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Posts posted by ji20874

  1. Oh, you weren't telling me to teach the IT pukes to design compliant systems?  

    You can take my word for it that it is common practice in multiple agencies to award IDIQ contracts without funds citations. Indeed, I just called a contracting officer in a different agency -- he said (with no prompting from me) that no, there is no funds citation in the IDIQ contract -- the recording for the minimum is not done contractually, it is done administratively.  

    I'm not defending the practice of not including the funds citation, just explaining it to you as common and current practice.  Anyway, a current practicing contracting officer tells you that it is common practice that an IDIQ contract does not contain a funds citation for the contract minimum, and you refuse to believe it?  I'm not a liar.

    Why don't you cite me proof that an IDIQ contract must include a funds citation for the minimum?  If you can cite that proof, I can share that with others and maybe we can start accommodating you.

  2. Really, Vern?  Do you really think a single contracting officer can require that his or her agency comply with your expectations of data processing system functionality?

    In today's practice in several agencies, it is common to issue IDIQ contracts without funds citations for the contract minimum.  If those agencies record the minimum as an obligation on their books, they do so administratively -- or manually, if you prefer.  The recording doesn't occur automatically, but is done by humans in the comptroller community.

  3. 9 minutes ago, Don Mansfield said:

    I don't understand that. Why wouldn't there be a funds citation? Wouldn't there have to be sufficient appropriated funds to cover the obligation?

    In all of the agencies I have worked in, including DoD a long time ago, an IDIQ contract generally does not contain a funds citation.  Sure, there are sufficient funds within the agency to cover the contract minimum, and that obligation is administratively (or manually) recorded.  Funds citations appear on the orders.

  4. 12 minutes ago, Vern Edwards said:

    The making of such a record begins when the contracting officer distributes a copy of the signed contract, which cites the account from which the funds are to be taken--a "fund citation"--to the comptroller. The comptroller then makes a record of the obligation on the agency's "books." 

    The recording process described above doesn't work for IDIQ contracts, because generally an IDIQ contract does not cite the account from which the funds are to be taken -- it doesn't provide a "fund citation" to the comptroller.  In such a case, the normal obligation recording process doesn't work for IDIQ contracts.

    20 minutes ago, Vern Edwards said:

    Sometimes all or part of that process is completed automatically through an agency's contract writing system.

    That's correct.  But when the process isn't completed automatically through an agency's contract writing system, the recording is done administratively or manually.

    16 minutes ago, Vern Edwards said:

    I don't think it's necessary to say "administratively record," but I suppose it doesn't hurt anything to say it.

    I agree.  

    The current spat began when REA'n Maker objected to my statement:  "To meet the recording requirement, an agency (1) can issue an order; or (2) administratively record the obligation on its internal books."  Hopefully, he understands the process now and no longer finds my statement objectionable.  Yes, it is fine if he understands administratively to mean manually.

  5. Good point, Vern.

    The GAO does use the adverb in some of its reports, so there is precedent for its use -- and the adverb is well understood in the comptroller communities.

    There is a good reason for this:  in many agencies, the awarding of a contract will include a funds citation, and the recording happens automatically through electronic systems -- a purchase is made and the obligation is recorded. However, for an IDIQ contract, there usually is not a funds citation, and no purchase has been made, and yet a recording still has to be done -- that recording has to be done manually, so to speak, and then has to be erased as funded orders are issued and purchases are made.


  6. 54 minutes ago, REA'n Maker said:

    I just don't understand why the mode of the accounting entry  has any practical relevance...

    For a "normal" contract, the contract creates the obligation and makes the purchase at the same time. After the contract is awarded by the contracting officer, the agency comptroller records the obligation on the books of the agency. Creating the obligation and recording the obligation on the books of the agency are two different matters and two different processes (although some agencies have automated systems that seem to effectively combine these into a single automated transaction). In the old days, there could be several days or weeks between the creating of the obligation and the recording of the obligation.

    But an IDIQ contract is different -- the IDIQ contract creates an obligation (for the contract minimum) but does not purchase anything -- it is an obligation without a purchase. Purchases will occur later, when orders are issued. Because an IDIQ contract creates an obligation without a purchase and without a citation of funds, the agency comptroller will administratively record the obligation on the books of the agency -- this is intended to be a temporary recording, which will be erased later when orders are issued.  You seem to be offended by use of the word "administrative" and "administratively" -- but these are the words the GAO uses to refer to this sort of recording.  I did not initiate this usage.

    It has a very real practical relevance.  Some agencies (the simple-minded agencies, in my opinion) decide to satisfy the recording statute by mandating that the award of an IDIQ contract must be accompanied simultaneously with the issuance of an order purchasing an amount to satisfy the contract minimum.  Other agencies (the more mature agencies, in my opinion) satisfy the recording statute by administratively recording the minimum when an IDIQ contract is awarded, and then erase these entries as orders are issued satisfying the minimum.  A contracting officer who cannot tell the difference will likely be fine as long as he or she never leaves his or her current agency -- but a contracting officer who moves to a different agency must respect the approach of his or her new agency.  And any contracting officer who wants to move up into management echelons should understand the interplay between creating and recording obligations.

  7. Non-COs obligate funds all the time, every day of the week, in every federal agency.  An obligation of funds is a legal liability to disburse funds immediately or at a later date as a result of a series of actions.  The world is much, much bigger than us and our contracts.  COs routinely obligate funds, true, but contracted dollars are only a small portion of federal obligations.  Non-COs obligate all the rest.

    For the CO-created obligations:  After a contracting officer creates an obligation, the agency comptroller records the obligation on the books of the agency.  These are two separate processes, with separate bases in law.  In some agencies, this is done electronically, and in these cases, sometimes one electronic action satisfies both processes.

