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Everything posted by Desparado

  1. First, a slight disclaimer. When I was at GSA, I was not in the IT arena, but was in FAS, overseeing a couple of MAS Schedules. Therefore, the rules may be slightly different (although I do not believe so in this case). The contract award amount is simply an internal tracking tool. Yes, it is used for FPDS-NG reporting, but a contractor has not yet successfully performed and in fact many never do. Therefore, some contracting officers assign the lowest possible amount ($125k) for a small business award. This is based on the minimum sales criteria required to maintain an MAS contract ($25k per year for 5 years). Now, in fact that is not truly the minimum, since a contractor has 2 years to get to that first $25k amount, but GSA has long used the $125k amount as a bare minimum. For a large business, they set the minimum at $650k for subcontracting plan purposes. After that initial 5yr award period, as part of the process to exercise the 5yr option, the contract value will be re-estimated based on past sales performance. I could be wrong, but if memory serves the only place the new dollar value is reported is in FPDS-NG with the modification to exercise the option. The MOL/MOT is established at the SIN/Schedule level, and not at the individual contract level. Also, if you haven't encountered this already, you will... Government agencies often are confused by the terms, "Maximum Ordering Limitation" and "Monetary Order Thresholds". They will think that this is the maximum amount that can be ordered against the MAS contract (go figure!). This is not the case. The MOL is one of the most badly-worded acronyms in GSA. I tried to bring this issue up on several occasions but apparently the rule-making process is too extensive to change it. This term only applies to the threshold which a contractor is required to accept an order (within scope of course) and not a ceiling amount that can be placed against the contract with contractor acceptance. Hope this helps.
  2. This is dated just a bit, but I was with Army contracting up until 2007, and ASFI would feed to FBO for the solicitations. We would synopsize in FBO, but post to ASFI which would feed into FBO, so all regulatory requirements were met.
  3. I think if the FAR was shrunk, it would only result in the various government agencies increasing the size of their supplement in order to cover what was removed.
  4. cs123 - I've been with a few agencies, and every one of them stress not using numerical ratings. Apparently sometime in the past there was a protest or something for an acquisition that used numerical ratings, and (as the tale goes) a CO was asked something like, "What is the difference between a 7 and an 8?" Or a 6 and an 8... And the CO could not provide a well thought-out answer, and thus push for non-numerical ratings (whether colors or words).
  5. apsofacto - I've seen this done at a couple of agencies now. The general thought is that they can make an 1102 to do 1105 work but they can make an 1105 do 1102 work. The management's reasoning is that by making them all 1102s they can have greater flexibility to get the work accomplished. Not saying I agree with that theory, but that is the theory that both of these agencies have cited.
  6. Is it normal for agencies to permit non-warranted people to make awards above the micro-purchase threshold (with the exception of designated ordering officers who place orders off of established contracts)?
  7. Contractor100 - Thank you for the link. That was new information for me. I would imagine that most government contracting officers at the ordering level are totally unaware of that site. I was over two MAS schedules and I didn't know about link! Please remember also that there is an important distinction between a BPA and an Order. If the date of the order (even if it is against an established BPA) is after the date your MAS contract was modified, the reporting rule would still apply. It is based on the date of the "order", not the BPA it was placed against. Wouldn't want you to get yourself into trouble with GSA.
  8. You've lost me a little on the following: "I see the logistical issue, although the ordering agency can see all of the GSA clauses AND the mass mods AND whether the contractor has signed up to the mass mod. And the same issue applies to a task order or an IDIQ task order issued against GSA schedules." Ordering agencies can only see what clauses are currently on a Schedule contract. They cannot see mass mods or whether a contractor has signed up to the mass mod. Further, they can only see those clauses if they go into eLibrary to look for them. There is no notification process that lets ordering agencies know whether or not a mod has been issued to an MAS contract. Also, I'm not sure what you mean when you say the same issue applies to a task order. Only the agency that places the order can see the particulars of that order. In fact, in a majority of the cases, only that specific office can see it. When I was at a GSA office, we were instructed that if an MAS contractor is not willing to sign a MASS Mod, we were to terminate their contract. This was because GSA wanted all their contracts to be as up-to-date as possible. With over 19,000 contracts, having them all in various stages of update would be a nightmare to administer.
