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Desparado

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Everything posted by Desparado

  1. For my post, I am defining a "follow on contract" to mean a contract for continued services (IT helpdesk, security guards, emergency response services... anything where continued performance will be required), which I have encountered quite frequently. I believe that, depending on the type of service provided, the requiring activity may want that overlap to allow for a smooth transition from one contractor to another. Since in many of these cases, the workers are merely "changing their shirts", this overlap is primarily for the new management team that comes in and for any turnover that results because of the contract change (for example, employee XX is offered a lower salary by the new contractor, promptly quits and then a new employee is hired). It is not uncommon in these situations for an overlap to exist. If the incumbent wins the contract, a bilateral modification normally follows (or a partial T4C to the previous contract).
  2. Desparado

    Charging with Coverage

    I will restate... Many Qs, regardless of forum, will result in several As.
  3. Desparado

    OFFICE FURNITURE BUY OVER $5000

    An obscure regulation buried in an appropriation is not something that 95% of contracting officers would be aware of.
  4. Desparado

    Charging with Coverage

    Vern - How would you characterize the difference between a Q&A and a Q&A Discussions page? Each Q, regardless of the forum, will result in several As and on many occasions those As will lead to discussions. I read many questions just to see the conversations happening and have grown in my knowledge because of that. When I go to the "unread" section, I don't even notice what forum the questions are in as it doesn't matter to me if the question was posed by a beginner, a seasoned professional, or by the true experts.... the point for me for this site is to learn (and occasionally help if I can), no matter what forum it is in. Why should someone be admonished just because they posted based on the topic and not whether or not he is a beginner? I guess I'm missing a piece to the puzzle.
  5. Desparado

    Who's responsible to request funding?

    Delayn - In my opinion, if your office believes that this is the appropriate course of action, all solicitations would need to go out with the Availability of Funds clause (52.232-18). This would put the contractors on notice that there are not funds currently committed to this acquisition.
  6. Desparado

    Part 15 evaluation section L items

    To echo what Joel stated with a different take. In many ways, this is a game, and if you want to win this game you have you play by the rules. Ok, that can be done by hiding the information someone within your proposal, but do you think that's the best way to make sure the evaluators see that you have answered their questions? Depending on page limitations, I would recommend one of the following 2 approaches (I have seen both as an 1102 and have found both to be effective). 1) Simply answer the question. In your proposal, repeat the question and then answer it. This is the easiest way to ensure the evaluators see your response. 2) Repeat the question and then state the page/paragraph number where the answer can be found. This can be a little annoying for the evaluator but they will still appreciate being able to find the answers easily. If you want to risk losing the game, just put your answers somewhere in the proposal and hope the evaluators find it. It's sad that an offeror has to resort to these techniques but as Joel stated, for many of the evaluators (if not all), this is an additional duty for them. They are not professional proposal readers. They are technical experts being tasked to read proposals and determine which is best for their requirement. You have to make it as easy as possible for them to do. Imagine someone pulling you from your job, giving you some instructions, and then asking you to perform surgery. Although an extreme example, for many on the SSEB, that is what this feels like.
  7. Have the SSEB be a dedicated team that, once offers are received, have no duties other than to evaluate the proposals. With this age of "category management", we should (especially for large programs) be able to develop technical expertise in evaluating offers. By having a dedicated team, the time it takes for the evaluation process could be reduced by months. Too often the SSEB gets together for 1 week a month, if that. Each time they get together they have to refresh what they discussed previously (wasted time) and then start the review on a single proposal. The same is true for the Contracting Officer. If they have a large, important project, allow that to be their only project. Of course this is a pipe dream in this era of reduced staffing and more additional duties assigned, but I do believe the evaluation process is the single most time-intensive part of the process... and the part that can be reduced the easiest.
  8. Desparado

    How competitive are 1102 jobs?

    If you're willing to be mobile and do a good job (or at least make people think you are), then you can move pretty quickly up the ranks. I know this person who was a GS-7 in 2003 (after 14 years as a GS-4 and GS-6 in non-contracting work) and within 11 years became a GS-15 (you have to judge whether you consider that fast or not). He wasn't in an intern program or anything. He simply applied and moved when opportunities that sounded good came up. It can be done...
  9. Both gentlemen are correct. I was with GSA for 4 years over 2 GSA Schedule contracts and I can confirm that they are right.
  10. I don't know that I would say a non-DoD agency is "less of a challenge". The challenges are just different. Organizational structure (or lack thereof), ambiguity in policy, and other things can make a non-DoD agency very challenging. I actually found working for DoD much easier because of the structure. Everything was already set in place. Granted, it stiffled innovation, but that's a whole different challenge. I recently had an employee leave my current agency because she couldn't deal with the lack of structure and went back to DoD.
  11. I have worked for the Army, the VA, GSA and the EPA and each experience was different. I do believe having experience at different agencies is career enhancing, but then I've known people who have stayed at a single agency and moved all the way up (so no help there, sorry). I am currently a GS-15 and I do believe changing agencies helped me get to this level. I started with the Army entity and primarily completed post support contracts and purchase orders. The grades there were very limited. At GSA the grades were much higher but I found the work much less rewarding and took a downgrade to leave. I've done two separate stints with the VA and found the work rewarding and depending on the office there is upward mobility available.With the EPA I found it rewarding although I have learned that being with a small civilian agency definitely comes with its own problems and many DoDers have difficulty in adjusting to a non-DoD environment (I consider the VA a DoD wannabe). Again, I apologize that this may not be helpful but I believe each individual has unique experiences and what works for one may not work so well for another. As far as additional skills goes the place I learned the most was with the Army where they had a "everyone does everything" approach so I never knew when I walked in the door whether I'd be buying a thermal imager for the fire department, a $2M construction project, training services or buying some commercial products. There were also opportunities to learn about cost contracting there. At the GSA, I learned about Schedules contracting but nothing else. It was very limiting. At the VA they put you in a silo where you only buy one type of thing. Yes, that makes you a specialist at that one thing but doesn't offer you the diversity of knowledge you need to grow in contracting. Would I recommend it? At the very least, since you are with the VA, if you are in a silo situation I would recommend that you move around between the teams to learn about the various types of contracting. I don't know that you'd need to leave the VA to grow but having perspective and experiences from different agencies can be helpful, although not absolutely necessary. So I guess... yes... I would recommend it, but know that you have as much of a chance to going to a worse situation than you do a better one.
  12. Desparado

