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joel hoffman

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Everything posted by joel hoffman

  1. Advice for New Professionals

    How about - Learn first how to excel at what you do and promotion opportunities will follow. Always remember who is paying your salary - the American Taxpayer. Learn to negotiate terms of agreements, cost or price, bargaining for better performance, find win-win solutions, be firm but fair, seek mutually satisfactory solutions... A Korean co-worker once told me "You Americans are so naive. You simply accept the price as offered. We Koreans bargain for everything. Everything is negotiable. Even the price of a loaf of bread."😃
  2. Advice for New Professionals

    baierle, well said! Thank you for your advice to a new professional! It just occurred to me that this is essentially what my GS-15 Area Engineer told me on the very first morning of my employment as an Army Corps of Engineers civil servant, to perform construction contract administration and quality assurance duties on a $2 billion, major civil works program. That was in April or May of 1980. I can still remember that one-on-one introduction, welcome and communication of expectations meeting in his office. I have always admired him greatly as a leader, supervisor, and a man who displayed the highest character and integrity. He established ethical and professional standards that I have always aspired to follow.
  3. Advice for New Professionals

    I meant - for cost reimbursement - don't pay for billed costs that were not incurred. For T&M, If billed for an hours or materials on the basis that they were provided and they weren't provided, don't pay for it. Yes, that is to distinguish from actually receiving an end product or completing the service under T&M or cost reimbursement.
  4. Advice for New Professionals

    Although the question wasn't addressed to me, I would apply that advice to cost reimbursement or T&M contracts. Don't pay for a product or service if the contractor didn't expend the cost or labor hours billed for, as applicable to the situation.
  5. Advice for New Professionals

    In searching the archive, I found this thread concerning advice for new contracting officers. http://www.wifcon.com/discussion/index.php?/topic/970-newly-appointed-contracting-officer-tips-of-the-trade In addition, make WIFCON.com your home page. Keep up with the daily updates and try to set aside some daily time for study - at work or at home if necessary. Scour the site contents page and dedicate time to study. There is an amazing wealth of information in this site. There are numerous threads throughout the WIFCON Forum that cover career advice in this field. I didn't have time to make a deep search tonight. I'm sure that the 1102's here can provide further career advice.
  6. GSA CTAs

    A MAS order with a CTA arrangement provides for privity of contract between each schedule contractor in the CTA and the government. See: https://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/200553 Unless there is more to it, the proposed arrangement would not be a "CTA" under the GSA description on the referenced webpage. You asked "What are items of value?" I'd say that they would be products and/or services that a scheduler holder in the CTA provides under their MAS contract.
  7. FFP SCA Change in contract hours

    Assuming that contract clause 52.243-1, with Alt 1, is in your contract, if the change in hours of operation causes an increase in your costs, then you would be due an equitable adjustment under the Changes clause. You will have to show that your costs have increased due to the change. The SCA rates are not maximums, if you have to pay a premium to the workforce. If there are other cost impacts, those should be considered, too.
  8. EEO-1

    Yes, great. And if your company has included the requisite EEO clauses in your subcontracts, then the sub(s) are also directly on notice of their filing responsibilties under the law. It doesn't hurt to remind them but no mod is necessary.
  9. EEO-1

    I'm guessing here that there are EEO clauses in the prime contract (e.g., 52.222-26) and that those clauses not only refer to the filing requirements, they also require the prime contractor to take AFFIRMITIVE actions to assure equal opportunity and to flow down the requirements to applicable subcontracts. I say that I am guessing, because your initial post was too obscure to understand your perceived concern or perceived lack of responsibility for EEO compliance by subs that are subject to the EEO reporting requirements. Note that subcontract labor size thresholds are are lower than those where the sub is a prime. EDIT: In reviewing your previous posts in the WIFCON forum, it appears that you are a sub. From the scant OP description, I don't see any need for the government to modify its contract with the prime. As for the actual filing requirements for certain subcontractors on federal contracts, it's required by Federal Law, as referenced in my first response.
  10. EEO-1

