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Posts posted by Desparado

  1. 20 minutes ago, joel hoffman said:

    Five observations:

    1.  Table 42-1 definition of “satisfactory” would lead me to conclude that, if the supplier meets all requirements and evaluation elements without any problems, then it can be rated above “satisfactory”.

    “Satisfactory: Performance meets contractual requirements. The contractual performance of the element or sub-element contains some minor problems for which corrective actions taken by the contractor appear or were satisfactory.”

    ”To justify a Satisfactory rating, there should have been only minor problems, or major problems the contractor recovered from without impact to the contract/order. There should have been NO significant weaknesses identified. A fundamental principle of assigning ratings is that contractors will not be evaluated with a rating lower than Satisfactory solely for not performing beyond the requirements of the contract/order.”

    2. When using best value as an evaluation for a supply source selection or other comparative evaluation supply competition,  PP should probably be a minor factor.

    3. When using past performance as an evaluation factor in a supply competition, one MUST READ the actual narratives accompanying the CPARS ratings to be able to recognize what, if any, advantages or benefits merited the assigned ratings. Just because one supplier has higher ratings than another might be meaningless if the reasons for the ratings don’t reveal any real differences. 

    4. The Table 42-1 ratings definitions are actually contradictory because even the very good and exceptional definitions include statements that there were some problems. For a supply contract, if there were NO problems, technically, none of the ratings would apply - although that would be meaningless.

    5. It bugs the crap out of me when Government evaluators only use the assigned ratings as discriminators in trade-off comparisons between firms and when they write evaluation factors that only consider the assigned ratings - not the reasons for those ratings.


    The table also states that for ratings above Satisfactory that, "Performance meets contractual requirements and exceeds some to the Government's benefit", so imho simply delivering the product on time with no issues would not warrant anything above a Sat.  However, if they delivered it early (like in the example provided by Constricting Officer) that could warrant a higher rating.  I force my staff to justify to me whenever they want to give a rating above Sat how the performance was exceed to the Government's benefit.  There are too many COs and CORs that simply give out an Exceptional for doing what we contract a company to do. 

  2. This is an ever-changing situation as the government not only figures out how to deal with it's workforce, but also must consider how to handle it's contractors and their ability to perform work. 

  3. Interesting prospect.  What would be the bona fide need to use appropriated dollars to pay an unsuccessful offeror not to protest?  How much of that 9-figure dollar award amount would be considered fair and reasonable to pay?  I would think that a company would at least want 7 figures.  Would that be good use of taxpayer money?  

  4. I review the forums about once or twice a week and if I see a question that is within my area of knowledge to respond to, I do so, but most of the time I just read and learn.  

    There have been times in the past that I've felt somewhat intimidated by the responses to my responses (or at times, questions) but I just remember that this is anonymous and I move on. 

    I always recommend this site to my staff and our contract attorneys and although not all take me up on my recommendation, some do and have reported back with positive feedback.  I definitely appreciate this site!

  5. I've had both the positive and negative results with telework.  I was a director of a contracting activity that went to 4-days a week telework. I then went to an agency where teleworking was more limited.  Here are some of the pluses and minuses from my experience.

    Plus - Productivity increased dramatically.  No lost time BS'ing around the office about who won the game or who got voted off Survivor.  People were better able to focus on their projects.  Made evaluations based on performance so no real issues there (just because you see a butt in the seat doesn't mean they're working).  Sick leave usage dropped.  How many times have you been too sick to get dressed up and drive into the office but not too sick to be productive?  This way you can stay in your jammies and still get work cranked out.  

    Minus - No opportunity to learn from others' experiences.  The amount of knowledge that can be gained by hearing others talk about an issue you are also facing is immense.  Also, no chance to build/shape an organizational culture which is often vital when trying to implement change.  Tough to integrate new employees into the workforce.

  6. The Government may be asking for labor rates in order to help them determine whether the price of the change order is fair and reasonable.  For the contract, I am going to assume there was adequate competition so that the CO could determine the total price to be F&R based on that competition.  Now there is a change being ordered/requested where he/she won't be able to determine it to be F&R based on competition because there won't be any.  In order for the CO to ensure that the amount of this change is fair and reasonable without competition, they must use another method.  The most common method that I've come across in my career is to ask for the information that the Government is asking you, so that they can determine that the rates being charged and the level of effort are acceptable enough to make that F&R determination.  Without that F&R determination, the CO should not make award. 

  7. I find this thread interesting that so many good contracting minds and we cannot even come close to consensus on whether this is a service or a supply...  

