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Desparado

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Everything posted by Desparado

  1. Desparado

    Why all the "Award without discussions" talk?

    If those were the true reasons, I would agree. However in practice it has been my experience (and all other 1102s that I have spoken with) that the unsuccessful offerors use debriefings as a way to try to find a loophole so they can submit a protest (which statistics show they will more than likely lose anyway). Written debriefings is the only way to go, imho.
  2. Desparado

    Why all the "Award without discussions" talk?

    For my staff, they hope that (don't laugh) that the PWS/SOW and solicitation are written well enough that the offerors can submit proposals that will meet the government need without having to conduct discussions. Discussions take time that often the requiring activity doesn't have (poor planning upfront leads to a "must have now" scenario more times than not) so the goal is to release a solicitation that is clear enough that discussions aren't necessary. Also, the more interactions you have with offerors, the more likely you are that there will be a protest (personal opinion that I'm sure many here will not agree with). The same is true with debriefings, which is why the trend now is to do debriefings in writing and eliminate the inevitable back-and-forth where offerors conduct a fishing expedition to try to find a reason to protest. So, the theory is that if you write a clear solicitation, discussions won't be necessary and will save time upfront and reduce the probability of a protest. Remember, I did say it is a "theory".
  3. I understand the logic behind the generic "ask the CO/KO" that people often respond with and I don't fully disagree, but sadly enough many CO/KOs do not know the FAR as well as they should and contractors shouldn't have to suffer because of it. One of the things I like about WIFCON is that this gives a contractor a forum to ask knowledgeable contracting professionals (from both the public and private sectors) these types of questions so that they can either confirm what their CO/KO has told them or discover some regulatory references that contradict the CO/KO might not be aware of.
  4. Situation: A CO at a headquarters contracting office awards multiple award IDIQ contracts for a service. There are multiple offices across the US that have contracting officers that will place task orders against these contracts. The task order level COs are fully warranted for an amount that covers the task orders they will be awarding/administering. The HQ CO has no supervisory responsibility over the task order COs whatsoever. In fact, there is no "hard line" supervisory responsibility between the HQ contracting office and the field contracting offices. Questions: What responsibility, if any, does the contract level CO (at HQ) have in oversight of the task order contracting officers and their ordering/administration of their task orders? If it is found later that the task order level COs have done things improperly (not unethical, just wrong... like not following ordering procedures, etc), what liability does the HQ CO face, if any? I have an opinion but would like to hear yours first as I don't want to bias any comments.
  5. Desparado

    Contract Level CO Responsibility

    Excellent question... No, more in terms of internal reviews/audits. How much could the contract level CO be held responsible for the actions of the others? Do they have any responsibility? Do they have to do any oversight as the contract level CO?
  6. Desparado

    Evaluation Bias

    Question 1: The key word here is "purposely". I believe that some are more lenient with the incumbent but not intentionally. They just know their work better as they have spent the last several (in many cases) years with them. Question 2: If the questions are intelligent questions, no problem. If the questions are antagonistic or repetitive, then that becomes annoying and one starts to question the intelligence of the company asking them. If they can't ask intelligent questions, how can we be confident they can perform the work. However, I attempt to mitigate this as I never divulge to the TEP who the companies are that are asking the questions, thereby trying to keep the playing field as level as possible.
  7. Desparado

    Advice on Job Offer

    I agree with both of the points raised above. I worked for DoD (not in DC) for several years and the grades were MUCH lower (sometimes 2-3 grades) than what exists in civilian agencies. You will most likely find that the level of complexity and volume that you will do as a GS-12 with DoD is comparable with what a GS-13 does in the civilian agencies. At least that has been my experience. I also agree in that I wish you good luck!
  8. Desparado

    RFPs for Commercial Items

    I do not believe it would. After a career both in the military and in civil service (30 years combined... and counting), I can tell you that the ASVAB didn't do that good of a job of weeding out people undeserving of higher-level occupational series in the military and I don't think it would with civil service either. Where the military does weed out most (admittedly not all) of the people that shouldn't be in those positions is with it's full-time training program (aka.. AIT) after basic training. However, in civil service that would mean that you couldn't have your new employee work on anything until after months of training, and in today's short-staffed environment... that just doesn't work.
  9. Agreed on all points. This is why we start with the lowest priced proposal and when we get to one that is technically acceptable, we stop. No other proposals are reviewed. We determine F&R on several factors (IGE, past contracts for similar purchases, bid abstract, etc). Again, I don't think we really feel differently about the process. I just had an issue with the statement that price is the most important factor. In reality, if all proposals were technically acceptable, you'd be right.... but since they aren't, technical is the most important up to acceptability, then price. If we wish to continue the conversation, we probably should do so privately as I'm sure others are tired of seeing me say the same thing over and over again.
  10. Joel - The way I was interpreting what you were saying was basing an assumption that all proposals were technically acceptable, which obviously is not the case. I still contend that when reviewing proposals to determine the award that guess what? Technical is the most important to the point of being acceptable.... then lowest price. We may simply have to agree to disagree on this minor point.
  11. Joel - With the methodology I implemented in my office, the "If two or more technically acceptable offers from responsible offerors are found, the lowest fair and reasonably priced offer wins." does not apply since we don't look at any additional offers once one is found technically acceptable (starting with the lowest price and working our way up). There are several non-price factors, but all of them are on a pass/fail basis to determine technical acceptability. In practice, technical is the most important up to the point of acceptability, then price is the most important.
  12. I wouldn't say that price is, "probably the most important factor" since the proposals must first be technically acceptable. It's just that the government isn't willing to pay more for a higher quality or more innovative approach.
  13. Does it matter if they are comparable? As long as the lowest price is technically acceptable and they can perform at that price, what do you gain by comparing to the other offers?
  14. I guess I'm just missing the complexity of the situation. You have an IGE and a host of other offers received. The lowest-priced offer is evaluated against the pass/fail technical acceptability criteria. If it is technically acceptable, what do you really gain by reviewing the other 10 (or more in some cases) offers that come in? This office used to do a fully tech eval on all the offers and when I took over I asked what value did they gain from this process. The answer I received was, "None, but legal says we have to do it", so we developed language to support only reviewing until we have a technically acceptable offer and base the F&R determination on things like the other offers, the IGE, previous acquisitions for similar services and we cut down on our turn-around time dramatically. Now, when we received several low offers that missed minor requirements and were therefore not technically acceptable, we established a competitive range based solely on price (with the number of offers received and the pricing, the cutoff point was evident). This is when one protested and we defended and won. I think sometimes we try to over-complicate something that can be simple.
  15. No good deed goes unpunished.
  16. This was in my office, so if anyone has any questions on this, please let me know and I am happy to help.
  17. Desparado

    GSA - Under SAT - LPTA

    Be careful. I ran into this years ago buying furniture. 3 equal quotes. We drew lots to determine who received the award only to find out the manufacturer wouldn't allow that distributor to sell in that area because of a territory policy on their end, so we had to cancel that order and go to the awardee that was had us in "their territory". If you are dealing with 4 GSA contractors offering the same manufacturer's product you may want to verify that they are authorized to sell in your geographical area.
  18. Desparado

    Wifcon.com: My Legacy; My Albatross

    As I said in 2016, thank you.... This site is more helpful than you can probably even imagine.
  19. 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).
  20. Desparado

    Charging with Coverage

    I will restate... Many Qs, regardless of forum, will result in several As.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
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