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Desparado

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Everything posted by Desparado

  1. What you are referring to is GSA's FAR 51 Deviation. You can read about it at http://www.gsa.gov/portal/mediaId/202559/fileName/MAS_DeviationOrderingGuide_121514.action You will find the following in this guide: When purchasing from a Schedule contract, purchase items at the Schedule contract price (or lower) with no fee/surcharge/markup. If items are provided by the selling contractor at lower than the contract price, the buying contractor must pass on the savings by invoicing the Federal Government accordingly. So, in short if you are purchasing off of GSA for the government, you cannot mark it up one single penny.
  2. Should Training Classes Be Required?

    The additional costs that I was thinking of are for all these 1102s that switch specialties. Many agencies use the silo approach to contracting. Under this scenario when someone gets a promotion or transfer and moves from products to construction, or to services, or to some other specialty they would need to get another certification. If they don't test out, that means more dollars for training. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but the extra cost is something that would need to be figured into the decision process.
  3. Should Training Classes Be Required?

    So if I understand the proposed solution correctly, if an 1102 were to move from an office that did installation support (like a military installation) using primarily Simplified Acquisition to an office with another agency (or perhaps the same one) and started working A/E actions, they would need to complete an additional Level II course. How would this work in smaller offices where the 1102 has to do several types of contracting? When I started out at a military installation I did Simplified Acquisition, Construction, Services and IT Acquisition all on any given day. Under this scenario would I have had to be Level II qualified in all these areas? I think having specialized certifications would create problems for the agencies and the workforce. Although the current system is far from perfect, if it is going to be changed it will need to be flexible enough to facilitate all types of offices. With all its faults (and I admit there are many), the current system does provide some basic foundational contracting principles that can expand to most (if not all) types of contracting. The costs to administer a specialized program is something else that would have to be considered. With the trend of movement of 1102s that I've seen over the last few years, people would be constantly taking training/tests for new certifications. Intriguing idea, but I don't know how it would work from a practical standpoint.
  4. Schedule BOA trigger?

    I have one minor thing to point out. jlbdca stated that sales to customers outside your basis of award will not trigger a price reduction. That is not entirely true. If GSA determines that you mis-stated your BOA because you offer lower pricing to another customer or class of customers that can certainly result in issues. They can state that basically you changed your BOA and thereby kick in the PRC. I've seen it done. The GSA OIG loves this.
  5. Use of PPIRS Data in Source Selection

    Giving it a rating of High, Medium or Low performance risk is a form of scoring, isn't it? What is the difference between a "risk indicator" and a "score"? Either of them is used to judge the government's opinion on whether the contractor can successfully complete the task being competed. Although not perfect, PPIRS is a good, relatively standardized, resource for past performance information. Just like writing performance appraisals for employees, the value of the rating is only as good as the author, but I think it is an important tool to use. My office will use it to develop a risk level (aka "score") but we will often go a step further and contact the government POC to ask further questions if we feel the information in PPIRS isn't adequate in order to do the best evaluation possible.
  6. Wifcon.com: My Legacy; My Albatross

    WIFCON is an incredibly valuable resource. I was told early in my career to check this site daily and I have since given that same recommendation to every 1102 I encounter, whether they be my employees or just fellow contracting professionals. I enjoy reading the protests (sick, I know) and I learn from them on a daily basis. The value of the discussion board is immeasurable (not that I'm looking to pay a lot for it, but I would pay some if the site had to go that way in the future). Having the input of people like yourself, Vern, Joel, H2H and many others on various contracting topics is amazing. Thank you for all that you do!
  7. FSS SB Set-Aside

    illzoni - No, the "rule of two", meaning that if two or more responsible small businesses can complete the requirement then you must set it aside, does not apply to GSA MAS (aka FSS) purchases. Setting an acquisition aside is discretionary.
  8. Past Performance