    To Whom are the subs required to file their reports? https://www.eeoc.gov/employers/eeo1survey/legalbasis.cfm
  11. P.S., an 8(a) sole source , negotiated acquisition is not an "8(a) Set-Aside". Set-asides are competitive acquisitions. That was made pretty clear in a discussion thread a couple of years ago. I discovered the difference through that discussion, myself.
  12. Mr. B, are you with a civilian agency? I'm not familiar with civilian agency supplements for preparing profit objectives for negotiations, if they exist. DoD has a supplement and PGI with its own alternate structured weighted guidelines method. Some DoD agencies, like the US Army Corps of Engineers, have their own alt. structured weighted guidelines approach for construction and A/E contracting. Some small firms, especially developing firms, may have a very high G&A rate (such as 14.95%). I agree 14,95% may appear to be "high". If the firm's cost of sales or other overhead allocation base is relatively small, then the rate will likely be higher than that of a large firm. However, we don't know what the "14.95% OH" rate represents here because you didn't provide any details. I generally analyze the rate and also ask whether DCAA or some other entity has reviewed or audited the rate details and if they are current, old, etc. In fact, I used to generally put little faith in the accuracy of DCAA G&A audits of construction companies, unless the auditor is familiar with some of the quirks of construction contracting. I'm definitely not an expert in accounting. However, a review of indirect cost pool categories can sometime reveal unallowable costs, such as certain advertising, contributions, direct equipment costs and related support costs, etc. that may not be allowable for government construction contracts. And - if the "OH" is a combination of field office indirect costs and home office, G&A OH, then I might want it to be segregated. The Bechtels of the world tend to classify all "project costs" as "direct costs" to the Division and Home Offices, Some costs, like "field overhead costs" might not actually all be directly variable with changes in the amount or direct cost of work done on the site, whether large or small contractor. So, I don't want to agree to a combined OH rate to be used as a forward pricing rate for mods, etc.
  13. You have asked a lot of questions, which are difficult to answer in detail in a Forum, especially without seeing the proposal. I can give (relatively) short answers, which you might or might not use to develop your negotiation objectives. The contractor might or might not agree with your opening point(s) during negotiations. Question number one. It can be negotiated. But your negotiating position should be based upon an analysis of the "overhead rate". What does it represent? Is it general and administrative (G and A) home office overhead? Does it include project or field office overhead? Do you know how to review a G and A pool to analyze all the cost elements? How has the OH rate been calculated and what is the base used? Does it include costs for owned construction equipment and supporting Maintenance, repairs, mechanics, shops, etc. (which are to be removed from the OH pool, treated as direct costs, and added to the direct cost base). That is especially important if most of the work will be subcontracted rather than self performed or if equipment being used is rented rather than owned. Check every cost element in the pool for allowability and allocability, reasonableness, etc. Question number two. The subcontract amount is a direct cost to the prime, including the sub's profit allowance in its proposal. Profit is generally allowed on direct costs. For instance, material prices include the manufacturer's, distributor's and seller's costs, correct? Rented equipment includes profit on the rental company's cost, right? The prime contractor is required to manage and integrate the subs' work and schedule. The prime is at risk to the government for a sub's failure to complete the work in accordance with the contract requirements (quality, time, etc.), rework, impact to other subs, to the schedule, impacts due to re-work disruptions, sub labor problems, sub payment of labor and materials , late material delivery, material shortages, wrong materials, safety problems, integration of trades, warranty work, etc. The prime is entitled to a reasonable fee on overall cost of subcontracted work as they are for the overall costs for materials, rentals, supplies, etc., which also include allowances for profit. The USACE uses a structured, weighted guideline method to determine the pre-negotiation object for profit, in which the amount of subcontracting is one weighted factor. The higher the percentage of subcontracting the lower the factor rate. For the overall contract, we would apply one overall profit rate. For mods, when all direct costs are subbed, the rate would be lower than if it were to be self-performed. You said that the subcontract prices are lump sum. Unless the sub price is based upon competition, we would generally require a cost based breakdown of the subcontract price, too. It really depends upon factors such as the type of work, the share of the overall direct cost and amount of the proposed subcontract, etc. We might negotiate the reasonableness of the proposed subcontract costs and markups, too. Question number three. If the prime is performing at least the amount of self-performed work required by the Limitation of Subcontracting clause and is actively managing and supervising the project, how can it be "excessive pass through" cost? Small construction prime contractors on general building projects typically sub a major share of the work but are required to self-perform at least in accordance with the LOS. That's my opinion.
  14. No Meaningful Discriminators

