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Everything posted by MBrown

  1. Don, I was following up the (correct in my view) comment by policyguy that he has "not worked by the adage that a clause is self deleting." What I mean is it is a false presumption that inclusion of an inapplicable, unenforceable, or inappropriate clause in a contract may done without harm, or the risk of harm. The inclusion of unnecessary or improper words in a contract does not render those words meaningless. The fact of their inclusion costs people time to read, as well as time and/or other resources to challenge or apply. If you were the contractor, would you not price-in such costs when preparing a proposal or a claim? The fact of the inclusion of unsuitable language in a contract does not mean that it will not be considered enforceable by a court of law. Federal contracts may be written with word processors that contain features that auto-correct as the words are typed, but federal contracts once written do not auto-correct themselves.
  2. From my perspective, a good PM is an expert at managing all of the people involved and keeping a project on target. A good CM is an expert at managing compliance the terms and conditions of the contract and with analyzing and negotiating cost factors that affect the bottom line.
  3. A good template or boilerplate ought to come with an introduction and/or instructions providing guidance on how to tailor to specific acquisitions. No one should work with the view that a clause is "self-deleting". A clause cannot self-delete. It might be found illegal, unenforceable, or unworkable, but relying on the fiction that a clause is self-deleting is unprofessional and opens the risk door wide to the prospect of claims.
  4. Hmmm. On contract awards, my favorites were: using the CAGE code for the wrong awardee; including a price and nothing more in Section B of the award; and leaving the fill-ins blank in the liquidated damages clause. Also, there was the time that I just wanted to bang heads against the wall when a co-worker sent the Government's negotiation position to the contractor with the e-mail tag-line of "Can you give me a proposal that is priced within this range?"
  5. Gwestbury, is it possible that your customer is unrealistically seeking a firm fixed price contract instead of a cost reimbursable contract?
  6. Wow! Now, I'm converted to the Modulo world. In Modulo, I can claim to be 25 years old and everyone has to believe it.
  7. Has anyone else noticed that there have been no updates to FARSITE (http://farsite.hill.af.mil) since at least January 2, 2018?
  8. VA1102, I'll offer one caution to you as you consider the jump to DoD. Depending on the agency, if your Contracting certification is not DAWIA, you might be required to recertify. I have a co-worker with FAC, who had to recertify with DAU / DAWIA courses. That stated, there is nothing wrong with refresher training. Make the jump and be welcomed aboard.
  9. It looks like it will be dealt with again. Compare provision/clause dating in FAC 2005-96 with the month and year used by Acquisition.gov.
  10. Looks like Acquisition.gov is also having trouble with how to interpret FAC 2005-96. It seems they've backdated all the provision/clause changes to "OCT 2017." I think something must've been rotten in the Swedish Chef's kitchen.
  11. Sort of makes me look forward to dinner with the family.
  12. Have you looked at FAR 6-302 and 6-303?
  13. I offer a few opinions on page limitations, font requirements, margins, etc. 1. They are used to limit the amount that the selection board and/or selection authority will have to read. If you had reason to believe that you would receive 10, 50, or 100+ proposals, would you set page limits? 2. They are used to limit the amount of text from the solicitation that will be unnecessarily regurgitated in the proposal. The selection board and/or selection authority might actually want proposals from firms that can get to the point, not waste time. 3. Limitations grant an excuse to the selection board and/or selection authority to disqualify/reject lower priced non-conforming proposals (whether fairly or selectively done).
  14. JAG: I concur with napolik and Culham, in part. In those jurisdiction of which I am aware, law firms (businesses) are not licensed to practice law. Individuals are licensed. That stated, if the business is violating that rules for the practice of law applicable to the State or Territory in which they operate, I would recommend advising the contracting officer of your allegation that the business cannot not responsibly perform. I wouldn't recommend simply recognizing a done deal and moving on. Additionally, if you believe, or know, that improper conduct is occurring, have you considered reporting the conduct to appropriate prosecutor's office or disciplinary board for the Bar of the State in which the offending business is operating? Look to your own status. Might you have a duty to make such a report?