    Personally, I would not call it a service and even if I were pressed into calling it a service, I would still argue that SCA doesn't apply since there are no employees.  If SCA doesn't apply, then you should be able to use the GPC since the $2,500 limit wouldn't be applicable. So call it what you want, you should still be able to argue that you can use your card.

  8. On 10/17/2019 at 2:11 PM, Retreadfed said:

    There is nothing in the FAR that prohibits contractors from receiving fee "on" travel.  Travel costs are real costs just as material and labor are real costs.  To me, in addition to there being no FAR prohibition against including travel costs in the calculation of fee, there is no logical reason why travel costs should not be used in that calculation.  BTW, fee is not profit.  Part of fee may be profit but fee also covers unallowable costs allocated to a contract.  Thus, a 7% fee may equate to only a 5% profit which is not very much.  Further, if you exclude certain allowable costs from the calculation of fee, you will reduce that profit even more.

    Honestly, I don't agree.  To me costs for travel should be reimbursed to the extent of the FTR and although they can and should get G&A, I don't believe that fee or profit should be given.  Just my opinion. 

  9. On 10/30/2019 at 8:12 AM, joel hoffman said:

    Desparado, in noticing this thread this morning,  I'm curious how this was resolved. 

    1.  Were you referring to options for follow on periods under the base MATOC ID/IQ contracts, or options for additional services under a specific task order(s)?

    2. Note that the government doesn't "award" an A-E  task order until after 1) selection of the A-E and 2) price negotiations for what can be priced. 

    3.  You wouldn't award an option for additional services under an ongoing task order until you determine or refine the specific scope and price for the necessary follow on work.

    4. If you don't want to mess with "options" in task orders for logical follow-on efforts, you can use the exclusions to fair opportunity in 16.5 to select the same A-E and negotiate a task for the follow-on work. 

    5. Bear in mind that one wouldn't logically select another A-E firm to perform non-severable type design services using the original A-E's design. Same goes for "extensions to design" work that are integral to the original design work and that require integration to maintain design integrity (You wouldn't hire Boeing to modify an Airbus plane under construction - same goes for most A-E designs during construction of the designed project).

    6.  Bottom line, remember that A-E contracting is not a source selection procedure as prescribed in parts 13, 14, or 15 .  Subpart 17.2—Options does NOT apply to A-E  contracts.  A-E selection and contracting uses a statutory, "quality based selection" process (no price competition), as described in Part 36.6. Using options for additional services in an A-E ID/IQ task order or options for additional ID/IQ ordering periods is for the purpose of defining the extent of the scope of the original QBS competition, not necessarily for upfront pricing purposes.


    Sorry it's taken me a bit to get back to you... life and all..

    Sadly, I lost and we are having to develop IGEs for work that we can't even define yet (both later-to-be-funded tasks and options) as the powers that be are convinced that if we don't we will have "unpriced options" that essentially are sole-source task orders.  So now we develop an IGE with our assumptions, get a cost proposal from the most highly qualified contractor and negotiate.

    I totally concur on all your other comments. 

  10. I found this conversation to be interesting... I do have a follow-on question if allowable.  

    We have a contractor that is trying to request fee (aka profit) for travel costs.  I can understand G&A to a point, but is fee permissible?  I was under then (perhaps incorrect) impression that travel should be reimbursed per the FTR/JTR but with no fee/profit.  

  11. jl - I prefer all the 8(a) contractors in a large room, and then the government program people can rotate from table to table to talk with them about their capabilities.  we won't have time to schedule a bunch of one-on-ones, individually scheduled.  This way the firms are all together (so perhaps they could even network among themselves, don't care if they do or not) and the program peeps can simply learn about each firm.  Sort of like the old GSA Expo, except MUCH smaller and more focused.

  12. 4 hours ago, C Culham said:

    I would agree that an "Industry Day" is not prohibited.  I do have some thoughts to consider.

    Why an industry day?  Why not just reach out to the contractors on an individual basis to learn of the capabilities. This independent review is allowed (and I might add encouraged) (REF. 19.804(1)(e).

