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Everything posted by ji20874

  1. Request for Assistance

    apsofacto, My paper FAR from CCH shows the period and a capital letter. Yes, the period and capital letter are correct. I note that I have also noticed a few instances where electronic versions and paper versions of the FAR differ.
  2. Carl, I think we're in agreement. I started my answer from the general perspective of allowability and FAR Part 31, but I ended my answer by raising the question that you did -- what really matters is the bottom-line price -- and you're right to add that customary commercial practices should have bearing as the basis for negotiation and the price reasonableness determination.
  3. I'm okay with the GAO's decision. If Genesis (the protester) disagreed with the requirement for past performance questionnaires completed by previous customers, it should have protested this before the date set for receipt of offers. That's the rule. To wait until after it learns that it was not selected, and then to file a protest, is improper.
  4. YES NO [FAR 31.201-2( a )( 1 ) through ( 5 )] Is the contractor's cost for the effort spent in preparing the change proposal an allowable cost? If YES, then yes, the contractor can claim the cost. Perhaps your real question is whether the cost may be treated as a direct cost or an indirect cost? If NO, then the contractor cannot claim the cost. You can avoid the whole matter by using price analysis alone as the basis for your negotiation and price reasonableness determination. After all, this is a commercial item contract. If the bottom-line price is reasonable, who cares about the elements that add up to the bottom-line price? See FAR 15.405( a ) and 31.102.
  5. FrankJon, I'm glad you are here and that you're asking questions. I hope to impress on you that FAR Part 13 (including Subpart 13.5) is intended to be simplified -- that word is even included in the part's title -- however, anyone can make it as complicated as he or she chooses, and many people do insist on making it too complicated. I described an easy system using tradeoffs, and Vern described a simple system using scorings. You absolutely err in thinking you have to "substantiate every distinction between proposals (perhaps more so than in the case of a FAR 15 trade-off)." http://www.gao.gov/assets/680/674446.pdf http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/668038.pdf The bid protest cases linked above might be helpful in understanding how easy this can be. Too many contracting professionals (and attorneys and reviewers and everyone else) want to deny the "simplified" in simplified acquisition procedures. Again, I'm glad you're here and that you're asking questions. I hope this exchange is helpful to you.
  6. Oxford Comma

    I always use the series or Oxford comma, and I withstand instruction not to use it -- although I didn't know it was called an Oxford comma until I read the case.
  7. This is a tradeoff process, involving price and the other factors (quality and delivery in my example; price and past performance in Vern's example). You don't have to (and probably shouldn't) assign ratings (ratings against a standard) (although you may if you insist). In my example, if both quoters are acceptable but in comparison to each other, the first quoter has the better (lower) price, the better (higher) quality, and the better (earlier) delivery, and the second quoter has the worse (higher) price, worse (lower) quality, and worse (later) delivery, the selection decision is a very easy one in favor of the first quoter -- if it is a mixed bag, then the contracting officer has to make a tradeoff decision and FAR 13.106-3( b )( 3 )( ii ) will apply. Tradeoffs in simplified acquisitions are very traditional, and they may be done without the FAR Part 15 baggage.
  8. Many times! Why do you call this "a non-traditional evaluation method"? I think of this as standard, basic, everyday material for a GS-1102. A simplified acquisition under FAR Part 13 either uses price only or it used price and other factors. For every acquisition, you take your pick. If you want a bag of coal of a certain specified quality delivered on a certain fixed date (or window), and you aren't willing to pay a higher price for better quality or earlier delivery, you can do the acquisition using price only. Among all quoters who promise to meet the quality level and delivery date, you select the lowest price for award. But if you want a bag of coal at a minimum quality level (but you're willing to pay a higher price for higher quality) delivered no later than a certain date (but you're willing to pay a higher price for earlier delivery), you can do the acquisition using price and other factors -- here, the other factors are quality and delivery. Among all quoters who meet or exceed your quality level and who meet or beat the delivery date, you subjectively select the quoter that provides the best value to the Government, considering price, quality, and delivery. And, as stated in FAR 13.106-2(b)(3), you do all of this without a formal evaluation plan or the procedural processes of FAR Subpart 15.3, Source Selection. And you don't have to compare quotes against a standard and then select the best value -- you can immediately compare quotes against each other. It is easy. You can use these procedures for all FAR Part 13 acquisitions, including commercial item acquisitions up to $7 million under FAR Subpart 13.5. It really is easy.
  9. Retread, Thanks for your answer. I hope the original poster will back away from this rabbit hole.
  10. The Contracts Disputes Act (CDA) absolutely does not apply to inter-agency agreements (IAAs). An IAA is not a contract. An IAA is an agreement between two federal agencies. Any spat between agencies concerning an IAA is resolved (or not) by the agencies.
  11. MATOC Small Business Set-Asides