  9. In the situation you outlined, the GSA contract was modified with the reporting requirement for "new orders". A call against a BPA is an order. If the order was received after the contract modification was signed, it is my opinion that this would be required to be reported regardless whether there is a flowdown or not. There is a logistics issue with the MAS program that has led to GSA interpreting that clauses automatically flow down. I will try to describe that issue. GSA establishes an MAS contract with the contractor. A customer agency writes a BPA against this contract. GSA has no visibility on the BPA since the agency can write it without involving GSA itself (one of GSA's selling points). Additionally, the customer agency has no visibility on any modifications to the MAS contract completed by GSA and the contractor.
  10. You gave an example of Microsoft Office. Obviously, that is not the product of a small business manufacturer. If the acquisition exceeds $25k, you will need to apply the Non-Manufacturer Rule (FAR 19.502-2 ( c )). Now if your scenario is for something other than Microsoft Office, the post by Metteec could apply.
  11. I would not use a reverse auction for this (and can an IFB be used as the method for a reverse auction?). When I see the term "invitation for bids", I think of a sealed bid with FAR Part 14, which wouldn't mesh well with a reverse auction because the general idea of a reverse auction is that your competition will see the new low bid, "sharpen their pencil", and submit a revised lower bid. IFB and Reverse Auctions seem mutually exclusive to me, but I could be missing something. As far as using an RA for this type of acquisition, I don't think you'd get much bidding on a service such as this. I could see going with an IFB, but not a reverse auction. I just don't see where the Government benefits from it. Not a fan of FedBid, but RA as a general tool has good applications. I have found it best used when buying large quantities of products, where the contractors/bidders have room to manuever within their profit margin. I just don't see that here.
  12. In your scenario, a "call" was issued in 2014. Since each "call" is an "order", and this order meets the required threshold and was placed after the clause was incorporated into the contract which the BPA was placed against, my opinion is that the report will be required.
  13. I agree Joel, but it is the environment that exists in many offices.
  14. I agree with what everyone above has said. Also, there is a fear of speaking too much of a particular requirement, whether it be before or after a solicitation was issued. The general fear is that they'll tell one contractor something and not another and create an uneven playing field. A couple of years ago the "Mythbusters" initiative was put out (by OMB I believe). Every seasoned contracting officer I spoke with did not agree with it. Most COs are so protest-adverse that all they want is arm's-length group communications and don't want to risk getting into any discussions with a contractor (especially one-on-one) about requirements. If it's not a formal industry meeting or site visit or something similar, contracting officers don't want to talk about requirements with potential offerors.
  15. I think the rules are very simple, and my experience at GSA was that was exactly the problem when I spoke with other government agencies about using the Schedules program. I believe FAR 8.4 is written with the broadness it was on purpose so that contracting officers can use their best business judgement. Unfortunately, in today's spoon-feed-me contracting environment, that is often seen as ambiguous and confusing. I have seen contracting officers put too many clauses in their solicitation (in some cases re-stating what was already in there, and in other cases conflicting with the clauses in the MAS contract). This is why GSA put in the Goldstar initiative a couple of years ago so that any customer agency contracting officer can view which clauses are in the contract. Many attorneys with agencies are so protest-adverse they require FAR Part 15 debriefings when a FAR Part 8 is all that is required. The same is true with source selection methodology and application. I believe that the Schedules program isn't perfect, but for many acquisitions it can be a useful tool in the toolbox if applied correctly.
  16. I looked through the past topics as I thought I had seen this before, but was unable to find it. For software maintenance purchased through SEWP, is the Government allowed to pay upon award for these services or do we have to wait until the service is performed. I don't know that a software company will wait a year for payment while services are being rendered. I ask because I'm in a lively discussion with a Fiscal person that states that it must be paid in arrears and cannot be paid at the time of award. If you know of a policy reference, that would be helpful.
  17. Has anyone seen if the authority to extend this "Test Program" is included in any of the proposed appropriations? I know that a few years ago when it was allowed to expire it created quite a bit of hysteria, and it would do so again in my agency as we utilize this authority quite a bit.
  18. At offices I've worked at for both the VA and the Army, we used a RFP (or RFQ if simplified) for sole-source for a couple of reasons. The primary reason is that it communicated the SOW/PWS, the clauses, and all other T&Cs that would be in the resultant contract. This way everything is communicated up-front and there are no surprises when the contractor is presented with an award document to sign.
