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About ji20874

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  1. We should not turn brief explanations into debriefings -- actions under FAR subpart 8.4 are supposed to be streamlined and simplified. Unsuccessful quoters might be hopeful for debriefings as defined in FAR subpart 15.5, but contracting officers should not give them.
  2. I cannot answer the original poster’s question, but I do want to offer a thought about how we may be acting the wrong way during this time of exigency. Rather than issuing a modification to each and every DCMA contract, why not just do a system change inside the DCMA computers and automatically change 85 to 90 or 90 to 95? Wherever the computer shows progress payments suspended or reduced, leave those unchanged. Making contracting officers do modifications for mindless things like this is a tremendous waste of time, and takes them away from negotiating other changes where they could provide real value. Just an observation.
  3. The excusable delays doctrine prevents the contracting officer from terminating for default, but it does not provide for any adjustments in the contract price. FAR subpart 50.1, Extraordinary Contractual Actions, can be seen as contemplating a pandemic. It provides all sorts of remedies. The process starts with a contractor request.
  4. ji20874

    Coronavirus Impact

    formerfed, I am sympathetic. But has any agency has waived or relaxed any of the bureaucratic reviews and approvals you mentioned? Any single agency? Just one? That takes agency heads and senior executives -- that takes leadership -- individual contracting officers cannot do that. here_2_help, That Navy memo will only make things worse for Navy contracting officers. For example". "Pay all settled REAs immediately." Okay, first, the contracting officer's boss is going to ask the contracting officer to prepare a report on all REAs. Then, the contracting officer's boss is going to as the contracting officer to provide weekly (no, how about daily!) reports on REA progress. Thus, the contracting officer will not be working on REAs with the contractor; rather, the contracting officer will be satisfying the bureaucratic review and approval chain mentioned by formerfed. Multiply this for every item on your list. I'm trying to be practical -- we cannot point fingers at the contracting officer as the problem -- they are not the problem (well, individually, some of them might be, but I'm speaking more systemically). Agency heads and senior executives need to step up -- a first step might be waiving or relaxing some of the steps in the bureaucratic reviews and approvals processes. And giving cover from the top -- how any contracting officers expect understanding or support six months from now when the file is undergoing an internal audit? p.s. Our entire culture seems to be set up to take away any flexibilities that the FAR allegedly gives to contracting officers -- a contracting officer can't even blow his or her nose without getting permission from someone else. That is the problem. And six months from now, the culture will be finding fault with anything done by competent and forward-thinking problem-solving contracting officers -- and where will their top cover be then?
  5. ji20874

    Coronavirus Impact

    That's a good add, Carl. And that fits within the existing Changes clauses. The key point is that the OMB memo only reminds us of existing authorities within the contracts -- it does not grant new authorities to contracting officers.
  6. ji20874

    Coronavirus Impact

    formerfed, The OMB memo talks about three things: 1. Contractor telework. Changes clause for services already allows the Government to change the place of performance with equitable adjustment as needed. 2. Performance difficulties. It reminds us to provide period of performance extensions when contractors face problems because of the virus — extensions, not money. 3. New procurements. It reminds us of existing authorities for new procurements during an emergency. However, the OMB memo does not authorize individual contracting officers to push money to contractors. The OMB memo changes nothing — it only reminds of already-existing correct principles. It does not authorize individual contracting officers to make contractors whole from financial loss caused by circumstances associated with the virus situation. I agree that contracting officers should be engaged and should use the flexibilities they have to be as responsive as possible in contract administration. But they must not act without support from agency heads and senior executives — they need to be involved.
  7. ji20874

    Coronavirus Impact

    formerfed, It is too easy just to point at contracting officers. Really, agency heads and senior executives should be taking the lead in determining agency policies and providing direction and cover to their contracting officers. If agency heads and senior executives want the process to speed up, they can make it happen. Or not.
  8. Allowable or unallowable as a contractor cost? Or for Government agency participation?
  9. ji20874

    Coronavirus Impact

    Is it the contracting officer's duty to make sure contractors are protected from financial injury?
  10. ji20874

    Coronavirus Impact

    Allowing for a change in place of performance is already contemplated by the Changes clause for services. No problem if that is the extent of the change and price contract increase. For other non-Change matters where a contractor's costs have gone up due to unforeseen (and unforeseeable) circumstances, performance the contract is threatened, the Changes (or similar) clause won't help, and the contracting officer wants to gratuitously provide more money to the contractor, the Congress has already provided a remedy that is codified in FAR subpart 50.1, Extraordinary Contractual Actions. I hope contracting officers will available themselves of the appropriate process.
  11. ji20874

    Coronavirus Impact

    The contractual remedy for performance difficulties caused by the coronavirus situation is additional time, not additional money. I hope formerfed's observation is not universal, but only for a few cases where the Government has affirmatively changed the contract using the Changes or similar clauses. However, I fear otherwise, and can easily imagine contracting officers broadly and generously increasing contract prices solely because of alleged increased contractor costs.
  12. Be careful, Bailers. The FHWA example shows technology solutions in addition to public bid opening, not in replacement, and as a courtesy to offerors. I think you should plan on allowing the public to attend the bid opening while also announcing that you'll do a live streaming as a courtesy. If no one shows up, that's okay. But this is different than you (the contracting officer) making a decision to exclude the public from attending big opening. The public opening of bids has always been seen as a fundamental part of the sealed bid process.
  13. The clause at FAR 52.247-63 does not contain instructions for the Government; rather, it contains instructions for the contractor. The contractor simply follows the instructions in the clause. Really, it is that simple -- just do what the clause says. Make your decision and justify why a U.S.-flag air carrier was not available or it was necessary to use a foreign-flag air carrier in the statement you attach to the voucher (or invoice). The Government will agree or disagree after it reads the statement as part of the payments approval process. You make the decision if an exception applies. Drop all your emotion for the poor traveler (your words) and simply apply the text. As I understand, here are the exceptions: 1. When a U.S. air carrier is not available. 2. When the use of a U.S. carrier service would extend the travel time by 24 hours or more. 3. When a U.S. carrier does not offer nonstop or direct service between origin and destination; and . (a) Increases the number of aircraft changes outside the United States by two or more; . (b) Extends travel time by at least six hours or more; or . (c) Requires a connecting time of four hours or more at an overseas interchange point. 4. Short Distance Travel - When the flight time from origin to destination is less than 3 hours and the use of a U.S. flag carrier doubles the time en-route. Do any of these fit? . If YES, justify it in your statement. . If NO, you can still use the foreign-flag air carrier for the sake of the poor traveler -- the cost will be deducted from the Government's payment to the contractor.
  14. Does your contract include the clause at FAR 52.247-63, Preference for U.S.-Flag Air Carriers? If so, you will find your answer there.
  15. So, are you planning on doing a bid opening that is not open to the public? I think you should plan on allowing the public to attend the bid opening. You might also announce that you'll do a live streaming as a courtesy to others. Hopefully, your bid box will be available to the public up to the time of bid opening. There is a big difference between (1) you shutting out the public and (2) the public not being unable to make it for other reasons. If the public doesn't attend, let it be because of (2), not because of you. Examination of bids cannot be put of until a later time -- it happens at time of bid opening -- I have never seen or heard of it happening later -- as a contracting officer, I would never allow it to happen later.
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