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Everything posted by Desparado

  1. Since nobody else here has volunteered to be the "dummkopf", I will fill that role. When I arrived at my current agency to lead their regional contracting office, I found they used this exact approach for some of their IDIQ Task Order work. With the labor rates fully burdened and fixed, the only thing left to negotiate is the labor mix and level of effort. Please be kind if you call me any names since I volunteered to be the scapegoat of the conversation, but I did not see anything to be as horrifying as you have expressed. Why is this such a god-awful approach? Why would you want to negotiate labor rates, G&A, and profit every time you want to issue a task order? Yes, I think the main reason they did this was administrative convenience, but when you compare what costs you might save in all those negotiations and the time spent to do so, I don't know that you would realize any true savings. In fact, the opposite may be true. Okay, feel free to bash me, but please be kind in the name-calling... I can be sensitive sometimes <lol>
  2. There is one place where there is some comparison. One of the main issues being raised here is the thought that contractors cannot forward-price for 5 years on a fully loaded labor hour basis. That is exactly what they must do on GSA MAS service contracts. Yes, they can go lower, but they can not go higher than the previously negotiated rates, which are done in 5-year increments.
  3. i find all the objections to fully burdened labor rates on an IDIQ contract interesting, especially considering that is what the GSA MAS service contracts have been doing for more than a decade. Not trying to start anything... just making an observation.
  4. I would reach out the GSA contracting officer for that contractor's MAS contract. When I was at GSA we received complaints like this all the time, as well as TAA complaints. Since each CO deals with over 100 contractors, and each contractor can have thousands of items on their contract it is impossible for the GSA CO to monitor this. However, if you raise it to their attention they should be able to investigate.
  5. LM: Without the details I am just going to give you my knee jerk reaction to your initial post. I would be vary wary from a technical acceptability standpoint. If these positions are listed as "key positions" I would imagine the government's intent is that they focus on this project. That would be difficult if not impossible to do if they are already full-time on another project. Now if it were a program manager that may be a different story since they may be able to manage both projects, but you'd need to do some extensive elaboration in your proposal to convince me of that. Then, as Navy pointed out, questions could easily come up that perhaps they shouldn't be charging time to the first project if it doesn't require 100% of their attention. I think you may open yourself up to issues you don't want to deal with if you propose in this manner for the second project.
  6. Having been previously at the VA, I can tell you this is pretty standard for a commercial purchase of a supply. Sad, but true. I would have trimmed it down a bit by including 52.212-1 and 52.212-4 by reference which would have cut about 12 or so pages, but the lovely VAAR requires all the extra VAAR clauses. The contract specialist here did make a few errors but for the most part this is pretty much a standard RFQ for the VA if going name brand or equal. The VA's duplicity and idiotic extra requirements always bothered me when I was there. For example, why have VAAR 852.211-73 when you already have 52.211-6?
  7. Simple. Lazy contracting officers trying to verify if a business truly is small based on the NAICS and so if that specific NAICS is listed, it's easy to do. Some COs even make that a solicitation requirement.
  8. Wow, it seemed like I missed all the fun! I guess once a poster is banned their old posts are deleted. That's understandable but at the same time a shame. I would have liked to see their side of the story.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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!
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. With this recent development http://www.govexec.com/oversight/2016/06/federal-court-agencies-can-punish-employees-refusing-break-rules/129000/?oref=top-story is the FAR even something we as contracting officers can enforce. I know this case is unique and focuses more on the Whistleblower Act, but doesn't it set a bad precedent? Doesn't the FAR come from the U.S. Code and is therefore law? I always thought so but that is my ignorance apparently. This one just blew me away. What does this do for contracting officers who rely on the FAR to say no to requiring activities and supervisors when they want us to do something wrong?
  20. 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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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...
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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.
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