    H2H - Although I agree it's the people, not the firm, accepting/evaluating resumes always gives me pause because I have had too many occasions where the person proposed in the proposal isn't the one that shows up to do the work. I hear, "well, we were going to hire that person but he took another job" or "he's needed on another project". The ol' bait-and-switch. I'd rather supplement the resume with the offeror's proposed minimum requirements that any employee used to fill that position will possess.
  9. Is The FAR Enforceable

    Okay, even if i concede that in this case the COR was wrong, that still doesn't change the basics of the ruling which is that the FAR is really just a regulation and therefore a supervisor can exert undue pressure on a CO to do something against the FAR and the CO has no recourse but to do it and then grieve. I still believe this is precedent-setting, and dangerous.
  10. Is The FAR Enforceable

    So let's ramp this up a notch... under this "act now, grieve later" approach, you're fine with a supervisor directing a CO to award a contract to a friend of his, regardless of source selection? The CO should just make the award using their warrant (individually issued and responsible) and then file a grievance? I think that's just crazy. This sets a dangerous precedent and undermines the authority of the warrant, imho. Also, as noted by Jacques, the supervisor can later say he/she never gave such direction and then the CO is just out there hanging. Yes, I understand that in this case this was a COR, but the principles are still the same. The FAR is nothing more than a suggestion and really doesn't need to be followed if a supervisor tells you to do something different. Dangerous.
  11. SPS/PD2

    Don and Jamaal - Why complicate matters by having to evaluate/negotiate all of that? I don't see that the gain outweighs the cost/risk here. In fact, I would propose that acquisitions would take much longer to complete because of the additional requirements to review, evaluation and possibly negotiate clauses. Call me old fashioned but I truly believe that the best protector of the government's contracting interests is the government's contracting officer, and that we should dictate the terms and conditions of contracts, not the contractors.
  12. SPS/PD2

    UVA - By my statement I meant that by drafting the RFP/Contract, the government will be able to ensure that the clauses necessary to protect our interests are in place. If you allow the fox to run the hen house, they will only put in clauses that protect their interest. For example, I'm sure they won't put in any type of T4D clause, or liquidated damages clause, or anything the government currently uses to protect its interests.
  13. Are We Reading FAR?

    This appears to be the type of question that will cause Vern to absolutely go off, appropriately so. No disrespect intended, but I've read many of Vern's comments in the past related to this question and I know he has strong feelings about it. I believe that new contract specialists/officers want the answers handed to them and experienced ones think they know the answers already. I don't know of too many contracting people that stay up on the FAR as much as we should. Sadly, I have to put myself in that category as well. With workloads being what they are, very few have the time to dedicate to keeping up with the various changes. I try, but I know that I fall short...
  14. SPS/PD2

    Vern - By "leveling the playing field" I simply meant that all offers would be evaluated using the stated criteria and against RFPs that contain the same terms and conditions (clauses). I also think that the key thing is that as contracting officers we are responsible for protecting the government's interest to the best of our ability. If we let the contractors write the contracts, it will be written to their benefit. This is a case of the Golden Rules. We have the gold, so we should make the rules. In other words, since we are spending the money, we should dictate the terms so that our interests are protected. Standard language in clauses ensure that the contracts are written in a way that protects us. However, if you let the contractors write the contracts, then each one will be different, with slick lawyers trying to manipulate the language of the clauses to suit their interests. Uva - Your example is an interesting one, but limited. Software agreements are one thing as the language is normally pretty simple (no more than a page or two), but applying that methodology to all contracts would be problematic. Can you imagine the possibilities? Construction contracts would no longer have liquidated damages clauses. Service contracts may not contain clauses that allow us to extend the contract 6 months. T4D clauses would be absent. I could go on and on. The Government clauses are there to protect us, and I think we should be the author of them.
  15. SPS/PD2

    UVA - I guess this may be one of those areas where we will need to agree to disagree. I think that leveling the playing field is an important part of government acquisition, and so I would prefer to dictate the terms (that I as a gov't CO feel protect the government's interest) and have a level playing field. Otherwise, I can see the protest frequency going up at a faster rate than it already is because every contractor is going to think that their T&Cs are the best.
  16. SPS/PD2