    CDBurner, Not knowing the specifics, I was trying not to be definitive in my response. However, here is the FAR policy on making a trade-off decision to award to other than the lowest priced offeror (emphasis added).. Even a couple of dollars difference still makes one of them the lowest priced offeror. The title of the Thread is "No Meaningful Discriminators"
  15. Kickstarter and the GCPC

    So - paying 8-10% in fees to Kickstarter (5% from proceeds to the intended recipient and 3-5% on the GPC at the time of purchase) is a good idea then?
  16. No Meaningful Discriminators

    If you cant identify any advantages that higher priced proposal offers to the government over the lower priced, conforming proposal to justify paying a higher price, the lower priced proposal will likely represent the best value. Is there a basis of award described in the solicitation? Of course, the KO (or selection authority if different than the KO) has the final say and would also perform a responsibility determination before awarding a contract. Why not discuss this with the KO rather than on this Forum? The readers here don't have the RFP or source selection plan?
  17. www.farsite.hill.af.mil

    The latter could be a reminder to the administrator of the effect they have. There might als be a good reason why they changed the link. Since Don knows about it, he may be able to advise how to keep up with the site's administrators. And an admin mod could be issued. I don't know how much effort it takes in today's computerized, paperless contracting systems to issue and process one by all parties involved in administering and performing contracts vs notifying and filing the notice in the file till the next mod.
  18. Kickstarter and the GCPC

    Therefore augmenting appropriated funds to develop a product? Or sharing the development costs? Who owns the rights? Etc. Many possible questions could be asked. .
  19. LPTA Question

    Vern's excellent description above led me to realize that the phrase "to some degree" seems to be contradictory to "definite". How would something "become definite to some degree"? 😜 No offense, Des... At any rate, thanks for the lesson, Vern. And thanks for the question, Des. 🤓 Edit: Des, the fact that it took me more than a half hour to write the above post is a reflection of my most excellent ranking in about the 47 th percentile, Nationally, in "Writing and Language"* on my SAT exam. That was 51 or 52 years ago. My parents made me re-take it, whereupon my score in that part went down...👨‍🎓 I did score in the 90+% percentile on Math and Reading*. 🤠 * Or whatever the sections and categories were back then.
  20. CPIF- Fee Payment

    The KO can certainly inform the supplier what to invoice, after determining to increase the billing level per (c)(1). What do your agency procedures say about making payments that exceed the amounts invoiced? Seems that you will have to communicate with the firm anyway to adjust the next billing. I assume that you are withholding some of the fee per (c)(2) to protect the government's interests.
  21. Background

    Jakemx56, what alternative methods would you use? It appears here that those who would try to implement change are seeking bottom up solutions and recommendations. We at the bottom end can't change the statutes or regulatory rules.
  22. LPTA Question

    Desperado, I was referring to design-build construction contracts. The ideal and industry model would be to use performance oriented or performance criteria to the maximum extent possible. During the proposal stage, the government would ask for design approach information that it would like to see to substantiate the design-builder's approach to meeting the design criteria and especially design and construction approaches that would discriminate between proposers. I mentioned that the proposal becomes part of the contract and how we use an order of precedence clause to hopefully avoid the problems or challenges that Vern and Don were concerned about. If the proposed features don't meet the performance requirements, the contractor must still meet the minimum solicitation performance requirements. Our model approach is generally consistent with the Design-Build Institute of America industry model and philosophy.
  23. Kickstarter and the GCPC

    According to WIKIPEDIA article (emphasis added): My assumptions: The government is funding the development of a product with appropriated funds, with no contract and with supplemental funding by other donors. It is effectively a voluntary donation that is being or may be supplemented by other funding sources. Kickstarter is effectively charging the government twice - taking a 5% portion of the donation and charging a 3-5% fee on the Purchase Card. There are no supplies or services being purchased.
  24. Kickstarter and the GCPC

    What goods or services are being purchased for the Government? Kickstarter is apparently a fundraising mechanism.