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Everything posted by dwgerard

  1. The catalog prices are those published for products such as digital cameras (which is where I obtained the 26% discount), law enforcement equipment such as weapons lockers, body armor and specialized equipment and other items such as commercial fitness products like treadmills. As far as the 26% goes, that is not a bad number for a single camera purchase. If I was purchasing more than 1 or 2, I would expect the discount percentage to go up for quantity discounts. When I purchased over 100 GPS units for one of my clients, the discount was in the 50% range over a single purchase catalog price
  2. formerfed, Competition may not always result in savings, but I disagree with that conclusion in the majority of purchases made by the government. In the average purchase (below $100K), competion is averaging about 10%-20% lower pricing than the market research indicates the price should be. That is based on more than 50 purchases made in the last three months in my office. I just awarded an order today using competitive procedures that resulted in a 26% savings over the listed catalog price. Perhaps that is a function of today's economy. That competion will not result in lower costs may be
  3. Formerfed, The problem with demonstrating competence is that many supervisors, managers and executive leaders have a different definition of what that means than you, Vern and I do. Many of those so called leaders think that slavishly kowtowing to customers or statistics is what makes for competence, instead of good contracting practices. An example: Contracting Officer who signs contracts with a period of performance lasting 2 years with 1 year funds. Result: Promotion to Assistant Director and GS-15. Another example: Contracting Officer repeatedly signs contracts with no competition wi
  4. Vern, Once I complete my dissertation, which I will begin in November, I would consider it an honor to work with you on such a paper, or even to just listen to what you have to say on the subject. I agree that rote accomplishing the classes required by DAWIA is not a true measure of how qualified a person is. My problem with the finance career field as it relates to contracting is that those personnel often have zero education in simple accounting and/or finance. They also have zero understanding of contracting as well, so I believe that some familiarization of those subject though coursew
  5. Perhaps I was too harsh on Mr. Litman, but the title of "Senior Procurement Executive" in my current organization means a person without a degree, certification in contracting or anything else that leads me to believe they have any experience in contracting. With that said, Mr. Litman does raise some interesting points. I am about to begin my dissertation with a contracting workforce topic should it be approved, so perhaps some of this may be of use in my research. I intend to address the idea of the "super COTR" once I have completed my dissertation, along with study into increasing the sco
  6. Just scanning the "thought leader's" paper made me wonder if this guy has ever actually been in a contracting work area or out of the beltway in DC. My office does everything, cradle to grave, and there already is a "single career path and job series" here, not three as he claims. The work does not focus purely on award, although that is a big part of the process naturally. I spend far more time on pre-award and post-award functions per action than I do awarding the contractual action when it is required. Of course buying small dollar widgets need little pre or post award concerns other th
  7. I have not done contracting overseas for the US Government, but one thing I do know: the host country CAN make the rules on just about everything with a very few exceptions. If they decide only local businesses can work on your contract, your choices are either to comply with that country or take the ride of your life in a foreign courtroom. I saw this from a layman's viewpoint in the Philippines in the 1980's, and from a contractor's view point a few years ago in Asia. The moral of the story: Know the rules, abide by the rules, and document, document, document. CON 101 stuff. If the loca
  8. If you read the last supliment to that letter, it stated an intent to add the restriction described in that letter to the GSA Manual. Have you checked to see if the latest update of that publication includes the terms contained in the letter?
  9. Brian, Losing a competition is not necessarily "unfavorable" or "adverse". Such a determination is entirely subjective and may not be readily apparent at the time that it occurs either. Consider this scenario: A contractor loses a competition. Later on, the contractor finds that his or her proposal was significantly flawed and would have resulted in financial losses or substandard contract performance that would have been detrimental to future contract awards. Is losing that competition adverse or fortuitious? Who gets to decide? "Adverse" as a measurement itself is very subjective, it d
  10. If non-governmental personnel are prohibited from receiving confidential and proprietary contract information, then the whole government might as well come to a screeching halt, as every office I have worked with in the last few years has contract employees working alongside the feds. That includes the contracting office itself, as well as the program offices, warehouses and flight lines. I believe that the contracts for those contractor services include the same kind of non-disclosure and re-employment restrictions that feds are under, but how that is reflected by 18 USC 1905 I do not know.
