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Desparado

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Everything posted by Desparado

  1. I would spin that around on your PMO and have them show you where the SSEB members MUST be from the PMO office. You can show where the VAAR and FAR are silent on the issue, so I would put it to them to prove their case.
  2. That is an excellent question. I started an answer and then backspaced it out. I know that our office would say that it should be automatically set aside, but I don't know that the FAR references back that up, because of the ambiguitiy you point out.
  3. jonmjohnson - I agree and I guess I should have been more clear. I was referring strictly to the T&M/LH portion in my post. Many agencies restrict the use of T&M/LH, even if in just certain CLINs, which is one reason why agencies do not like this approach. GSA has been struggling with "other direct costs" for years and this deviation was one attempt to mitigate this issue. Shikakenin - I agree and disagree. I agree in that a contractor cannot charge the Government a markup on the items purchased using the deviation. However, some contractors have become inventive and have proposed a labor rate to manage the handing of the supplies but not charge a markup for the actual purchase of the supplies themselves. GSA has yet to weigh in officially on this practice, but in concept I don't see anything wrong with it. The difference is that instead of charging an percentage on the price of the items, they charge a labor rate for the person managing the supplies. The same approach under a teaming arrangement, because even on a teaming arrangement, only the FSS prices can be charged for the items themselves.
  4. Okay, someone has to bring down the intellectual average of the group, so here goes... 1. What is your all time favorite book? Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 2. What is your all time favorite song or album? Thriller 3. What is your all time favorite movie? Airplane 4. Who is your favorite poet? Dr. Suess
  5. Boof. Be sure to read the situations where the deviation applies. Mr. Culham stated them very well. The biggest being number 1 on his list. It can only be on a T&M/LH basis, and not FFP. This alone has caused this deviation to be less successful than GSA had anticipated/hoped.
  6. I really wish that Vern weren't so reserved. I wish he'd be more straight-forward and let us know what he is thinking.
  7. Why does 52.232-18 not apply? It seems to me based on your scenario that they are soliciting without funds being available (if they're not certified as available, they aren't available, imho). Why do you feel this is allowable under an RFQ but it is unclear for an RFP? I guess I'm just not following your logic.
  8. Adding on to my previous statement, GSA recently (within the last few months) started doing more of a horizontal price analysis with its contractor pricing. It will take a LONG time to get through all the contractors (over 19,000) and their prices, but they are on a path to reduce the amount of discrepancy between the lowest and highest prices available, especially for supplies.
  9. Boof - To answer one of your questions ("So how is that fair and reasonable"), F&R doesn't necessarily mean the lowest price, and in many cases it doesn't. What GSA does is compare the prices offered on Schedule to what that contractor is getting from their most favored customer (MFC). If they get 2% better than their MFC, or in fact get no discount from their MFC, the price is still F&R because it is at a rate that is commercially acceptable, based on the fact that they are being purchased commercially. Each contractor is being looked at individually in the MFC-concept, so Contractor A may charge $100 for a table and Contractor B may charge $120 (a 20% difference in price). That doesn't mean that the $120 table is not F&R, it just means that competition needs to be done against the Schedule contract holders (IAW FAR 8.4). I guess what I'm trying to say is that there is a distinct difference between F&R and Best Price.
  10. For me, there are 3 personal preference reasons I prefer the Hill site. 1) The Hill site has better font size (helps as I get older) 2) I prefer the FARSearch on the Hill site to that of the acquisition.gov site. 3) The Hill site is better kept up-to-date than the acquisition.gov site. For example, there were some changes made to FAR Part 8 that were effective in January of this year. These changes showed up the first week in February on the Hill site and it wasn't on the acquisition.gov site for a couple of weeks after that.
  11. I agree with the previous commenters. Perhaps one possible solution would be to set the acquisition aside for a specific socioeconomic group, thereby meeting your agency's goals and reducing the number of anticipated responses... just a thought.
  12. C100 - That slideshow was dated June 2011. It was shortly after that time that GSA began to enforce the requirement as noted above. The office I was in had several issues with the policy (I imagine they still do, I have recently left GSA). Likewise, the agencies that use the Schedules programs also have issues because for services that have unforeseen ODCs this becomes a nightmare. The contractor has to get the new ODC added to their GSA contract under one of the Ancillary Supplies and Services SIN so that they can offer it to the end using agency. There are many times, that there just isn't a lot of time to get this accomplished. This has been one reason why some agencies are shying away from the Schedules program for these types of services.
  13. Don - Since GSA has multiple awards under every socioeconomic category for each of it's Multiple Award Schedule (MAS) solicitations, I do not believe that language is in any of them.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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?
  20. I would think that the government could do a termination for convenience at any time.
  21. 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.
  22. 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.
  23. 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.
  24. 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.
  25. 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?
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