    Retread and UVA - Yes, I would have a problem with anyone besides the government (including a large business) writing the contract. I feel this way because the government should be the one protecting the government/taxpayers' interest and we do that through our clauses. We should be the ones to pick those. Vern - As you know, the RFP includes not only the evaluation criteria but also the clauses applicable. As I mentioned in the previous paragraph, it is my humble opinion that we should be the ones to select those clauses because we are the ones tasked with protecting the interest of the government/taxpayer. I also think this would be a nightmare to evaluate. Regardless what criteria we would attempt to put into the RFP, with each proposal having different terms and conditions, contracting officers would have to incorporate the lawyers onto the evaluation team just to decipher what language the offerors' lawyers would come up with. We have enough trouble doing proper evaluations just looking at the proposals and costs. Throw a full-blown evaluation of terms and conditions into the mix and nothing would ever get awarded, or take even longer to do so. Although our contract writing systems are (depending on the agency you work at) pains to work with, I do believe they serve a purpose. Yes, we have to do a bunch of data input but in this stage of the information age, everyone (primarily Congress and companies that want to gain an advantage) wants access to this data and so that isn't going away. Better to have all that data captured automatically than to have to decipher a proposal to pull the info out to provide the data to FPDS (as mentioned previously by Shall7.
  17. SPS/PD2

    I would still never do it. Shall7, I believe you made the assumption that the contractor would accidentally put in a wrong clause. I would propose that there would be some or many that would intentionally insert clauses that would slant things towards them, thereby causing the government to have to hire a plethora of lawyers just to interpret them all in order to protect the government's interest. I rarely disagree with Vern, and so it gives me pause to do so this time, but I think that the Government should be in control of the clauses within the acquisition and the writing of the contract itself. Are we perfect? No, but we are the ones responsible to the taxpayers whereas the contractors are only responsible to themselves (or their stockholders). I still believe having them put in the clauses would be putting the fox in charge of the hen house. The evaluation could also be a nightmare as now the contract provisions and clauses would almost surely have to be another thing to evaluate and/or negotiate. I think you would lose so much time/money between lawyers and evaluation time that you would lose any benefit gained from trashing the contract writing systems. Vern, you want to let the contractors write the RFP? How could that work? Wouldn't they tailor it so that their company wins the "competition"? Now that being said, I have no objection to them writing the PWS/SOW, which of course is the concept behind using a SOO (which is not used nearly as much as it should be, imho. The small business point of view is just one reason why I don't believe this won't ever gain traction. There is no way the small business community with their influence on Congress will ever let this happen for the reasons Boof mentioned.
  18. SPS/PD2

    So in your scenario we would have the contractors put in the contract clauses designed to protect the government's/taxpayer's interest? Wouldn't that be like putting the fox in charge of the hen house? Although an intriguing idea, and an interesting discussion, but I don't know that it would gain any traction. Most contracting officers are not lawyers and so having a CO try to review every clause that the contractor would try to slide in wouldn't be feasible. Also, since PD2 (granted, it's been a few years since I've used it) builds the contract from the solicitation, is it your proposal that the contractor would also develop the solicitations? What about the SOW/PWS? I'm going to assume your answer is no to this to which I'll respond with, "If that is the case, then we will still need some type of contract writing system to do the solicitations so why not keep it to move them into the contract?" I think there may be more "major" hurdles than just WAWF and FPDS....
  19. Consolidated FAR/DFARS/DFARS PGI/DoD Class Deviations