    Vern, You insist on characterizing me as an enemy of innovation, but we should be able to engage based on the merits and facts -- that's where I'm working from. I'm glad I have been able to be helpful to you in this thread. The FAR does indeed prohibit sole-source task or delivery order awards to HUBZone small business concerns (FAR 19.304(b)), SDVOSBs (FAR 19.1404(b)), and WOSBs/EDWOSBs (FAR 19.1504(c)) under multiple-award IDIQ contracts. I don't opine on whether it should or should not, but it is what it is. You seem to be offended that I was right and you were wrong regarding your assertion that FAR Part 19 gives a contracting officer the authority for sole-source task or delivery order awards to HUBZone small business concerns, SDVOSBs, and WOSBs/EDWOSBs under multiple-award IDIQ contracts, but the result of this thread is that you have now arrived at a new idea, and a workable idea -- that's good, right? WIFCON readers benefit from the professional exchange of ideas. You will be happy to know that contracting officers are already using your proposed innovation by using small business achievements and contribution towards agency HUBZone, SDVOSB, and WOSB/EDWOSB goals as part of the fair opportunity process -- but these are fair opportunity (competitive) task order awards, not sole-source awards.
  12. MATOC Small Business Set-Asides

    Vern, I can help you with understanding FAR 16.505(b)(2)(i)(F), if you are interested. FAR 16.505(b)(2)(i)(F) provides an exception to fair opportunity for task orders under multiple-award IDIQ contracts. It directly says, in pertinent part, "In accordance with section 1331 of Public Law 111-240 (15 U.S.C. 644(r)), contracting officers may, at their discretion, set aside orders for any of the small business concerns identified in 19.000(a)(3)." By its own words, it allows set-asides. It does not provide for sole-source awards. The GSA has offered an understanding to its employees as follows: Section 1331 of the Small Business Jobs Act . . . only authorizes set-asides of orders under multiple award contracts, not sole source. (https://www.gsa.gov/portal/content/113371#1) Of course, this GSA interpretation is not dispositive -- but it is an indicator. A proposed rule was released in December 2016, also based on Sec. 1331 (the Jobs Act). It distinguishes between set-asides (always competitive) and sole source for task order awards. It continues to allow competitive set-asides for task order awards for all the different categories, but changes the guidelines for sole source awards under 8(a), as follows: "The proposed rule clarifies that under the 8(a) program, a contracting officer may issue a sole-source task or delivery order as long as the value of the order is equal to or less than the thresholds at FAR 19.805-1(a)(2), the contract was set aside for exclusive competition among 8(a) participants, and the agency goes through offer and acceptance for the order." So there may be an allowance for sole-source 8(a) task orders under multiple-award IDIQ contracts, but there isn't for the other categories. We see further suggestion that a set-aside differs sole-source in the titles of some FAR sections: 19.1305 HUBZone set-aside procedures. 19.1306 HUBZone sole source awards. 19.1405 Service-disabled veteran-owned small business set-aside procedures. 19.1406 Sole source awards to service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns. See? Set-asides are different than sole-source. And FAR 16.505(b)(2)(i)(F) only authorizes set-asides. Even so, you declare that FAR Part 19 gives a contracting officer authority for sole-source task order awards under multiple-award contracts. I disagree, again, based on the FAR. FAR Subpart 19.13 covers the HUBZone program, but FAR 19.1304 says explicitly that the subpart does not apply to orders under indefinite-delivery contracts. FAR Subpart 19.14 covers the Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned program, but 19.1404 says the subpart does not apply to orders under indefinite-delivery contracts. So clearly, the authority for a sole-source task order awards (such as a HUBZone or SDVOSB award) does not come from FAR Part 19. You are unkind in charging that anyone who disagrees with you is an enemy to innovation. That is not true. I disagree with you in this matter because I am able to read the very clear words of the FAR. Were you unaware of FAR 19.1304(b) and 19.1404(b)? Are they unclear?
  13. MATOC Small Business Set-Asides

    Works for me -- each awarded contract is based on one set-aside approach. Doing a fair opportunity consideration for a task order among all the contract awardees: easy. But restricting consideration for a task order to only one contract awardee, such as the single HUBZone contractor, requires an exception for fair opportunity -- does the exception in FAR 16.505(b)(2)(i)(F) allow for sole source awards? Or, since that exception is for a set-aside, does it require having more than one eligible contractor eligible to participate?
  14. MATOC Small Business Set-Asides

    Wrong. A set-aside is not Full and Open Competition (FAR Subpart 6.1). Rather, a set-aside is Full and Open Competition After Exclusion of Sources (FAR Subpart 6.2). Don already refuted your statement that set-asides are not exceptions, so I won't re-make that argument. I agree. That's why I said take your pick. Choose one, "any" one. I wouldn't support a mix-and-match approach. But if j_dude77's chain is comfortable with a mix-and-match approach, more power to him. My only request would be to let us know if it works.
  15. MATOC Small Business Set-Asides

