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Everything posted by Desparado

  1. 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).
  2. Desparado

    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.
  3. 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)
  4. 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%.
  5. It varies from agency to agency. Some agencies do exactly as Boof stated, while others have more stringent requirements and all justifications above the micro-purchase threshold are required to be posted. I would recommend checking with your agency's supplemental guidance.
  6. I've always been curious why, especially for an RFP where contractors are given 60 days or longer, contractors typically wait until the last day (or in some cases, the last hour) to send in their proposals? I would think if you are putting in that time and effort for a contract worth thousands or millions of dollars, you would want to get your proposal in a few days early just to avoid situations such as this.
  7. I don't know that a contractor can "demand" a government employee to do anything, much less access a contractor-owned system. Since the solicitation is required to state how a potential offeror shall submit their proposal (and accompanying data), I would not think that a contractor can require the government to utilize their system (unless such an arrangement is allowed for within the solicitation). The solicitation is the "source" that you seek. What does it say?
  8. Be very careful here. This is where GSA and the DOJ have a field day with the False Claims Act. If you withhold disclosure of a customer or group of customers that would have revealed a different BOA, then you can open yourself up to a FCA violation. Also, if you sell to a non-BOA and the price is lower than to your BOA and you did not disclose that information, you could be considered in violation of the FCA because the logic used is that if you had disclosed this other customer or category of customers, they would have been the BOA and not the one declared. It is best to disclose all discount sales information. GSA will attempt to negotiate to their best advantage, but so will you. You can argue why a certain customer or category of customers should not be declared by BOA, but if you just withhold the information and it is discovered later in an audit or by a whistleblower, you could pay some hefty fines.
  9. Some contract writing programs that some agencies use do not give the contract specialist the option on whether or not to have the check boxes available. This is why you may see them on sole source acquisitions. The system simply has the boxes available on all postings.
  10. Vern - It is odd, but the way GSA operates the FSS program is that every time an update to an FSS Schedule solicitation is done (called a "refresh"), electronic modifications go out to all the FSS contract holders that carry that particular Schedule. So, the easiest way to see a current contract is to look at the current solicitation. Back about 3-4 years ago, GSA initiated the "Goldstar" initiative which allows everyone to see what clauses are in a particular schedule/contract by utilizing GSA Elibrary as Metteec mentioned. Since some of these contracts go back more than a decade (5 year base period plus 3-5yr options), it is actually easier to use Elibrary than it is to get a copy of the contract plus countless modifications.
  11. Number 2 there sounds like you are talking about resellers/distributors. I have ran across that situation as well. When you reference the GSA Schedule contract number in FPDS-NG, it will automatically pull in the DUNS/CAGE from the GSA award. If that doesn't match the DUNS/CAGE you put in your contract writing system (example: a reseller or distributor) then you will have the situation you describe. I used to tell resellers/distributors that the order has to be written to the GSA Schedule contract-holder and that we could put in a line on the order somewhere that lists the resellers name/address, but that's all we can do. The credit for the sale would have to be worked out internally between the Schedule-holder and the reseller/distributor. As far as (1) goes, all you can do is inform people where the information is (GSA eLibrary). The due diligence to verify the information is on the CO.
  12. Why would the award and the FPDS have different CAGE/DUNS? The DUNS number awarded to a specific contract can be found within GSA's eLibrary (www.gsaelibrary.gsa.gov/), so it should be easy to make sure that the award matches the right DUNS for the GSA Contractor.
  13. It also depends on if the card is being used as the payment method, or both the purchase and payment method. When I was with DoD, we used the card as a payment method for several contracts, some of which had monthly payments of several hundred thousand dollars per month.
  14. Everyone that has previously posted is correct, but I can see where you might be confused. Let me attempt to simplify. Can you just buy the open market item based on the response submitted?: No. Since it is a "vehicle", I am going to make the assumption it is greater than $25k, and per 8.402(f), you would have you to meet the solicitation and publicizing requirements for an open market item above $25k. Can you just buy the one that is on Schedule and buy the other one from another offeror?: In my opinion, yes. As this is a Schedule buy, 52.212-1 was included in their original GSA solicitation and therefore is applicable to orders under it. Can you just bypass the non-conforming offer and go to the second lowest?: In my opinion, yes. You do not have to accept an offer that includes open market items. Nothing is "automatic". You have to make an assessment of the situation and the offers received, and make the best business decision for your organization.