    Remember 8(a) works like this.   An agency offers the project to the 8(a) program and can, but does not have to offer in the name of a particular firm.  Once accepted as an 8(a) project by SBA they do not have to provide the project to the suggested firm.  While most of the time they will, if for some reason the match can not be made as suggested by the agency, SBA can select another firm for the project.   In noting the process, limiting yourself might leave out some firms that will demand your independent effort beyond the industry day at some point.  To this point I would be asking the SBA office something like this now - If you can not match my project with my selected firm (or the firms you know about) who will be in the mix otherwise?   Doing this outreach is encouraged by Departmental 8(a) Partnership Agreements where in it is stated that - "...where appropriate, identify in conjunction with the appropriate SBA servicing office, 8(a) Participants capable of performing these requirements..."   Many times if the local district does not have capable firms (remember capable from SBA's view is that they are compliant with program rules, have their appropriate competitive mix accomplished and so on) they will extend the search and match with firms in adjacent districts.

    All in all what I am promoting is doing independent review of firms as opposed to industry day.   I know it takes more work but my personal view is the one on one with firms will allow for a more productive review where a review done in a more public eye firms might be reserved, and the government as well, in asking some very searching questions. 


    Thank you.  I have been burned by allowing the SBA to select a firm before, so I would prefer to know of several firms that can do the work that we do and their capabilities so should a time come in the future, we have increased knowledge in this area.  I really would prefer to have several companies tell us at once as opposed to a parade of companies telling us over several days/weeks, which is why I thought an I.D. would be perfect.

  13. 5 hours ago, Jacques said:


    The Industry Day is a means to an end or a set of ends.  You’ve already noted, “We are interested in learning about companies’ capabilities,” so you understand the Industry Day (or presolicitation conference) is a market research technique.  FAR 10.002(b)(2)(viii).

    In deciding the rigor with which you conduct this market research, consider how you might use it.  If you submit a DD Form 2579 (or whatever form you use to coordinate with small business), and want to use the results of the presolicitation conference to support your decision to NOT set aside the effort under the 8(a) BD program, the extent the small business specialist will find the presolicitation conference market research data point useful may hinge on how well it was attended, whether the right folks were invited or attended, whether you posted the materials to FBO and encouraged firms who couldn’t participate to send in capability statements, along with the other suggestions others have already posted.

    If, on the other hand, you expect the presolicitation conference is only a small part of any market research that would be conducted in support of future contract actions, you don’t really have anything to worry about in the short term.  While there are plenty of bid protests that focus on the adequacy of the Government’s market research, those protests aren’t filed until after the agency has taken action in reliance on that market research.

    The reason is to expand our knowledge about the capabilities of 8(a) companies in this field.  It is not a presolicitation conference.

  14. Situation: I am considering holding an 8(a) Industry Day for my regional office.  It will be for 8(a) companies that work a specific NAICS that our organization uses. There is no specific solicitation or requirement on the street.  We are merely interested in learning about companies' capabilities should a sole source 8(a) opportunity occur (which does about 2-3 times a year).

    Problem:  Space is limited so we could can only permit a limited number of companies to participate

    Question;  Is there a required process in order to assure fairness to allow/disallow companies to participate, or is "fairness" even an issue in this situation? 

  15. On 9/5/2019 at 8:53 AM, PepeTheFrog said:

    How does the playing field stay level if someone doesn't submit a question in writing? Doesn't email a question by the due date? Doesn't properly read the RFQ? Doesn't attend industry day? Doesn't research the agency? Doesn't research the past procurement? 

    The examples you list are different (imho) to the government formally giving out information to only a select few contractors.  There is a reason that after questions are submitted in writing, the answers (and questions) are posted to FBO.  In order to maximize competition and keep the playing field level (aka, fairness) I would not disseminate information this way.  But that's just me... 

    Now, having said that... I do see a way this can be done fairly by posting well in advance that the call would take place, and then follow up with posting the key points of the call on FBO.  

  16. On 9/3/2019 at 3:53 PM, Constricting Officer said:

    Not only is it permissible, if the timeline for the acquisition can be moved alone by doing so, I think it is a great idea. People get to wrapped around posting QAs to FBO and no other way will work ("the way we've always done it" crap), but if there is a better way to do it for the situation at hand, why not!!!

    I would suggest keeping minutes of the call and posting them after the fact. Whether a protest could be won or not, it could save you the headache.

    So how does the playing field stay level if someone doesn't attend the conference call but still wishes to submit an offer?  Sometimes we do things because it's an appropriate way to do them.

  17. Everyone's assumptions above are accurate.  It is a multiple award IDIQ contract for A&E services. We do a QBS competition where the most highly qualified firm is selected for task order award IAW 36.6, but as a task order also has some 16.505 applicability..

    The "some" people in my organization feel that no contract, task order or anything can be awarded without being priced, period...

    I appreciate all your input.  It has been informative.

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