposed weight around my neck. What started as a release for my imagination has evolved into a continuing and daily addition to the contracting community. In the evenings, it is as if I'm Maillardet's automaton. I head over to my office, sit before the computer, and update. Then I send the updated pages to Virginia where it is accessed from around the world. Maybe I'm addicted to Wifcon.com; maybe I was born with the Wifcon.com gene. If you haven't added the numbers, I'm 64 now. Wifcon.com and I are showing our age. I can comb the top of my head with my fingers. The ouches and other obscenities caused by my once thick hair are gone. A recent upgrade to the discussion forum requires that I turn the "compatibility mode" off on my browser. In that mode, I realized that Wifcon.com is ugly. I have current software for the needed future redo of this site. I am Wifcon.com; Wifcon.com is me. It is my legacy and my albatross. As always, thank you for your support.
  6. Did you allow offerors to submit a single proposal responsive to more than one region/solicitation? This is what we did to save paperwork on their end and avoid redundant evaluations on our end. We also tried to convince the customer to consider a regional workload model, as acquisition leadership was much more comfortable with a contract structure divided according to objective criteria instead of the discretion of the customer. But the customer wouldn’t agree to this. So in the end, apart from meeting the minimum guaranteed quantities (each a healthy sum), the government may use each contract entirely as it wishes.
  7. Last week
  8. Happy Thanksgiving weekend! Yes, a BPA against a schedule contract must include an estimated value/quantity/amount; however, in no way do I see that estimate as analogous to a ceiling. No specific action or approval is required to issue an order that exceeds the estimate. An annual review is required, and that annual review occurs whether or not orders have been placed beyond the estimate -- ordering beyond the estimate does not trigger the annual review -- there is no trigger. Contracting officers may seek discounts for orders at any time, and should consider doing so for a BPA at the annual review especially if orders have exceeded the estimate. A schedule BPA is not an IDIQ contract, and should not be treated as one. I want practitioners to know the differences. I hope this discussion is helpful to WIFCON readers.
  9. @C CulhamWell, I don't know why you think an estimated quantity is analogous to a ceiling, i.e., a limit or "cap," but I'm not asking you to explain. I don't care why. And I won't tell you to feel free to think what you like, because you already do that. 😇 Happy Thanksgiving weekend! 🦃
  10. Nope they should walkaway knowing an estimated value/quantity is required for a GSA FSS BPA that is ANALAGOUS to a ceiling as having such requires an action. @ji20874brought up BPA's not me. I didn't want folks walking away thinking that a GSA FSS BPA didn't require an estimated/quantity that is ANALAGOUS to a ceiling that requires an action.
  11. This is from a GSA blog that answers agency questions. It addresses differences between IDIQ contracts and BPAs
  12. Here's a thought: The most interesting thing I found in in SBA's 37-page document was this comment, which appears on page 69133 of the Federal Register announcement, at the bottom of the second column, in the first paragraph immediately under the heading, "SBA Response": Administrative agencies are often more than just administrators. They are often policy advocates and, as such, they like to enlarge their constituencies. That's one reason why some socio-economic programs never go away. Job security. The more "small businesses" getting Government benefits the better. I love the underlying logic of benefit No. 3. P.S. How many of you know that during the 1960s-70s SBA considered American Motors Corporation, maker of the Jeep, to be a small business? AMC had a lock on vehicle sales to the government for several years due to its size status. AMC was purchased by Chrysler (Lee Iacocca) in 1987. Lee wanted the Jeep brand.
  13. That's the opening post. The talk about BPAs is a distraction and I see no point in pursuing that matter with Carl. I don't know what the OP meant by "agency-wide mandatory-use strategic sourcing contracts." If the OP was referring to a MATOC of some kind, then I must assume the contract is an IDIQ, which means that it must include a maximum quantity. The question whether it would "ever" be permissible to to award a five to ten-year contract with no ceiling is too broad to merit a response. The word "ceiling" could refer to any of a number of things. Except for "cancellation ceiling," the word "ceiling" is not defined anywhere in the FAR system. It's jargon. One day someone is going to write a useful article about the importance of asking good questions and how to do it.
  14. Carl, It seems you want our readers to walk away thinking that a ceiling is needed for BPAs against schedule contracts, and that you want to blur the difference between a ceiling and an estimate -- in my mind, too many practitioners already believe these errors. I want them to walk away understanding the correct principle that ceilings are not required, and I want them to know the difference between a ceiling and an estimate.
  15. My continued discussion has been an attempt to support that the guiding principles of FAR 8.405-3(a)(4) and 8.405-3(e)(1)(iii) are ANALAGOUS to a ceiling in that the reqiured ("shall") actions are to address an upper limit of a GSA FSS BPA when initially established and annually. The actions are in my view counter to a statement that GSA FSS BPAs donot have an upper limit, albeit an estimate, at which an action is to occur. In support of my view the references I have provided demonstrate that others such as GAO and OIG have furthered that estimate of need/use is a upper limit ("ceiling") at which certain actions are required. The premise that a GSA FSS BPA is procurement strategy that has no maximum or ceiling required is off base in my view. It may not be a ceiling that establishes scope but it is a ceiling that demands action of a CO in establishing and administering a GSA FSS BPA. A standard that is even addressed in this training - "Blanket Purchase Agreements(BPAs) and the GSA MAS Program" at page 49. Others may not see it the same way as I do and thats ok by me. Thanks.
  16. @Oversight, can you please state the proposed contract price, quantity, item description and delivery schedule you and or the program official are talking about, with and without a "contract ceiling" and with and without a "total estimated potential value?"