  19. It seems there is some terminology confusion. You stated, "And no, we did not mention FEE in our FFP at all". To remove the acronym, that statement would read, "And no, we did not mention FEE in our Firm-Fixed Price at all". When combined with an earlier statement in which you stated, "And no, we did not mention FEE in our FFP at all. In the BASE, The contract is a CPFF with fixed price cost elements and the Gov CS used the contracted percentages as a guide", it makes me think that you may have assigned a different meaning to FFP Are you using FFP to mean Firm-Fixed Price, or something different??
  20. Fara - That is the way we looked at it as well. We ran into this situation mostly when resellers were wanting to add new items to their FSS contract for which they had no sales yet themselves.
  21. This was always an interesting topic of discussion when I worked at GSA. The FAR even double-talks it: 8.405-5 ( b ): Orders placed against schedule contracts may be credited toward the ordering activity’s small business goals. For purposes of reporting an order placed with a small business schedule contractor, an ordering agency may only take credit if the awardee meets a size standard that corresponds to the work performed. Ordering activities should rely on the small business representations made by schedule contractors at the contract level. So in one sentence it states that the awardee must meet a size standard that corresponds to the work performed, and in the next sentence it states that the ordering activity should rely on the representations made at the contract level. I've seen agencies cherry-pick the part they wanted to. If they wanted the representation they only observed the last sentence and if they didn't want that company they would go with the other.
  22. I don't know if this is helpful or not, but this is contained in the CSP-1 document and in my opinion addresses some of your questions: ( 5 ) If you are a dealer/reseller without significant sales to the general public, you should provide manufacturers' information required by paragraphs (1) through (4) above for each item/SIN offered, if the manufacturer's sales under any resulting contract are expected to exceed $500,000. You must also obtain written authorization from the manufacturer(s) for Government access, at any time before award or before agreeing to a modification, to the manufacturer's sales records for the purpose of verifying the information submitted by the manufacturer. The information is required in order to enable the Government to make a determination that the offered price is fair and reasonable. To expedite the review and processing of offers, you should advise the manufacturer(s) of this requirement. The contracting officer may require the information be submitted on electronic media with commercially available spreadsheet(s). The information may be provided by the manufacturer directly to the Government. If the manufacturer's item(s) is being offered by multiple dealers/resellers, only one copy of the requested information should be submitted to the Government. In addition, you must submit the following information along with a listing of contact information regarding each of the manufacturers whose products and/or services are included in the offer (include the manufacturer's name, address, the manufacturer's contact point, telephone number, and FAX number) for each model offered by SIN: (a) Manufacturer's Name (B ) Manufacturer's Part Number (c ) Dealer's/Reseller's Part Number (d) Product Description (e) Manufacturer's List Price (f) Dealer's/Reseller's percentage discount from List Price or net prices Although the above states that this is required if sales are expected to exceed $500K, we require it any time the dealer/reseller has no sales for the new product line, no matter what the expected sales are. In addition to using the CSP-1 to determine fair and reasonable pricing, it is used to establish an MFC/BOA for those products until the contractor can establish their own sales, at which time it can be renegotiated. There is no requirement to sell to end users by the manufacturer. Dealers/resellers are commercial customers and therefore, they would be one of, if not the only, commercial customer categories that the manufacturer discloses on the CSP-1. GSA will compare the discounts/prices given to the dealers/resellers to the prices that the dealer/reseller is offering to the Government to ensure those prices are fair and reasonable (example (exaggerated): dealer gets 50% discount from manufacturer price, marks it up 75%, and then offers GSA a 5% discount). All proprietary documents are kept in the contract file within the eoffer/econtract system. If the manufacturer chooses, after contacting the CO regarding their concerns, may submit those documents directly to the Contracting Officer, bypassing the contractor for purposes of confidentiality.
  23. A GSA contractor can only charge as much as what is on their FSS Schedule (they can always charge less, but not more). So, if they use a sub, whether it is a Schedule sub or an open market sub, if the only contractual relationship the Government has is with the one GSA contractor, that contractor can charge as much as what is on their GSA Schedule, regardless of what the sub charges. However, you can use this information when you attempt to negotiate a discount from the Schedule rate. If it is a Contractor Teaming Arrangement (CTA), then each contractor on the team is limited by their individual FSS rates. On a side note, the GSA contractor cannot charge for services/rateslabor categories not shown on their GSA Schedule, so if they try to charge for a sub's labor and that labor category is not on the GSA contractor's Schedule, they are not supposed to be doing so. The GSA OIG finds this violation quite frequently.
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