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Everything posted by Desparado

  1. GSA will not let you charge for indirect costs under their contracts in the same way it is done commercially.. I used to work at a GSA MAS acquisition office and it is stressed that all costs must be listed. I used to oversee a schedule where indirect costs are a normal course of business under non-Schedule purchases, but under the MAS program, they are not permitted unless all items were specifically listed in a FFP format. GSA instituted several Special Item Numbers (SINs) that have descriptions such as "Ancillary Supplies and Services" where contractors are required to list all of these types of items in a FFP format. It drove us nuts, as it did our Contractors and in fact the agencies which we served. However, this was (and is) required by GSA's policy office and is enforced by the OIG offices when they do audits.
  2. Carl's post (#8) had the answer correctly nailed on the head in my opinion. When I worked for GSA in the Schedules program, we would consistently advise agencies that any 8(a) purchases (set-aside or sole-source) would need to be done through the SBA. However, when doing a competitive FSS procurement if they happened to award to an 8(a) concern, the agency would receive the appropriate SDB award credit.
  3. Formerfed, I have to respectfully disagree. I am currently FAC-C Level III certified so I have taken all the courses to achieve that level. Whether instructed by DAU or a contractor, I have not found any classroom training to be beneficial. I think that before we pass judgement that this "game" idea is a bad one, I would like to see it in application. I often see on here that people say that one of the best ways to learn is from experience. Perhaps if these games were done well, it can provide some basic experience-based scenarios that can be beneficial. Will it substitute for actual on-hands experience? Of course not, but perhaps it can provide some basic information to assist in the education process.I think that the young people coming into the profession today are technology-focused, and if these games can be beneficial to their learning, I say it is at least worth a try. It has to be a far better option than what is currently available. Not only are the classes being taught today (no offense to anyone on this board who is an instructor, as this is simply my opinion) rarely if ever beneficial, but today's young people as a general rule do not learn from a classroom environment. We can argue all day about whether they should be able to learn that way or not, but that is irrelevant as most simply do not. I think that training should be tailored in such a way as to be effective, and if this game idea can do that, let's give it a try. As a side note, I have heard nothing but good things about the "Bootcamp" that is advertised here on WIFCON. Perhaps an automated game could be designed to take what this company is doing and automating it? Having never taken the Bootcamp training, I do not know if that is possible, but it sounds like it could be a money-making idea. In the interest of full disclosure, I currently work for GSA, but not in a department related to this project. My previous experience is with the Army and the VA.
  4. You are correct in that you do not have to establish a POM, however we are merely getting into a terminology discussion as to whether seeking additional discounts constitutes "negotiating" or not. In my opinion, if you are attempting to get a contractor to lower their pricing beyond what is originally offered, you are negotiating no matter what you call it.
  5. You can negotiate better pricing with a GSA contractor just as you would with any other contractor. In doing a FAR Part 8 acquisition, you are not tied to the restrictive definitions of "discussions" or "clarifications" as you are with Part 15, so I would recommend negotiating your heart out. I would always be mindful to be fair to all offerors/bidders and to be in accordance with your RFQ/RFP, but I see nothing that would stop you from negotiating a better price for the government. In fact, per FAR 8.405-4, if the amount is over the SAT, you're required to seek additional discounts.
  6. Extending the question just a tad... I've also always heard that the CO could be held personally financially liable if he/she signed anything improper (intentional or accidental). Is this also a myth? Or are there cases where this has been the case?
  7. I would think that the government could do a termination for convenience at any time.
  8. I believe the biggest issue is ignorance. Many contract specialists are not aware of the non-manufacturer rule. They should be, no doubt, but they aren't. When I started contracting with the Army, I was not taught anything about it and performed several improper acquisitions until the issue was brought to my attention by a small business who was upset with a purchase I was making. The rule is barely touched in the CON classes, and not discussed much in contracting offices, so it's just not as well-known as it should be. My recommendation would be as stated above and to discuss with the agency's OSDBU, and if you see multiple occurrences within one office, ask the OSDBU if they could offer a class on the topic to their 1102s.
