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Loul

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  1. Thanks to all for your replies. Our contract is a CPFF/LOE contract. I thank you all for your answers and realize this is a new area that may not have much history. As a side note, we are not asking the Government to be "nicer" to us, but as we have let the Government know, we may lose some employees due to the telework requirements and that may mean loss of experienced workers that the Government customer loves and relies on. We will continue our work and believe we can eventually meet the telework requirements. I read the contract as not requiring a constant percentage of telework but rather a percentage that must be met at the end of the contract year. So, I=if I exceed the number in the first several months and then work less that the limit for the rest of the year so the total number at the end of the year is at or below the maximum per contract, we are covered. We are engaging outside legal council at this time and are setting up meetings with the appropriate Government Contracting Officers. I want to thank you all for your feedback, and once I receive an answer, I will let the group know so you may have one more arrow of knowledge in your quiver.
  2. C. Culham - There was no modification issued. Instead the original waiver of the telework requirements was done by the issuance of a letter by the Chief of the Contracting Office for the facility we are supporting. Likewise, the notice of us returning to the pre-pandemic telework restrictions was done with a similar letter notifying us of the return to work policy. No mods and I don't think I can invoke a changes clause because during the pandemic there were so many restrictions placed on workers and workplaces by the federal government as well as state and local governments that trying to make any claim for additional costs or a change in contract terms is not something that i believe would be accepted and quite frankly, we do not want to pursue such a course. As to Vern, a agree that the Government cannot impose a fine, but not paying us for hours worked would be a de facto fine. We are not looking for ways work with the Government to carve out a new normal that meets conditions as they are now. Unfortunately, the pandemic has established a new sense among employees of more flexible work schedules and locations that we never even considered before. As was pointed out by Neil Roberts above, FAR 7.108 was issued saying that the Government should generally not discourage a contractor from allowing its employees to telecommute in the performance of Government contracts. So the Government is, in my humble opinion, admitting that telework is becoming the new way of working. I realize that ion some case, especially when you are on site supporting the Government, that a telework option is not viable. We are trying to get a determination from the Government how to apply this philosophy to existing contracts. As to Retreadfed's question as to if the Contracting Officer will be working remotely, i have no idea. And if they do, it will be a situation of do as I say (and you are contractually obligated to do) and not as i do. Yes, that would be ironic. I do want to thank all who have provided some insight, this includes you too Vern. It has been helpful to be in providing a response to by CEO. Now we wait and try to further engage our Contracting Officers and try to retain our employees!
  3. Vern - Thank you for your reply, I guess I misunderstood your comment. We have contacted legal representation, but I was given the task by my CEO to see if anyone has ever had a fine imposed by not meeting the telework requirements. We are trying to cover all our bases as we have received two different interpretations, one from a legal point of view and one from an accounting point of view. Both put up great arguments for their points of view and at this time, the Contracting Officers are putting off a direct meeting until they get a response from their legal counsels. We are just trying to gather information to be prepared.
  4. Neil - Thanks for your comment. This is one of the issues we are dealing with. Our contract defines an alternate worksite as "A telecommuting center is a geographically convenient office setting as an alternative to an employee’s main office." We have field personnel working at remote locations from their homes, and we do not could those hours in the "telework" category since this is their permanent location and there is no other location. Quite frankly, I would prefer the wording from the Telework Enhancement Act but our contract seem to define it a bit differently. We are trying to get some agreement from the Government on the definition, but they have turned to the legal staff and I guess they are waiting on a ruling from that part of the staff. But your information is helpful and I thank you.
  5. Neil Roberts, thank you for the response. I appreciate it. Don. I don't know f it was published in the Federal Register. It was implemented 21 years ago, Vern, for your information, we did receive notice from the Government about the March 31 deadline. We have discussed the situation with our contracting officers and we are waiting for their responses. However, as a result of the notice, we have begun top receive resignations from some of our employees. The president of my comp-any asked that I look into the issue and see what penalties may be assessed if we did not meet the requirements. It is always better to be armed with all the facts before making a decision. As to your last comment, I always thought I was a professional, but in my mind, no one knows everything, perhaps except you. A true professional knows his limitations and seeks advice and information from others in the field. I thought that is what I was doing. But perhaps I should take your advice and get off WIFCON so I don't annoy know-it-ails.
