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joel hoffman

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About joel hoffman

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    Following God, Family, Sailing, Motorcycling, Hunting, Volleyball; Acquisition, Source Selections, Contract Administration, Construction, Design-Build Construction, mods, claims, TFD, TFC, project controls,

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  1. Sorry, Ohio. I missed your response to my question. So, it appears that this is an undefinitized change and that the government recognizes it as an in-scope “change” to the contracted work. I think that, under the contract terms, the Government needs to definitize the change through bilateral agreement, if that is possible. The boards and courts have recognized merit in claims for delays to completion for work which extended the contractors time on site, even if it is within the completion. However, the cases that I have read are under construction contract changes clause or other clauses providing similar relief. Those clauses specifically provide for equitable adjustments or adjustments for increase or decrease to the contractor’s cost or time due to the change. The changes clause also covers other impacts on the unchanged work. I don’t know how a board would rule on a commercial services contract claim, that doesn’t contain the standard clauses for this type of work. Bottom line is what to do if the KO won’t agree that you were impacted and you can prove the “but for...we would have been done earlier...and this is specifically how I can show the cost impacts for additional labor and... “? I think that you’d need some legal assistance. Such assistance isn’t an allowable cost in preparation or prosecution of a claim. Cost of Legal advice in the form of case law research to confirm that impact of the change on labor costs and the progress is compensable might be allowable for a pre-dispute effort to facilitate contract administration. It might not be in dispute yet.
  2. Hello, Are you still interested in a response to your question? We didn’t understand the scenario or what you are asking about.
  3. If it is challenging to find the latest version of clauses, how about trying to find the actual version of each clause in your contract (whether govt or contractor) when they are only “incorporat[ed] by reference” (IBR). The FAR prescription encouraging IBR should be rewritten for electronic contracting. No wonder many government contract administrators and contractor personnel don’t know what terms and conditions or many other contract requirements are applicable. IBR is archaic and should be abolished for acquisitions using electronic (non-paper) contracting. It could be very simple in concept to include the texts of the applicable editions of all clauses in a separate electronic file, but furnished as part of the contract file, if you don’t want to overwhelm someone trying to read the basics of a contract or solicitation.
  4. It’s also interesting how Federal (Coast Guard annual Vessel Documentation, for example) State (professional licensing renewals, for example) and local government (license tags, property taxes, for example) charge an additional fee when citizens pay a bill with a credit card. EDIT: (added below) I accept that as a reasonable fee to cover additional cost to the government. What isn’t reasonable would be the government entity REQUIRING a merchant/Vendor to accept a VISA or whatever form of credit card for their services and then prohibiting them from recovering the cost. To me, that is extortion. It should be obvious that sellers of materials and products will normally include the cost of such transactions in the prices charged, unless market conditions induce or dictate a need for a lower profit margin. It may depend upon the forecasted percentage of credit card sales - but in today’s economy, that is pretty high. Where it is legal, a company could also offer discounts for cash. But where there is NO profit being charged, there is essentially nothing to lower, e.g., travel cost reimbursement, labor at cost, etc. Then to suggest that auditors could, should or will audit small entities, small transactions, etc., looking for credit card fees - when audit resources aren’t even available for large contract actions. And when they do audit large actions, they generally only sample those costs; that’s the height of RIDICULOUSNESS. If the government has such audit resources for other than large actions, they should be focusing on fraud, corruption and incompetence, like that frequently being reported on the WIFCON Home Page.
  5. Carl, you are right. I’m sorry. I wasn’t referring to the party who hired me. I’m referring to someone who would audit a few thousand dollar contract where there was no detailed cost data needed, asked for or provided. As a government employee, I couldn’t even get audits for multimillion dollar contractor proposals. But somebody is going to audit five days of labor and airline tickets and four nights of hotel receipts and a few meals to see if I added my cost of their mandatory VISA payment? Let them eat cake! The labor rate that I charged was less than half of the effective labor rate that I had cost them for teaching the previous 20 plus years as a full time govt employee. There was no need to explain or justify the labor rate and they didn’t ask. Travel was lump sum based upon estimated cost - no “profit” markup. I followed Vern Edwards’ advice and submitted travel as lump sum. The government got a great financial deal. I didn’t even invoice them the full estimated amounts for labor or travel afterward. Then let’s add insult to injury because the Bank charged me several hundred dollars for a two year minimum commitment after I cancelled the arrangement. I never received a VISA payment after that single assignment for them. I came back as an RA and taught for them for six more years. I was their least expensive instructor even though I was higher ranked GS than most of the other instructors.