  9. I've had 25 years of federal service, but only the last 10 in contracting. Even in that short a timeframe, I have noticed a shift in contracting that is disturbing. Instead of contracting professionals being "professionals", the wave of standardization and simplification has made the field boring and uninspiring. At the rate of this "progression", in 5-10 years there will no longer be a need for GS-9/11/12/13/14s to do the work of a true contracting professional as it is being reduced to the level where you can have a bunch of GS-4 clerks fill out the templates and then submit it for signature. Now, all that being said in those 10 years I have moved from a GS-7 up to a GS-14, so progression in this field is possible. I would recommend that if contracting is something that interests you, really get into it. Read, research, and learn so that you can grow in this field and so that you can be the person in your organization who can offer innovative ideas instead of just following the "do it quickly and move to the next project" wave.
  10. In our office, we do internal reviews of completed contract actions. These reviews are based upon our agency's Program Management Review (PMR) checklist and are a way to assist in determining quality of work completed. We review a random sampling of contract awards, modifications and options exercised.
  11. Shikakenin, FAR 8.405-5 states: (a) Although the preference programs of part 19 are not mandatory in this subpart, in accordance with section 1331 of Public Law 111-240 (15 U.S.C. 644®)-- (1) Ordering activity contracting officers may, at their discretion-- (i) Set aside orders for any of the small business concerns identified in 19.000(a)(3); and (ii) Set aside BPAs for any of the small business concerns identified in 19.000(a)(3). (2) When setting aside orders and BPAs-- (i) Follow the ordering procedures for Federal Supply Schedules at 8.405-1, 8.405-2, and 8.405-3; and (ii) The specific small business program eligibility requirements identified in part 19 apply. That seems pretty cut and dry to me, and in fact an agency may do a set-aside if they wish, however they are not mandatory.
  12. Not that I'm aware of. Question: Why would you want to know? What difference does it make? I would hope that the desire for this information isn't because the amount of your proposal would be different based on whether the acquisition is competitive or not, so if not... why would your company want to know?
  13. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, but I agree with Ji20874. When the contractor submits an offer in response to a solicitation that contains this clause, they are agreeing to the acceptance of this requirement. Failure to follow through would be a violation of there terms of the contract. As slow as changes are made the FAR, I wouldn't look for any change (if ever) to come anytime soon.
  14. Right or wrong, I believe many "boots on the ground" COs feel they do not have the flexibility to make process improvements. The increase of the S-word (standardization) and mandated procurement methods (example: Army MICC mandating use of Fed Bid for product procurements), combined with heavy workloads and a less-experienced acquisition workforce lead to the situation where we are at today. I do not believe making a pledge (public or private) will improve upon that.
  15. As part of the Option evaluation process, your GSA CO should require your company to re-represent its size status. As stated by Napolik, as this contract is longer than 5 years in duration (when considering options), a contractor must re-represent their size status 60-120 days prior to the date specified in the contract for exercising any option thereafter. Therefore a simple answer to your question is No, your company's size at award does not stay valid for the 20-year possible term of the contract. If your company is now "other than small", it will have to have a sub-contracting plan.
  16. I do not have a reference to point to, but I believe your initial thought was correct. I believe funding with FY13 funds for performance that does not begin until December would be improper (and perhaps against fiscal law).
  17. It is my opinion that if the solicitation lists these "elements" (or whatever they are called) as part of the evaluation criteria, then each of them should be listed in your SSEB report and any other evaluation documents. Otherwise, you can open yourself up to a protest stating that you did not follow the criteria as stated in your solicitation. Heaven knows I'm not nearly as well-versed as Vern is on protests, but I try to read each one as they are posted here on WIFCON and it appears to me that one of the biggest mistakes that causes the gov't to lose protests is that COs and SSAs do not follow the evaluation criteria as set forth in their solicitation.