  6. ji208974 thank you for your response. I agree that my contract limits us to 10% telework and when the new agency directive to return to contractual telework requirements and cancel the previous waiver, we will obey. We have considered hiring new employees and are looking into that now. But hiring any new employee means you will lose the history and knowledge of your current employees and introduce a learning curve for new employees. We want to avoid that if possible. Technical default is, I agree, not a real term. If we break the 10% we will be in default, but the fact that we may be still delivering our contractual obligations is the iffy part. If we deliver and don't meet the telework requirements will the Contraction Officer issue us a notice of default. We do not want that to happen. But I know there are failures to meet contractual requirements that are overlooked and others that are rigidly adhered to. I am trying to gather information from others who may have more experience or knowledge in this area than I do so we can understand where we stand and how to negotiate with the Contracting Officer should it come to that. You say we accepted a contract with the restriction it the contract. I agree with you 100%. Unfortunately, the Government mandated COVD-19 lock-down gave employees a new perspective on work/life tradeoffs. We have had several employees already submit notices of resignation citing back to work rules, and we are trying to not lose our experienced workforce. I am not sure what area you work in, but it is the experience of your employees that give you a leg up on winning proposals and re-competes. We want to keep our employees. When you say 100% telework worked during the lock-down is irrelevant, I do not agree. I believe (and I could be wrong) in that telework requirements were put into place because people believed that networking employees would not putting in a full day's worth or work. The Navy DFAR Clause implementing telework requirements was put into place in 2010 and never changed. These part two years has shown that people can telework and still be productive. The "normal" has changed and companies must change with the times, and so should the Government. Bottom line is that we will abide by the terms of our contract. If the Government will not give us relief on the 10%^ telework requirement, we will abide by it and hire accordingly. We are not siding with our employees over our customer as you suggest. We have a contractual requirement and we will abide by it. However, with any commercial company , when numerous people quit because of a specific reason or policy, any prudent company will try to rectify that situation. That is what we are looking into. We are working with our KOs and CORs to increase the telework percentage and all indicators are that they will ease them. So, we are not abrogating our responsibilities and we never intended to. I am trying to find out if anyone has had any such experience in the past so we can learn from it and perhaps relay that information to our customer to help them make a decision.
  7. I have an unusual question that I hope one of you may be able to answer. My company has several contracts with the Naval System Warfare Center (NSWC) and the contracts have a clause restricting telework to 10% of the total contract hours. I have never seen this clause in any other contract I had with the DoD and assume it is a local command requirement. I can find no referent to telework in the FAR or DFAR, so that seems to strengthen the idea that is a local command requirement. Failure to meet this requirement would mean we cannot bill for the telework hours in excess of the 10% limit and the hours cannot be used to account for the required LOE hours. So, the penalty would be not being able to bill for hours worked and a loss of some profit. The restrictions were waived during the COVID-19 crisis, but now the Government is going back to the original 10% limit effective March 31, 2022. We have asked for a contract modification to allow for more telework, as we are getting push back from some of our employees about coming back to the office full time. We are waiting for responses from our Contracting Officers. We have also heard that other companies are having this same effect. My question is what happens if we do not do not meet the current, or the new, telework requirements. Is there a penalty besides not being able to bill for the hours and having the fee reduced since we will have delivered less LOE hours than in the contract? I understand that if we do not meet the telework requirements we would technically be in default of the contract, but has anyone any experience with telework requirements and how the Government has handled it in the past? The interesting part is that we have proved we can do 100% telework and still meet our contractual obligations and have actually been praised by the Government for our efforts in fulfilling our contractual duties. But now, telework seems to have gone back to being a bad thing and inefficient. We are exploring all our options at this time, but I would be grateful to the brain trust here if you could provide some of your experience and wisdom on this subject. I thank you in advance for your help. ,
  8. I have a question regarding CDRL Numbering in Block 1. I have always seen numbering A001, A002, etc. Today in reviewing a solicitation there were CDRLs numbered with an "A", "B", and "C" as the starting alpha character. The number of the preceding CDRL was not A999, so i am wondering if the leading Alpha character has any special meaning or significance. Thank for your help.
