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joel hoffman

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Everything posted by joel hoffman

  1. I don’t think Christine made it clear if the firm fixed price for the task order is going to be based upon unit prices and estimated quantities, which can be variable. Or are the proposers just requested to identify how each total extended “Exhibit line item” fixed price is determined? If there is no common basis for the scope of work to compare variable quantities and unit prices, as Vern and Lionel mentioned, it would be a recipe for problems.
  2. If each offeror proposes an estimated amount of each unit priced item, it may open up the possibility of low ball estimating or other problems with estimating unit priced quantities. Also can encourage unbalanced unit pricing.
  3. Thanks, creyes. I pretty much agree with ji. I’m assuming that you are either specifying methods or are allowing each proposer to propose a solution to achieve some specified end condition for each “Exhibit Line item”. Is that correct? You said there are multiple, FFP, “Exhibit line items”. You said that the offerors are “asked to propose unit prices and total extended prices”. Don’t understand why quantities or estimated quantities wouldn’t be either provided or required with “unit priced” services or work?? Edit: I just saw where you initially said that you are “in hope” that offerors will “think about” the quantities they are providing . How does that translate to the proposals?
  4. What is the ID/IQ for? Please explain your intended approach. Are the proposers supposed to define and decide what services they want to propose on and for one or more periods ? Do they decide what the periods are? Thanks for the clarification.
  5. Correct. That’s what Assad said and H2H agreed with me when I asked isn’t that what Assad was saying.
  6. Admiral Hyman G. Rickover, father of the Nuclear Navy. https://www.gao.gov/assets/094464.pdf
  7. Isn’t Assad saying “Proposal preparation and negotiation support costs…or [not] required by a contract are by definition to be indirectly charged to contracts through the Bid and Proposal (B&P) indirect cost pool.
  8. The nuns taught us, in no uncertain terms, that you get more Grace at Mass, the closer to the front you sit…
  9. Are you referring to a competition for the base multiple award task order contract (MATOC) ? I haven’t seen one where there are multiple seed tasks for the base MATOC award and where a proposer can select which one or ones to compete for. Or are you referring to the myriad of possible task orders after being awarded a MATOC contract? I’ve seen Single Award Task Order contracts (SATOCs) or MATOCs where the subsequent task orders will have various task order bases of award. Please clarify if you are asking about the basic ID/IQ competition or for subsequent task orders. I am also curious whether this is a supply and/or services scenario. Thanks.
  10. Actually, the topic is entitled “Time Period for Q&A under DoD Commercial Acquisition” When construction was referenced, I wanted to make sure that there wasn’t any confusion about whether or not DoD construction may use commercial acquisition procedures. The question specifically addressed a situation where the commercial solicitation didn’t state a time frame for submitting questions. The question didn’t specify whether it was for products or services, which doesn’t matter. The GAO Decision that Vern cited (Pathfinder Consultants, LLC, GAO B-419509, March 15, 2021) was for a VA solicitation for “communications strategies and support services under the commercial item acquisition procedures set forth in Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) parts 12 and 15.” Actually, the solicitation did state a date by which questions must be asked: ”Pre-proposal questions regarding the solicitation’s terms were to be submitted to both the contract specialist and the contracting officer by December 23, 2020. AR, Tab 4B, Combined Synopsis/Solicitation at 3. The RFP specified that the ‘Government shall coordinate a response.’ ” The proposer submitted its initial list of 49 questions one day prior to the stated date. The Government provided its response on December 29. On January 5, 2021, Pathfinder submitted three additional questions. Protest at 3. On January 6, the agency provided answers in a second amendment. Id. On January 7, Pathfinder filed this protest with our Office. The solicitation closed on January 8.” The Decision didn’t discuss the lateness of the three additional questions, because that wasn’t an issue; the government provided answers the next day. Although the decision did address whether a protest would be upheld or not for answers or no answers, I’m not sure that the initial questions were specifically addressed. The FAR references do provide for identifying contact points so that small business prospective offerors can ask questions. My advice would be, if the government doesn’t establish a cutoff date for submitting questions, then it should answer questions submitted prior to the closing date for proposal submission, if it is apparent that “the solicitation is otherwise inadequate, unclear, or ambiguous” and that “the solicitation lack[s] sufficient clarity to permit competition on an intelligent and equal basis.” If doing so will require reasonable additional time for preparing and submitting proposals, the government should extend the solicitation closing date.
  11. I hope that you aren’t using commercial acquisition methods for DoD (or for non-DoD for that matter) construction contracting.