    Section 801 of 2018 NDAA

    I apologize as I wasn't aware of that rule...
  13. Desparado

    Section 801 of 2018 NDAA

    Vern brings up an interesting point. Would FedBid or companies like them truly be considered a "marketplace"?
  14. Desparado

    Process of Excluding Small Businesses

    An RFI or Sources Sought Notice is usually given quite a bit of weight in the protest decisions I've read. I instruct my staff to do a fair amount of market research and if it doesn't appear that there will be two small business contractors that will respond with a fair and reasonable price, be sure to do a Sources Sought Notice before making the decision to go out full and open.
  15. Desparado

    SAP Modification PNM

    What was the reason for the modification? Did you enter into negotiations for some reason? If something happened that caused you to go into negotiations, I can see where your agency/boss may require a PNM. A PNM for "all modifications" is overkill and just stupid.
  16. In regards to meals in the field for military persons, it depends on how they are fed. If they are fed by MREs, there is no need for plates or plasticware. If it is by T-Rations, those are prepared in kitchen trucks and yes... the military provides paper plates and plasticware to use the consumption of the meal. I don't think that this decision will change that one bit.
  17. Desparado

    CPARS comments

    .... or maybe overworked and understaffed and like all administrative activities, it doesn't receive the priority from management that pre-award and award activities do. It's all about obligating the money and after that senior management doesn't care unless there is a problem.
  18. Desparado

    NDAA for FY 2018

    1, 2 and 3. Pretty much in that order.
  19. Desparado

    CPARS comments

    You are right in that it is supposed to be, but I am facing a situation now where a bad contractor contested their rating. As the reviewing official I reviewed what they wrote and the contract file, spoke with the contractor and the contracting officer and then made a decision to uphold the Unsatisfactory rating. The contractor then proceeded to get political appointees involved and now all heck is busting loose. Sad, but true.
  20. Desparado

    Interview Guidance

    Keep in mind that many interviewers today use "performance based questions" (yes, the hair on the back of my neck stood up when I heard that title) where instead of asking you a question like, "Walk me through source selection", what will be asked is something like... "Tell me about a time when you used source selection procedures on a large contract. What was that contract for and what processes did you use to accomplish the work". The idea behind this is to not only find out what you have done, but to get an indication of what you will do in the future. So if you're the nervous type jot down some large or unique acquisitions you've done so they are fresh in your mind in case you are asked question of this nature.
  21. Desparado

    Using GSA in price analyses

    As someone who has spent time with both DoD and GSA, I have always found DoD's view of GSA's pricing to be interesting. Now that I know how GSA gets its pricing and how they determine a price fair and reasonable (not the lowest) it is interesting to me that DoD has such an objection. Now, I totally agree that you may not want to use GSA pricing to determine the lowest price available, but I personally think that it should be perfectly acceptable to use for a fair and reasonableness determination. Fortunately, other agencies aren't held by these same rules.
  22. When I worked at GSA I lobbied to have the MOT name changed because it is very misleading. Because it would have to go through the rule-making process, I lost every time. Sad...
  23. Desparado

    LPTA Question

    Can you use subjective criteria when conducting an Lowest Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA) acquistion? For example, could one of the evaluation criteria in Section M be: Offeror's technical approach will be evaluated on a Pass/Fail basis. The technical approach will be evaluated to determine whether it is technically sufficient in that it provides an approach that will accomplish the tasks stated in the Performance Work Statement within the timeframe specified. As this acquisition is in the pre-solicitation phase I cannot really give any details as to the type of work being performed but suffice it to say that I would like the TEP to be able to review the proposals and evaluate them on a pass/fail basis using this criteria. My respected legal counsel states that this is too subjective and cannot be used for an LPTA approach. Thoughts?
  24. Desparado

    LPTA Question

    REA'n - The reason we would prefer LPTA over a Trade-off evaluation methodology is that we aren't willing to pay more for a better approach, or better past performance or anything else. We just want someone who can come in and provide the service. We do need to evaluate their key personnel and technical approach (to ensure that they can in fact do the work), but can do that on a pass/fail basis. We also do our LPTA evaluation by starting with the lowest-priced offer and then stop when we have one that is technically acceptable, which we believe saves valuable time. Why evaluate a bunch of offers that have no chance of winning?
  25. If this was truly a case of the GSA FSS description being too limited, no contractor with that Schedule would be able to complete the work requested by the Navy. The Navy should probably not have used the Schedules for this acquisition and if they had done proper market research they would have been able to determine that.
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