  6. Huh? How does a contractor “receive” a “new” Contracting Officer’s Representative? Who is assigning WHOSE “acting supervisor”? Who is the “known conflict” between? What do you mean by “known conflict?” The entire scenario is gibberish to me.
  7. Im not at home but Nash and Cibinic covered the evolution of pricing government changes, constructive changes, impacts on uncharged work and the changes clause language very well in two books “Government Contract Changes” and “Administration of Government Contracts”. I don’t remember whether the caselaw developed before or after the clauses were modified to specifically address constructive changes and impact on the unchanged work. What was first - the Chicken or the egg? The construction contract changes clause does now address those issues. The Commercial Items clause doesn’t.
  8. I forgot to edit my earlier post. Thanks. However, I understand that prior to 2013, merchants couldn’t legally charge extra for a customer paying with a credit card in commerce. Wasn’t aware of any “illegality” in establishing a labor rate that covered my costs. I don’t really give a Sheet because I wasn’t going to take a 5% pay cut AND/OR suck up 5% of my travel costs to do business with the agency that insisted that they needed my continued help and would only pay with a credit card. I didn’t otherwise need a VISA account . My other clients - Government contractors - paid me by check. Let them audit to their hearts content. It was 12 years ago. There wasn’t anything to audit anyway. I proposed a labor rate, number of hours and a lump sum travel cost estimate. I didn’t even charge the full estimated amount. Part 31 wasn’t applicable. There was no breakdown of costs provided or requested. Let them eat cake.
  9. Did you agree with the “approved amount”? Or was that amount an interim amount to allow you to proceed, subject to subsequent settlement and agreement?
  10. Carl and jtolli, my situation did not include any VISA transaction fees. Regions Bank told me that I could expect that having a VISA merchant account would cost me about 5% of monthly receipts based upon the anticipated small volume. That was simply an overhead cost. I figured it into my proposed labor rate and in my estimated travel costs. The Corps didn’t require itemized receipts for payment, which may or may not have been correct. They were going to pay lump sum for travel. My labor rate also included my self employment FICA tax (employers share of FICA). Since I had not anticipated working full time right after retirement, I didn’t initially factor in vacation/holiday or sick time in my labor rate, either. I invoiced for actual labor hours, which was never more than proposed. Invoiced for my travel cost, which was slightly less than the amount which I had proposed/estimated. Believe me, it was cheaper for them to hire me as a contractor than to use a full-time Govt employee. The effective GE hourly rate included about 130% departmental and general overhead multiplier and vacation/sick leave/holiday pay/medical/etc. on a govt employee’s hourly direct salary/FICA rate. My labor “markup” was only about 13% to cover my additional FICA and Bank charges. But I hadn’t anticipated the two year minimum commitment period for the bank issued VISA account. Hiring a rehired annuitant is also a bargain for any government agency. Last time I checked, the USACE RA program only charges about 20% markup for overhead on the direct/FICA hourly government employee labor rate. There are no “bennies” . Pay is for number of hours worked - no vacation/sick/holiday pay etc. pay during is limited to no more than eight hours one way, regardless of delays or multiple day (e.g., overseas) itinerary. Unless while on an assignment, all the mandatory employee “training” for safety, security, IT, anti-terrorism, EEO for “this and that”, etc. is unpaid time.
  11. Oh - then there was the City/County Business license... The City charged quarterly based upon estimated receipts, which has to be reconciled quarter with actuals. I was only a consultant for that one quarter, so had to convince the City revenue office that I was no longer in business. Fortunately my neighbor lady worked there and got me through the red tape. But ever since 2007, I’ve been getting Chamber of Commerce bulletins, ads for just about everything, catalogs for office furniture and various products and am often pestered by companies wanting info from me!! I’m doing my part to keep the Postal Service in business!
  12. Froggy, don’t I know it! I was a naive tadpole as a contractor immediately after retiring. The USACE needed me to teach two Design-Build classes and for a small critical, task. They could not hire me back as a rehired annuitant immediately because the govt paid me for several hundred hours of Accumulated annual leave upon retirement. They told me that Id have to open a VISA account to accept payment on the GPC. I called my bank and they talked me into a VISA account. The Bank rep told me that, for small payments, I should figure it costing about 5% for a small business to have VISA account. So I added 5% to my hourly labor rate and travel costs, which seemed to work out fine. It amounted to a couple of hundred dollars of VISA fees over a period of four months of part time work. Then the Corps hired me back essentially full-time as a rehired annuitant. What the Bank didn’t tell me was that I had to maintain and utilize the VISA account for at least two years with a monthly minimum, which amounted to something like $350 per year. i ended up paying something like $500 or six hundred dollars in extra VISA fees for NOT using that damned account!! I don’t know much if anything about PAYPAL or other alternatives but there has to be some way for a small time govt contractor to do occasional contract work for the govt. without incurring large VISA fees.
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