  12. No, although, as Commandant of Cadets, he gave numerous presentations and speeches. He was in charge of the military training and military life aspects of the Academy, including all subordinate officers and enlisted other than those in Athletics Department and the academy Faculty. I remember the first day that we were introduced to him. The Wing was at lunch in Mitchell Hall (He knew Billy Mitchell as a kid, even attending the infamous Court Martial). At any rate, the command level dining area was way up above and overlooking the main level cadet dining area. There was a railing all along that level, where many important and famous people would give speeches. He stood at the railing after being introduced and we were all at attention, of course. He put both hands on the railing and stared at us. And then - not visible to the other dignitaries behind him (the Supt. and Dean, etc.) , he extended both middle fingers from his fists over the railing while he addressed us! I can’t remember what term he used (troops?) to greet us with but we all loved it. Here is a story he later told about that day in his memoirs. “…when Olds was promoted to brigadier general and named commandant of cadets at the Air Force Academy in 1968, his new cadets gave him an appropriate welcome”. "I chuckled as we entered Mitchell Hall between rows of cadets at attention wearing fake mustaches," Olds wrote of his first day at the academy in his posthumously-published memoir, "Fighter Pilot." "I stared fiercely into the eyes of several cadets. These guys were already my kids." Olds then profanely challenged the cadets to beat Army in the next day’s homecoming game, he wrote, “and I gave the whole group a quick one-finger salute. That brought down the house. ... Over the years, people asked me why I did it. Hell, it just seemed like the right thing to do at the time. I was a fighter pilot; they’d better get used to it.” We beat Army the next day. His farewell gesture in 1970 was a similar appropriate one finger salute… we missed him. I can remember some other epic stories that I won’t dwell on here. But he had no time for phonies, boot lickers and the timid. He fought the status quo and prevailing strategy and out dated fighter tactics of the day. The man was and is a legend! He was an All American football player his second season at West Point, graduating the next Spring. He was an Ace by age 22. He had more than one multiple kill air missions. He also had more kills than are officially accounted. In fact, during his second Vietnam War command tour based in Thailand in 1967, he learned that he was going to be recalled home by the Secretary of the Air Force if he had another kill. He didn’t stop flying missions but didn’t report any more kills (wink wink). He was married to a movie star, Ella Raines. He was buddies with Chappie James, Tooey Spatz and other Air Force Pioneers. I had great respect for him.
  13. Gen. Robin Olds was our Commandant of Cadets at USAFA for the first three (1967-1970) of my four years there. He was tough as nails but was a great leader. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robin_Olds
  14. Ok, pricing information, consistent with current DAR and DFARS emphasis - which is what the DoD-IG is complaining about.
  15. Ok , the report said that the KO’s used price analysis for most of the parts buys and the “DLA Contracting officers requested uncertified cost data for 26 of the 107 spare parts on 27 of the 153 contracts in the audit.” “However, TransDigm operating unit officials provided the requested uncertified cost data for only 2 spare parts on 2 contracts and did not provide uncertified cost data for the remaining 24 parts on 25 contracts.” “Therefore contracting officers were unable to use cost analysis to determine fair and reasonable prices for sole-source spare parts that were bought in small quantities at low dollar values and instead used other price analysis methods required by the FAR and DFARS, including historical price comparisons. In addition, 10 U.S.C. § 2306a, Federal, and DoD policies do not require contracting officers to use cost analysis when the DoD is making fair and reasonable price determinations for sole-source spare part contracts below the TINA threshold. However, we were able to obtain uncertified cost data from TransDigm for 152 out of the 153 contracts in our sample.” Maybe DLA needs to call in the DoD-IG for assistance in obtaining information on a routine basis. The IG was more successful in their pricing efforts (just kidding here 🤠).
  16. Don, did I miss where the DoD-IG mentioned that TransDigm provided information other than cost or pricing in response to requests? Shoot, maybe the KO’s didn’t routinely ask for information?
  17. “H2H”, I don’t necessarily disagree with you. As for the situation here, I’m mainly trying to mention what the DoD-IG raised in their report and apparently after auditing certain contract acquisitions.
  18. I agree about the apparent general incompetence here. I also wonder why the government waited until after the third year to de-obligate the remaining balances of the task order line item funding for the first two years? And why didnt the contractor invoice for or demand the balances on the two earlier years if they believed that those lot prices were for what it was due until after the government de-obligated all three year excess funding?
  19. Not sure what you mean. “Within context” here, the sole source contractor only furnished data in response to government requests in 2 instances. One can’t “work through anything together” (negotiate or ask questions) with a contractor if it won’t provide any information. That’s one of the points of the IG report or IG audits of the transactions. And as I mentioned earlier, “Even when relying on price analysis, one should consider the context of similarities and differences between the earlier and current purchases”, which often benefits from communications between a buyer and seller. The seller can discuss all the points raised in this thread and in the critiques about why a part is expensive. .
  20. It was definitely a screwed up contract. The services intended and provided don’t meet the current FAR Part 2 definition of “commercial services”. The government didn’t contest that. The cases mention that the government’s intent was to contract with a firm to provide “up to 14 classes per year” and the vehicle was an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (ID/IQ) contract with task orders (DFARs clause). Maybe someone here knows whether or not the intended purpose was stated in either the base contract or in the task orders. The COFC case that I could access referred to an earlier COFC ruling which discussed the details of the contract and task order. But the COFC and the Appeals Circuit Cases didn’t discuss why the task orders or task order language are ambiguous. I’m obviously behind the times. The unit of measure here for the yearly task order was “lot”. I generally know what “lot” refers to in supplies. It refers to the amount supplies in a shipment or acceptance. I know that “lump sum” (LS) units of measure were used to price undivided items, in contrast to unit priced units of measure, e.g., “each” (ea.). So, has “lot” replaced “lump sum” now for services? I think that the contract or task order stated that individual classes would be “ordered”. I don’t know if those were subsequent actions under the “task order”.
  21. WifWaf, your approach involves obtaining information from the contractor/proposer and working through it together. Transdigm only provided data other than certified cost or pricing data for 2 parts on 2 contracts included in the DoD-IG audit. Most requests were apparently refused. *Edit-add: [Thus, one of the points raised by the DoD-IG, ‘Should a proposer be required to comply with a KO request for info other than certified cost or pricing data?’ ] Signing off for now. I’ve got other things to do today, 🤠
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