    Another opinion for j_dude77's consideration... You want to let 8(a), HUBZone, SDVOSB and EDWOSB firms compete, but not all small businesses? Not regular SBs, not WOSBs? If you did a simple set-aside for all small businesses, you would be covered by FAR 6.203. But there is no authority for a mix-and-match approach. Your authority for a set-aside has to be one of the options in FAR 6.203 (all small businesses), 6.204 (8(a)), 6.205 (HUBZone), 6.206 (service-disabled veteran-owned), 6.207 (EDWOSB or WOSB), or 6.208 (local firms during a disaster or emergency). Take you pick. I generally agree with reading things as broadly as possible. But here, as Don already pointed out, we have regulation that requires full and open competition unless a limited exception applies (FAR 6.101(a)). All of the above (FAR 6.203 (all small businesses), 6.204 (8(a)), 6.205 (HUBZone), 6.206 (service-disabled veteran-owned), 6.207 (EDWOSB or WOSB), or 6.208 (local firms during a disaster or emergency)) are authorized exceptions. A mix-and-match approach is not one of the approved limited exceptions. Best wishes.
  16. Exit, COST-REIMBURSEMENT CONTRACTS Whether or not these costs may be reimbursed under a cost-reimbursement contract as direct costs depends on the terms of the contract. Whether or not these costs may be reimbursed under a cost-reimbursement contract as indirect costs depends on the terms of the contract and the contractor's established compensation plan or practice. Time is not a cost (either direct or indirect). Cost is a cost. It is a company's business whether or not it pays an employee for time he or she spends in pre-work matters. If it doesn't pay the employee, then there are no costs and no reimbursement question arises. If it does pay the employee, then it has costs -- but even then, the costs might not be reimbursable as direct costs. FIXED-PRICE CONTRACTS If a fixed-price contract doesn't provide separate payment for entry-on-duty (EOD) requirements, then there will be no payment. A contractor's fixed price covers both work for which a direct payment is made as well as any incidental work. If I was the contracting officer for a cost-reimbursement contract where I learned that a contractor employee spent contract time doing e-QIP or a polygraph test for another contract, I would disallow those costs as a direct charge on my contract. On a fixed-price contract, I would aver that the contractor was in breach because the employee was not performing contract work. When I draft service contracts, I customarily do not provide a separate payment for EOD efforts -- I only provide payment for productive work. I consider any costs of getting an employee ready to work to be costs of doing business, which any prudent contractor knows how to cover. Best wishes...
  17. Awarding to More Awardees

    Issuing a solicitation amendment under FAR 15.206( c ) and inviting new proposals does not constitute discussions.
  18. Go to https://www.opm.gov/faqs/topic/training/index.aspx and click on " What is the spending limit for the SF-182?" The OPM Training Policy Handbook is in revision at present and is not available on the OPM website.
  19. Use the SF-182 process the right way and let the SF-182 serve as the paying mechanism. No purchase order, no Government Purchase Card. Some agencies do this, and some don't.
  20. Service Contract Act

    A sad humor, with irony. If the contractor agreed to the modification without reading the text, then I am wholly unsympathetic. However, it can be a learning experience, so I am glad it was posted here. I hope other contractors will learn -- and other contracting officers, too. Even now, the contractor can beg to have the clause removed from the contract.
  21. Service Contract Act

    Not much. The parties to the contract (both of them) had a duty to make sure the terms and conditions were correct. I want to give them the benefit of the doubt, and I want to presume that a contract is correct as written. However, if an error was made, it is very easy to fix.
  22. Service Contract Act

    awayforward, Your company was not required to agree to the addition of the clause to your ten-year-old contract. One presumes your agreement was voluntary and supported by an exchange of consideration.
  23. Service Contract Act

    Retreadfed, Yes. You would agree, right? If the clause doesn't belong, it wouldn't have been included in the first place. If it was put there erroneously, it may be easily removed by modification.
  24. Service Contract Act

    If we're talking about FAR Subpart 4.17, then discussions of SCA or professional services is irrelevant. awayforward, I cannot make any sense of your original posting. There is one simple question that you must answer. Does your contract (or parent contract for your order) contain either of the clauses at FAR 52.204-14 or -15? Select One: YES or NO. If YES, then you must comply with the clause and make the report in SAM, period. Forget about SCA and WDs -- they are irrelevant to the matter at hand. You report direct labor services performed under the contract, whether professional, SCA, construction, or any other services. If NO, then you don't need to make the report, period, Period. This really is a simple YES or NO question. Best wishes...
  25. FAR 8.405-4 says we may request a price reduction at any time before placing an order. I'm wondering about the opinion of WIFCON readers on requesting a price reduction to a specific price. For example, imagine I receive three quotes at $101,000, $100,000, and $99,000, all three with a perfect and identical level of effort and skill mix and all three at reasonable prices, in comparison to my government estimate and available budget of $98,000. I already know I may ask all quoters for non-specific price reductions and cross my fingers and hope that at least one comes back at $98,000 or lower. But here is the question: May I specifically ask the contractors for a price reduction to an amount not exceeding a specific dollar figure, here $98,000? I am aware of a 2009 GAO Bid Protest decision B-400777, OPTIMUS Corp., wherein the GAO clearly tells us that seeking a price reduction under FAR 8.405-4 from all quoters does not constitute discussions pursuant to FAR Subpart 15.3, and also a 2015 decision B-410636, Sapient Government Services, wherein the GAO tells us the same thing. Your thoughts?