    Sadly, although I think this is a great idea, it doesn't sound like it will include the sub-DoD supplements (AFARS, AFFARS, etc...) so a contract specialist still won't have a one-stop shop for the FAR and its DoD supplements.
  20. GSA's primary goal is to please the people in the Beltway. Once the screams of high prices on the MAS Schedules got to be deafening, GSA came up with FSSI. Now that FSSI is getting old, they are pushing the concepts of Category Management and the Acquisition Gateway. Once those get old or contested, they will come up with a new buzzword or concept so they can continue to show shiny objects to OMB and OFPP. This is one of the reasons I left GSA.
  21. .... and then there is this. Apparently, there are proposals to amend the 2017 NDAA. One is to prohibit a CoFC suit after a GAO loss and the second would require a protestor to pay certain costs to the Government if they lose a protest. http://www.pscouncil.org/News2/NewsReleases/2016/PSC_Asks_HASC_to_Forego_Protest_Process_Changes_in_FY17_NDAA.aspx
  22. Apsofacto - Howdy to you as well... I think it is nearly impossible to get all the agencies to agree on a spec for anything, much less a desk. Can you imagine a General or a Director being told they have to have the same desk as a worker? Oh my!! All joking aside, the requirements are so varied that it would be nearly impossible to do so. The GSA idea is to reduce the number of contractors from a few thousand to a dozen or so and thereby consolidating the government's requirements and leveraging our buying power. It all sounds nice but in practice it just really hasn't worked well. H2H - The Schedules program is very flawed in that regard. However, if a CO ever has the audacity to tell a contractor that they can't have a contract, they then promptly call their local congressperson and then the next thing you know, they get a contract... and then we cancelled it 2 years later due to a lack of sales. GSA is far too political of an agency (hence why I left there).
  23. Career Changes

    After 14 years working for the Army in various (mostly logistic) positions, I accepted a GS-7 position with the Army as an 1102 doing many types of contracts in a cradle-to-grave environment. I worked my way up to a GS-11 position there, but in order to move up to a GS-12 I had to move to another city and accept a position with the VA. After almost 2 years there, I accepted a promotion to GS-13 supervisory position to work at GSA in the MAS program. A year in that position, and I was fortunate to be promoted to a Director of Contracting position at GSA (GS-14). However, after 3 years in that position, I realized that GSA was going in a direction that I wasn't interested in going so I went back to the VA in a similar director's position. I spent a year there and then was offered a great position (with promotion to GS-15) at the EPA, and the office was only 3.5 miles from my house. That was a deal I couldn't pass up! I think working for different agencies doing a variety of different types of contracting is excellent for overall development. Plus, then you discover what you find challenging and what you enjoy doing. So that's 4 agencies in two cities for me over a 13yr 1102 career (27 total civil service). At 50 years old, I still have somewhere between 6-12 years to go, and I look forward to seeing what opportunities come up next.
  24. GSA's MAS program and their Strategic Sourcing programs are 2 related but different things. The MAS program is what was discussed above, whereas their strategic sourcing programs are either: a: a smaller subset of their MAS program contracts (like with MRO and OS2/3), and by "smaller" I mean less than 20 in most cases, which is quite a departure from several thousand. or b: an open market "solution" (like with their BMO projects)
  25. I worked for GSA for 4 years in the MAS program, and these numbers do not surprise me in the least. Too many companies are persuaded to get a GSA contract by hucksters out there ready to charge them thousands of dollars to help get them on Schedule, promising great profits in return, only to learn that they really aren't that competitive in the federal market. We had one case where one of these "consultants" had a company get on Schedule, and then we never heard from the company. Once we were finally able to contact them, we learned they were an Amish-owned company and didn't know they had to do things online (like list their products, respond to RFQs, etc). It was sad because they paid $10,000 to this "consultant" to get on contract. We would often try to discourage a contractor from getting on Schedule by telling them the facts, but often a consultant would instruct their client to always refer us to them. There was one company in Florida that kept getting the ire of their Better Business Bureau and each time they got caught, they would simply shut down, create a company under a new name, and go at it again. It was sad. There is a sales requirement to stay on contract. You have to have $25k of Schedule sales during the first 2 years, and then $25k each year thereafter. Since many of these small companies are only on Schedule to try to market to a local military base (or other gov't entity), they just can't be competitive enough to meet that criteria. Now that I think about it, 32.8% with $0 in sales is a low number! GSA must finally be weeded some out. We used to be closer to 40%.
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