  15. I would ask the engineer to explain how he/she intends to ensure compliance with 31 U.S.C. 1501. The overrecording of an obligation will not help Uncle Sam achieve auditability and frustrates accountability.
  16. Culham and Davis appear to hit the nail on the head. May I also add that many "free" offers involve an automatic charge at the end of the "free" period (i.e., if you do not affirmatively cancel, they continue your subscription and bill you). What happens at the end of your proposed trial period? Under fiscal law, you should have positive legal authority that allows you to proceed. If the services have any value, you may run afoul of impermissibly augmenting an appropriation by signing up for that "free trial". I recommend you consult with your agency's fiscal law counsel.
  17. High performers open the regulations and read them, frequently. Low performers use the regulations book as a desk ornament. High performers approach contract negotiations from all sides. They envision multiple potential outcomes. Low performers approach wearing blinders.
  18. For the newly appointed Contracting Officers, please recognize that your signature bears responsibility on behalf of these United States of America.
  19. Recognize that "this is the way that we've always done it", may not be the right way. Recognize that statutes, regulations, policies and procedures will change. Do not let the train leave you at the station. Recognize that mistakes will be made, but own your behavior. Take pride in your work product. Be willing to share what you learn.
  20. ICE-CO, I would also add that options give you the flexibility to revisit the potential availability of competition; and also, changes to market conditions.
  21. Based on your question, it appears you have some type of appropriation. Do you have a statutory authorization to spend those funds on an award? There is no authority to spend and appropriation without a specific authorization. What agency are you with? What color of funds do you have? What does your agency's authorization act say you may do with those funds?
  22. For me, the issue is whether I'm dealing with an "offeror/bidder" or a "prospective supplier". Relative to the former, I try to avoid pre-award one-on-one dialogues to the maximum extent practicable in order to avoid creating unfair competitive advantages. An RFI process that provides the answer to all offerors/bidders is my way to go. On a post-award basis, I give as much as the FAR allows, whether a debriefing or a brief explanation. Relative to the prospective suppliers, I echo the sentiments expressed earlier. More often than not, the contact I receive is akin to "How do I get on your preferred vendor list?" I also get the name droppers with "I was speaking with BG Comeasiam and would like to meet with you to tell you how you can sole source to my company." For the serious inquiries where the prospect desires information on how to do business with the Government, I do my best to point them to helpful resources, such as SBA, PTACs, etc. Otherwise, I politely decline the requested sales meetings by explaining my need to avoid the appearance of favoritism.
  23. FAR Fetched: While I agree with Mr. Edwards that your choice of vernacular might have confused some of your interview audience, I do not believe they should have been considered too hard for the caliber of professional you were seeking. That said, the issue isn't completely private versus public sector mentality. I've known of several instances both inside and outside of Gov't service where the management candidate was lacking but had a track record of being the ______ that rises. Most recently, I had the opportunity to deal with a Gov't contracting office where the new unlimited warrant, supervisory contract specialist was a field grade officer with no DAWIA courses to their credit, let alone any certifications. So, I'm not surprised that your interview candidates may have been less than stellar.
  24. I would add that the Army National Guard has a regulation, NGR 420-10, on the issue of program validity, which unlike the USACE higher level review requirement, could halt a construction award where the amount exceeds the Government Cost Estimate. Section 5-1( b )(2) provides, in part, that the signed programming authorization remains valid if the project cost will not exceed 125% of the estimated cost AND programming is less than 2 years old. "All completed, signed NGB Form 420-Rs or DD Forms 1390/1391 remain valid only if the project does not exceed its USPFO approved scope or 125% of its estimated cost and if the form is less than two years old. In those cases, the form requires amendment, staffing, and approval as if it were a new project, before the project may continue."
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