  17. An electronic search of the entire FAR System showed that the term "BPA" or the term "blanket purchase agreement" do not appear FAR anywhere in the system in the same paragraph with the word "ceiling." They appear in the same paragraph with the word "maximum" five times. Two times with the phrase "to the maximum extent practicable," once with the phrase "maximum profit," once with the phrase "maximum order threshold of the FSS contract," and once with the phrase "maximum practicable competition."
  18. Just wondering...do our automated systems tolerate BPAs without maximums or estimated amounts?
  19. Carl, that is a 9-page decision. When you want us to refer to something in a decision that you think supports your position, please quote it or tell us on what page(s) it appears and in what paragraph(s). The word "ceiling," which I presume is what you want us to see, appears only once in that decision, in Footnote 1 at the bottom of page 2, as follows: Now, if you are claiming that BPA's must contain a ceiling on purchases, just how does that footnote support your claim? There is no question that a BPA may contain a ceiling on purchases, but if you are saying that the footnote supports a contention that a BPA must contain a ceiling, they I do not agree with you. Moreover, I don't know what the mere mention of an estimated ceiling price says about the BPA in question. Help us understand you. I don't know of anything in FAR that requires a ceiling (limit) on purchases under a BPA.
  20. Or a view that it is proper analogous terminology. https://www.gao.gov/products/b-410682
  21. Re: NOAA OIG-18-014-A At the bottom of page 6 and the top third of page 11, one can clearly read that the NOAA OIG acknowledges that orders may exceed the estimate for schedule BPAs. However, in my opinion, the NOAA OIG errs in its use of the homemade term "estimated ceiling price" for a BPA -- they correctly used "estimated" and incorrectly inserted "ceiling" -- FAR 8.4 never mentions a ceiling for BPAs at all, but only calls for an estimate. And which is it, an estimate or a ceiling? It cannot be both at the same time, and one must make a choice. This is an example of where loose or sloppy terminology interferes with real learning. FAR 8.4 speaks of "estimated value" and "estimated quantities/amounts," but too many practitioners sloppily use "ceiling" instead. They err in doing so, and they perpetuate error by conflating FAR 8.4 BPAs with 16.5 IDIQ contracts. I hope this discussion is helpful for WIFCON readers.
  22. LeighHar, you mentioned FAR clause 52.244-4. Is this an A/E contract? Just curious. I have no disagreement with the previous responses.
  23. Ergo a ceiling on which an action is to be taken. Ceiling - an upper limit, typically one set on prices, wages, or expenditure. Some such as the Commerce OIG believes FAR discussion regarding GSA FSS BPAs are analogous to ceiling. REF OIG-18-014-A, 2/26/18 and OIG-18-023-A, 7/30/18. So as it goes it depends on the eyes of the beholder. The OP has gotten opinion here, he/she shoukd discuss internally with fellow practioners as the agency view is most likely more important than those of WIFCON. There may be risks to the approach and there may not be.
  24. Yes, I'm sure -- BPAs against schedule contracts only require an estimate, not a ceiling or maximum. The review you cited occurs yearly after BPA establishment -- it clearly allows for orders exceeding the estimate, and suggests trying to obtain price reductions in such a case and discontinuing use of the BPA only if it no longer represents best value. A GAO report from several years ago looked at agency compliance with your citation, and used a case of a Marine Corps 10-year BPA where the estimate was met and exceeded in the 3rd year but faulted the agency not for exceeding the estimate (as that is allowed) but for not doing the annual reviews. BPAs against schedule contracts are not IDIQ contracts, and do not require ceilings or maximums. FAR 8.4 says nothing about a ceiling or maximum for a BPA; indeed, it expressly allows for orders exceeding the estimate. For further reading: https://buy.gsa.gov/interact/community/5/activity-feed/post/2daa4239-74c4-474f-aa3b-be1524e77bbf/Comparing_And_Contrasting_FAR_8_4_BPAs_And_IDIQs See also: https://www.gao.gov/assets/gao-09-792.pdf (and note the following extract: "BPAs are not contracts, but rather agreements between government agencies and vendors with terms and conditions, including prices, in place for future use. The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) was amended in 2004 to require agencies to follow certain procedures when establishing and ordering from schedule BPAs and to document annual reviews to determine: whether each BPA still represents the best value; whether the GSA schedule contract under which the schedule BPA was established is still in effect; and whether the agency has exceeded its initial estimated purchase amount under the BPA, indicating a potential for discounts when more orders are placed." (my emphasis) In my practice, I generally do not impose ceilings or maximums on BPAs against schedule contracts. I recommend this approach to other contracting officers. By the way, BPAs under FAR 13 also do not require ceilings or maximums -- each order has to be within the appropriate threshold, but the aggregate value of all orders need not be limited.
  25. Are you sure? It would seem FAR 8.4 requires a limitation that could be analogous to or cause an action like a ceiling. "(4) BPAs shall address the frequency of ordering, invoicing, discounts, requirements (e.g., estimated quantities, work to be performed), delivery locations, and time" And "Review of BPAs. (1) The ordering activity contracting officer shall review the BPA and determine in writing, at least once a year (e.g., at option exercise), whether- (i) The schedule contract, upon which the BPA was established, is still in effect; (ii) The BPA still represents the best value (see 8.404(d)); and (iii) Estimated quantities/amounts have been exceeded and additional price reductions can be obtained. (2) The determination shall be included in the BPA file documentation."
  26. LeighHar, remember that a subcontract is essentially a commercial transaction between the prime and sub. Therefore, state laws are implicated by a novation of a subcontract so you need to be advised by someone familiar with the applicable state law so you will wind up with an enforceable subcontract.
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