  11. Formerfed, The contract I have been writing about was a Best Value negotiated RFP with discussions with several RFP revisions as discussions were held. There was verbiage in the RFP that stated past performance would be considered but I do not recall if the distinctions between Past Performance in terms of bad performance and a separate category of how well the contractor had gotten along with the government in the past was considered. The actual root problem in my opinion is the inexperience of many 1102's and program personnel have in actual negotiations and evaluating proposals. In that o
  12. It depends upon the size of the box they are talking about. The smallest box is for Contracting certifications such as those issued by DAU or FAI: i.e. "I am level III certified so I am done!" The next size of box is the secondary certifications encouraged by DAU: i.e. "I am level III certified in my primary career field, and level II in my secondary career field, so I am done!" The biggest box is professional level certifications, which is what I am working towards right now: i.e. "I am level III certified in my primary career field by DAU and FAI, halfway to level II certification in a sec
  13. Formerfed, Perhaps, but this is what I proposed at that time to resolve the problem: I would like to add to the contractors offer the costs to the Goverment for the unnecessary modifications and unreasonable length of time that the modifications entailed. If we could so easily get that information, particularly when those amounts were 5 or 6 times that of any other contractor in that industry, I believe we should be allowed to make those adjustments as they are documented and quantifiable. My proposal was not accepted, and they ended up with the protest and results I wrote about above. As far
  14. Don, The contracting officer did declare the price as unrealistic, backed up with DCAA reviews of both the current price and previous instances of low balling from the contractor and the resultant modifications. The contractor protested being removed from the competition, and the unrealistic price determination, and the GAO agreed with the contractor that even if they were low, it was not "unrealistic" if they had successfully completed contracts under similar situations in the past. The fact that the Government spend months fighting over many, many bloated modification proposals in those si
  15. A few states have decided to tax federal travelers (New Mexico is one of them), and I believe that some state and local governments have decided to tax contractual vehicles as well, although I have not run into that problem. Most state and local goverments do not, so I would simply bring the subject up and be prepared to submit a tax exemption form if required.
  16. I know of at least one contractor, and a major one at that, who regularly lowballed their quotes, knowing that he could rely on the government to make changes that he would then price in the stratosphere to make up their profits. That might not work for simple orders or some services, but it worked like a champ for that contractor. They even won a protest when they lost a competition due to that practice, even with all of the evidence clearly showing that was his practice over decades of doing business with the government. For simple orders, I would document my findings, then contact the ve
  17. Heck, using the logic of some of the management guru's writings I have seen lately, all of the services should be combined into one single service, reducing redundancy, wasteful competition and improving interoperability. If that logic follows through, what does that mean for competition in contracting? Or the concept of a diverse supplier base? And over all of this, the NY Times editor is probably as short sighted as the people running newspapers in general. They did not adapt to the internet challenge very well, nor does he see how a dedicated Air Force can be a deterence from threats that
  18. Here at my work the HR folks are a joke and completely incompetent when faced with anything more complex than submitting a form. Even in that they make a mistake at least 50% of the time, particularly in dealing with benefit options. They also have a practice of putting about 30% of new employees from other agencies in the "career conditional" category even when they were in the "permanent career" category before being hired. When we showed them in writing they were wrong, citing regulations, laws and rulings, they still refused to change, even when the supervisor over the HR shop admitted
  19. The Fort Benning Directorate of Contracting had a contract for potable water supplies from the Columbus Public Works office that might offer some insight into how such a program works. I do not work there any longer, so I can't give you any specifics. Give that office a call and maybe they can help you out.
  20. Carl, What basis do you have for the response below?: Questions:Do you think that contracting officers must release trade secrets or confidential manufacturing processes and techniques when giving debriefings in commercial item acquisitions? Your answer: Yes, unless a contractor claims Exemption 4 and it is then determined that Exemption 4 applies. Are you really saying that the debrief MUST divulge trade secrets (and) or confidential manufacturing processes and techniques UNLESS the contractor specifically says no in this specific instance? I read the law as it is impermissible for the U.S.
  21. Joel, We had a publishing company that received the whole contract, unit prices and everything else, just by asking at FT. Benning until shortly before I reported there in 2005. They stopped releasing that information after the Army lost a lawsuit from a contractor who was "harmed" by the release of his unit prices and several other management concepts which were used by a competing contractor in the generation of his competing proposal for a follow-on contract. It was for an equally common type of service as ground maintenance, so I can see that in some cases even a grounds maintenance contr
  22. Why is your issue with "me", rather than the information? Labor Hour and T&M contracts are both described by the same FAR section, 16.6, so they share the same designation and category. If you want to categorize them differently, knock yourself out but I choose to treat them the way my agency and the FAR treats them. Notice that I did not take issue with you, so please have a little courtesy in this forum.
  23. br549, I believe a Labor Hour contract is a hybrid, with elements of both a fixed price contract in that the hourly rates are fixed; and a cost type contract in that the quantity of hours are not fixed. The requirments for such a contract are also different than either a strictly fixed price or strictly cost contracts, which I am daily reminded in my present job. An example is that a labor hour may not require detailed cost information to be presented to the government, but HCA approval must be obtained in order to for the contract duration to be more than 3 years. That shows that requirem
  24. Many hotels require a security deposit to block out a large number of rooms for a conference. The way we handle that here at my agency is to award a PO to the hotel in the amount of the security deposit, and then deobligate any funding not utilized by attendees failing to rent the rooms or follow the cancellation policy. The attendees do pay for their rooms with their travel cards, and we get a printout of who rented a room, who cancelled and who simply did not show up. We use that printout to research what happened and to determine how much of the security deposit the hotel can claim. Th
  25. Don't forget that all J&A's restricting competition also must be posted on FBO as well, which should be fun to watch over the next few months. Our agency has the position that all but FAR 13.501 specific J&A's must be posted, which is already causing a lot of squirming from the Program Offices. To me, the whole shebang looks like a new stimulus plan for enriching lawyers in these "hard" times. That's just me though, always looking for where the money is going. Must be that old law enforcement training I went through!
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