  9. Interesting topic, but if one takes PepetheFrog's post literally, every negotiation has deception, and I don't think this is bad. A negotiation is undertaken so that each side gets the best deal they can. I am not going to lay all my cards on the table at the start of negotiation, and I don't consider this deception. To me, deception is if I say I am going to use a certain grade of product and know I am going to use a lessor grade. Deception is to out and out lie like "Of course I can meet that deadline" when you know you can't. Saying things like "My boss will kill me if I go any lower" is a way of finessing the deal. Everyone knows it is part of the game and I don't think of this as a deception. Keeping my cards close to the chest is not deception, it is a business practice. Am I going to say that it costs me $10 to make the part but I am selling it for $50? Of course not (unless I am dealing under TINA). The buyer should try and get a fair and reasonable price, but it is not my job as the seller to do his homework for him/her. If I make a product that costs me $1 but I can sell it to you for $30 and you will save $100 per unit manufactured, isn't that worth it? So, I will employ a certain amount of deception in my negotiations based on the criteria mentioned above, but I do not lie or misinform the other person. There are many "tricks" we employ to try and get the advantage on our opponent during a negotiation, and this is part of the game. As long as your deception is not one of materially misrepresenting the quality of the product, the delivery date, or the workings of the product, almost all else if permitted in negotiations. As to Henry Kissinger, I remember reading that the Vietnamese negotiations thought little of the American negotiators. One commented that when they came to Paris for negotiations, the Americans rented hotel rooms by the week. The Vietnamese rented a villa by the year. They were ready to outwait the Americans and win knowing Americans do not like long negotiations and will eventually give in to make the deal at any cost (sort of like Obama and the Iranians). In the end, I think the Vietnamese got the best of us (my opinion).
  10. There are some Primes who play by their own set of rules. A few years ago, I issued a quote to a large Government contractor for a radar altimeter as a commercial item. As justification for commerciality and price, I sent him my price list, catalog and a contract I has with the U.S. Government which stated in the contract that the Government considered the item to be commercial. I then offered the same price as in my Government contract. The Large Contractor said they couldn't accept all this justification and considered the item to be non-commercial. I told them I would accept their justification and submitted a new price based on a production run of the number of units they wanted and included set-up costs in the price. Obviously the price was now higher and the large Prime backed down and said they would accept my commerciality justification. I told them it was too late and this was now my price. They ended up buying the altimeters at the higher price because they were intent on following their internal definition of commerciality (which I felt we met) rather than the FAR/DFAR definition. Sometimes it doesn't matter what you present or how right you are, some Primes have their own set of rules and feel they are big enough to push you around. Decide how important this customer is t you and treat them accordingly.
  11. Florida Institute of Technology has a Master's in Contract and Acquisition Management. I got my Masters Degree there. They have several locations in the Maryland and Virginia area. One may be convenient. http://www.fit.edu/programs/8399/ms-acquisition-and-contract-management#.VG-bzcnOthI
  12. While I have not seen your contract, and thus don't know the full details, it sounds like your contract is incrementally funded. That is, the Government has not yet provided all the funds to make up the total value of the ordered goods or services. This is quite common and you have to notify the Government when you reach 75% of available funding and request additional funds.
  13. Marty - I see you are a proposal writing intern. Perhaps you can leverage that knowledge. Look for a company you want to work for and try to get a job as a proposal writer. This gets your foot in the door. Many companies offer training for their employees, so maybe you can use this to get the contracts training. AND, as a proposal writer you will most likely come into close contact with the contract folks of the company. Make friends, learn what you can from them and mention that you would like to get into contracts. You may be surprised by the results.
  14. Marty - I have worked in the Government Contracting arena for 30 years, always on the Contractor's side. As to entering into contracting in the in the contractor's side, there are always companies looking for entry level contracts people. From my point of view, this would be a person with a degree, some knowledge of business law (but not a lawyer) and an analytical head on his shoulders. That person wold be trained to advance. As to qualifications, I do not know your financial situation, but it may help to take a few contracts courses from some of the commercial training outfits. You could take in into to FAR course or a contracting basics course. All this may help. I can only give you advice at this point as my company is not hiring contracts professionals at this time.
  15. Just to throw in another opinion, I work in industry and have been told by several Contracting officers that under a cost reimbursable contract, you can add in travel costs into your initial quote and calculate your fixed fee on the total dollar amount of labor, travel and ODCs. However, where travel is not included in the base cost/fee calculation and it is not possible to accurately predict travel so that it is "funded" under a separate CLIN or even separately on a case by case basis, allowing fee or profit on this type of travel travel would be a Cost Plus Percentage of Cost CLIN and thus against the FAR. Of course if it is a Firm Fixed Price contract or Task Order, then this would not apply.