    The only place in this thread where "administrative obligation" appears is in your own post.

  8. 42 minutes ago, REA'n Maker said:

    Hmmm.  Is that the contracting version of "sort-of pregnant"?

    No, it is a standard and required procedure.  Agency comptrollers administratively record obligations on the books of the agency every day of the week for all sorts of reasons.  We err if we believe that an obligation can only be recorded by citing funds in a contract -- the world is much, much bigger than us and our contracts.

  9. For a contract with a principal purpose to furnishing services subject to the Service Contract Act, FAR Subpart 22.10 requires a wage determination for all government-required performance locations.  The contracting officer may meet this requirement by incorporating several wage determinations, or by getting a nationwide WD.

    You might want to ask the contracting officer for a listing of all places where it will require contractor performance, and for a wage determination (or combination of wage determinations) that cover all of those places.

  10. Weighting?  Where does that word come from?  What requires weighting?

    Oh, you mean declaring in a solicitation the relative importance of the evaluation factors?  This is required for FAR Subpart 15.3 source selections and for FAR 16.505 fair opportunity considerations over $5.5 Milion, but it isn't required for FAR Subpart 8.4 schedule purchases or FAR Part 13 simplified acquisitions or FAR 16.505 fair opportunity considerations under $5.5 Million.  Declaring the relative importance of the evaluation factors helps prospective offerors/quoters understand the Government's needs, and helps them make their own tradeoffs as they prepare their proposals.

  11. If you are the selecting official, you select the offer that provides the greatest value to the Government.  If you think that Company A's offer provides better value (based on past performance) and you're willing to pay the higher cost associated with it, then pick Company A.  If you think Company B's offer provides the best value (based on price), and you are satisfied with whatever risk is associated with that firm's past performance, then you select Company B.

    You decide.

    It's easy.

    You err if you think this is an algorithm where the inputs you describe will dictate an outcome.

  12. 25 minutes ago, Vern Edwards said:

    Before you update CPARS, make sure you are on solid ground!

    I agree!  

    But then, when you do the CPARS report, do it factually and unemotionally -- if it is a fact that the contractor tied in the transformer incorrectly, and that resulted in a major power surge, blowing fuses all over the campus, damaging a compressor and a door controller, and cancellation of patient appointments, you may say so in the CPARS.

  13. Split Fittings:  It seems the contractor honored its warranty obligations.  That's good.

    Complete Power Outage:  You need to read para. (i) of the clause at FAR 52.246-12, Inspection of Construction, if that clause is on your contract.  You need to determine if the faulty tie-in work fits under "latent defects, fraud, [or] gross mistakes amounting to fraud."  If YES, then you might have a remedy -- whether or not that remedy will reach to the actual damages you are imagining, I cannot say.

    CPARS:  Please do an updated CPARS.

  14. I conclude that a contracting officer need not/cannot do a new NAICS code analysis for a task order because the NAICS code analysis was already done for the parent IDIQ contract, and the order opportunities must use the NAICS code(s) established in the parent contract.

    I do understand why you won't answer the questions I put to you.

  15. Vern,

    So, then, you would assert that a notice (or solicitation) for a fair opportunity task order must include all the FAR clauses where the prescribing language says to include the clause in all solicitations?

    By the way, I never said everyone else was wrong.  You are wrong to so suggest.  I said that I don't use the word solicitation to describe what the fair opportunity procedures calls a notice, because it makes sense not to, and that I believe the word solicitation was intentionally avoided.  Given a choice between believing the word usage was intentional or unintentional, it is far easier for me to believe it was intentional.  If there was no purposeful intent, then they almost certainly would have used the word solicitation.  But they didn't call it a solicitation -- they called it a notice.  Why do you think they did that?

  16. 1 hour ago, Michael11 said:

    But from an accounting perspective there is nothing that prohibits charging it as direct.

    Well, the costs have to be reasonable in order to be allowable.  In your case, does the purchasing work require the labor category qualifications (and therefore the prices) of the labor categories prescribed in the contract?  If so, more power to you.

  17. here_2_help,

    I understand -- differing interests.  The DCAA auditors want to reduce the overhead pools, and contracting officers want reasonable prices and mission-focused performance.  If I was administering a T&M contract and the contractor was burning labor hours sweeping floors and so forth instead of productive work accomplishing the mission, I would want to redirect the contractor's focus.  Let them sweep floors and charge those hours to someone else's contract.

  18. I'm not saying that it MUST result in an unsatisfactory rating -- but it can.  

    Yes, the process is subjective.  I'm okay with that.  In the scenario you described, a contractor might receive stellar ratings for the other factors, and a non-stellar rating for cost control.  That would be fair, and a future contracting officer making a source selection decision will be able to read the CO's narrative and the contractor's rebuttal.

    There are contractors out there who don't know what a LOC notice is or when to send one.  I try to help them understand.

    By the way, as a contracting officer, I am VERY serious about these notices -- I make it clear to contractors at contract kick-off meetings and so forth.  To me, a contractor's failure to give the notice robs me of the privilege of planning and taking action and protecting the Government and so forth -- I recall reading an excellent decision somewhere that paints this picture.  At the boards of contract appeal, the notice requirement is strictly construed and enforced.  A contractor's stellar technical and schedule performance does not obviate the notice requirement, and the notice requirement applies at 30 days before 85%, not at 30 days after 100%.

    So yes, on one of my contracts, I'll hammer a contractor that fails to provide a notice, because it is important to me.  If I did it to you, you could rebut and say that it isn't a big deal.  And your word would be the last word.  Life goes on.