  18. My thoughts/comments. - does the JV have to have a GSA Schedule in order to participate in a GSA solicitation issued by Agency ABC? I don't think a JV can obtain a GSA schedule, can it? Since the agency is soliciting Schedule contractors only, it would be apparent to me that the JV would have to have a Schedule contract to participate. I know of no reason that a JV could not have a Schedule. Please note there are some Schedule requirements (example, 2 years of financial statements) that would lead me to believe that the JV would have to have been in business for a couple of years before they could apply for a Schedule contract. -Does the small business partner in the JV have to have a GSA schedule in order for the JV to parcipate in the soliciation Agency ABC? The entity submitting the response to the RFQ would need to have a Schedule contract (whether it be the JV, or the small business independently). -Can we as the large business partner of the JV use its GSA schedule to respond to the solicitation if the small business partner does not have a GSA schedule? Not if it was done as a small business set-aside. The only entities that the agency should accept/evaluate offers from is small businesses with a Schedule contract. Isn't it true that as a large business, it is not necessary to use the JV at all (if there isn't a need to), and it would be better to simply team with other small GSA schedule holders ( via CTAs) and sub to a small business GSA holder in order to obtain contract awards from Govt Agency ABC? This appears to be 2 questions. 1) A CTA would not be eligible if it contained a large business (since it is set-aside for small). 2) A large business could sub for a small business, but the small business would need to have a Schedule contract, have those products/services on their Schedule contract, and could only charge up to the amount as stated on their Schedule contract.
  19. Okay, I'll be the one to go outside the group... Based solely on the scenario and the way it is written, and not any other knowledge of claims... no, it is not a claim. Definition includes: "... is not a claim under the Contract Disputes Act of 1978 until certified as required by the Act." So if it is not certified, it is not a claim under the CDA of 1978.
  20. Yes. As the definition went out of its way to clarify the "car" driver, it has by reasonable assumption defined the other two as well.
  21. I have ran into this situation before when I worked for other agencies (VA and Army). The issue is that they have to put the CAGE code of the company that holds the GSA Schedule contract since it was a Schedule purchase (which I am assuming from your post). If your reseller has a Schedule contract then they can put that on there. If they don't and only your company does, then they have to put the information of your company since it is the one with the Schedule contract. Otherwise, when they attempt to validate through FPDS-NG, it will reject because the company name, CAGE and Schedule contract number don't all agree. With some systems when they put in the Schedule contract number it automatically populates the CAGE and company information of the Schedule contractor (which can be a problem for resellers). I hope this makes sense.
  22. Joel - Yes, I read the decision and a key point was that the RFQ stated that. "The current RFQ limits competition to vendors who hold contracts under Schedule 84, “Total Solutions for Law Enforcement, Security, Facilities Management, Fire, Rescue, Clothing, Marine Craft and Emergency/Disaster Response,” SIN 246-52 for “Professional Security/Facility Management Services - Including Security Consulting, Training and Facility Management Consulting.” It was not stated in the question whether JI's RFQ had a limiting statement in their RFQ. I would agree that if JI's RFQ had language limiting who may submit a response, then it stands to reason that any response received from a contractor without that Schedule/SIN would not be accepted. Without such limiting language, I do not believe that specific GAO case would apply for the question cited here. BZ - I do not understand how do you interpret that 8.404 not to apply to acquisitions under 8.405-2? I would argue that since 8.404 is the general overall instructions that 8.404(f) does indeed apply. Since the FAR is silent on the eBuy topic but clearly states the language in 8.404(f), I stand by my original position that a copy of the RFQ must be provided. This does not state or imply that a quote received must be accepted and evaluated, merely that they are required to provide a copy of the RFQ.
  23. We deal with schedule contract holders that use subs all the time. However, they are limited in what they can charge, as they can only charge what the negotiated rate is in the Schedule contract. That discourages many "prime" contractors from doing this as they cannot charge a "pass-through" or "up-charge" for subcontract management.
  24. BZ, How does your post deal with 8.404(f)? (f) If the ordering activity issues an RFQ, the ordering activity shall provide the RFQ to any schedule contractor that requests a copy of it.
  25. I agree you have to provide to any Schedule contractor who requests it, but there are other circumstances that may factor in, and without the information I am not sure of how to reply. For example, did the solicitation state that any offerors must hold 899-1? Did the solicitation state that all responses must be through the eBuy system? If so, then any contractor that does not have that SIN would not be able to comply as only companies with that SIN awarded will have access to that RFQ in the eBuy system. Would a company that does not possess that SIN be able to meet the requirements via their Schedule contract? Under the Schedules program, a company can only sell via the Schedule those products/services at the prices/rates approved by the GSA CO. I ask this because if the company does not have 899-1 and you have deemed that Schedule to be the one that the scope of your SOW/PWS falls within, can they fulfill the requirement under whatever Schedule contract they have?
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