  16. From my experience, yes. My current GSA schedule pricing is based on a large Federal contract we have.
  17. Relative to training, my experience in working with the Government is that if the training is for a contract specific type of training, the Government will allow it, upon request to the Contracting Offier. If it is training for a generic program used in multiple contracts, it is on the contractor to pay the cost as it is part of keeping the workforce current. As an example, an Agency is the only agency running software X. Training for use of this software cannot be charged to another contract or even overhead since it benefits one cost objective. In these cases I have found the Government willing to pay for the training. Hpowever, if we are talking about an application that runs on, say, Oracle, the Government generally takes the position that it is an overhead function since it does (or can) benefits multiple cost objectives.
  18. Bob - I too want to add my thanks for the efforts you have expended. I find the WiFCON forum to be very informative and helpful. It has answered some of my questions even before I knew I had the questions! Your efforts in establishing and keeping the site up and running are appreciated by many people, and I offer my heartfelt thanks..
  19. I am a Contractor and recently experienced this same question on a contract with a Government Agency (I won't name names). The Government exercsed our option 7 days after the base contract expired and then exercisded the 2nd option period on time. Their legal staff said that since the first option was exercised late, the 2nd option should not have been awarded and the contract should be considered to be dead. They cited FAR 17.207 (a) and (f). FAR 17.207(a) states When exercising an option, the contracting officer shall provide written notice to the contractor within the time period specified in the contract. and 17.207 (f) states Before exercising an option, the contracting officer shall make a written determination for the contract file that exercise is in accordance with the terms of the option, the requirements of this section, and Part 6. Since we were not notified withion the time limit specified in the contract and in accordance with the terms of the options clause, we were basically out of luck and the contract was not renewed and new task orders were not allowed to be issued!
  20. Including indirect costs in your subcontracting plan is very complicated and requires a system to accumulate the appropriate costs. What did you pay and which of your indirect vendors are large, small, which woman owned, etc. I have found that it is easiest to simply check the box that indirect costs have not been included. If you already submitted your subcontracting plan, I would recommend simply telling the Contracting Officer that you made a mistake and change it to not included.
  21. Bob - Happy Birthday! And thank you for the wonderful work you do on and for WiFCON!
  22. The "right" to terminate for convenience is one granted to the Government as its right. It is NOT something that is required to be in a subcontract agreement and is not a required flowdown. Most prime contractors include the clause saying that they need this right in case the Prime Contract is Terminated. I never accept the clause and ususll add that the Tfor C can only be exercised if the Prime Contract is likewise terminated for convenience and then only to the extent my work is affected. In 95 out of 100 cases, the prime accepts this change. I sometimes hae to push back a couple of times, but most primes realize this is not a fair clause. If the prime will not budge, I ask for the same right to terminate my obligations without cause with notice. Having said this, I always put a TforC clause in my subcontracts, but I am willing to modify it if the sub requests. Remember that not all rights due to the Government are due to the Prime.
  23. That you both for your response. The comment was made by a Contracting Officer, I do not know who specifically as it was made to a member of an organization of which I am a member. The comment we received was simply that the legistation authorizing the FAA AMS relieved us of the requirement to follow the Brooks Act. We felt that this was not the case, and after reviewing the appropriate legistation, felt the FAA was wrong. We do intend to go back and ask for the reference, but before we did, we just wanted to make sure we had not missed something that would have made us look foolish or misinformed. Again, I thank you both for your answers and useful information.
  24. When the FAA went from the FAR to their new AMS regulations, the 1996 DOT Appropriations Act exempted the FAA from some Federal Laws and Regulations, amoung them the Brooks Automatic Data Processing Act. However, now the FAA is saying that they are also exempt from the Brooks Act for Architecture and Engineering contracts. However, I am unable to find any Act, regulation or other documentation exempting them from following the Brooks Act and Qualifications-Based Selection (QBS) when solicitating Architecture & Engineering services. I did find a requirement that the FAA is required to follow the Brooks Act for A&E contracts funded by grants and Airport Improivement Funds, but nothing for direct FAA contracts funded with appropriated dollars. Does anyone in the group know of where the FAA waiver from having to use the Brooks Act for A&E contracting lies? I appreciate the help. Thank you
  25. One way to determine if the rate is fair and reasonabile is to comare it to your own company's salary structure. Lets say that you would hire the same type of person for $52,000 per year. That equals $25 per hour. If his rate is at $25/hour or less, there is justification that hs rate is fair and reasonable. If his rate is higher, why? If it is 30% higher, that can account for vacation time, a bit for health insurance, use of his house as office space, etc. The main idea is to compare his rate with a known rate. If you have a CPFF contract, the direct salaries that you pay your people have been considered to be fair and reasonable. Try to leverage off this.
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