  15. Michael11 - I agree with your post #5. I think you have it down!
  16. I would disagree. The government put in those "levels" because they felt that is the minimum required to perform the service. To get the award based on meeting those requirements and then switching to lower-qualified people would be at best unsavory, and at worse a contract breech. Even if it is not written in the task order, it is what was required in order to get the award and what should be maintained throughout performance.
  17. What is included in the RFP and resultant task order? The general purpose of an RFP is to state what the minimum qualifications throughout task order performance. The government typically isn't interested in a contractor proposing one set of employees and then switching them out for employees that don't meet the minimum qualifications (bait and switch, if you will).
  18. To answer the question, a "D&F" is not required, however a determination is required. I know it is incorrect, but for many contract specialists a "D&F" and a "Determination" are the same thing. Hopefully that thinking will change someday, but for now it's a very common misunderstanding. As C Culham noted in post #11, one of GSA's requirement is that "Prior to exercising an option, the ordering activity ensures that it is still in the government's best interest, i.e., that the option is the most advantageous method of fulfilling the government's need, price, and other factors considered". That would need to be done via a determination. Not a "D&F", but a determination.
  19. Metteec - Although I can't profess to know how GAO would think, considering that a contractor charging more than what is on their FSS contract would be a violation of that contract, I would think that GAO might sustain a protest. However, GAO rarely looks at FSS task orders unless the value exceeds $10M or there is a claim that the government did not evaluate in accordance with their solicitation. I do not agree that the fixed labor line items are an element that constitutes scope, or if so it is a very minor one. The scope of an FSS contract is fuzzy at best and the scope is really defined at the task order level. The Special Item Numbers (SINs) that GSA uses to define scope are very broad and in some cases knowing exactly what is and what is not within scope is difficult to determine. Now, if it absurd happens (like a contractor uses custodial worker labor to be a computer programmer), then that would be another story.
  20. Apsofacto, Since many government agencies require Firm-fixed pricing, what a GSA Schedule holder can do is create a FFP quote based upon their already agreed upon FFP rates. If/when the GSA OIG goes to look at the contractor's records they will require that the company breakdown the FFP pricing to ensure that the contractor didn't overcharge when putting together their FFP quote. However, there is no requirement that a government CO do the same thing when purchasing off of the Schedules. There are some that will, but it is not required.
  21. Slight correction... They can charge lower than the Schedule rates, just not higher. So technically it is not the "only" rate that can be charged.
  22. With the GSA Schedules program, the prime/sub is very different from standard contracting. In short, there technically are no "subs" in the traditional sense. The rates are already in the GSA Schedule holders contract and have been determined fair and reasonable and are the only rates that a Schedule contractor can charge. They cannot charge a different price for subs. They cannot charge an administrative fee for subcontractor oversight. Although the rates are already F&R, you will have to make a level of effort F&R determination IAW FAR 8.405-2(d). Please note that if you are with a DoD agency, the DFARS has a deviation in place regarding pricing issues. This is one of the things that is supposed to make the GSA Schedules program easier to use, although it creates headaches for the Schedule holders.
  23. DC1911... Check your resume. Does it emphasize your ability/experience in contracting? Does it show you can can make business/contracting decisions independently? Does it show you know how to research the FAR, the CFR and other contracting resources? I am trusting that since you have had several interviews that you are taking good notes afterwards to apply to future interviews. Before going to an interview, do you research the agency/office, try to learn what they do, and discuss some of that in your interview? I have sat on several interview panels and it is surprising how little research many applicants do prior to walking in the door. They expect they can just "wow" us with their smile and good intentions. Show that you WANT the job by putting in some effort before you walk in the door. I hope this helps.
  24. Whether their protest would be timely or not is another issue. I would think that it is not timely. However, working on the assumption that it is deemed timely... To me, the most important question will be, "How was the company that didn't offer a preapproved item considered the most highly rated over two companies that did offer preapproved items?". What were the evaluation factors? Answering those questions will give you an indication as to what their chances are.
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