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  1. It really depends. It depends where you want to live. For example, a GS-12 in Seattle is really not that much different than a GS-11 in Spokane. In terms of quality of life / cost of living and in terms of the duties. It always helps if you are willing and able to relocate. Whatever you do, when you go into federal service, negotiate a higher step than step 1 in whatever the grade based on superior qualifications. You only get one bite at that apple and you'll kick yourself later if you don't even try. Trust me.
  2. That sounds like a great basis for a superior knowledge claim down the road. The Government said within their advertised exhibit that they expected "x" requirement, but they really knew it was "z" requirement. They acted in bad faith to represent the requirement taking only "x" resources; we managed to negotiate to "y" cost, it ended up costing "z" which is what the Government estimated that it would cost in the first place. We want the sum certain difference of z-y. Where's my money. That is much different than setting an anchor in negotiations. Because the negotiation is focused on how to accomplish the actual requirement.
  3. I'm just going to say that a high percentage of e-mails from Government officials probably include the Name, e-mail address, and contact number for the individual; the compilation of which is ordinary and not particularly personally identifiable. This is all public information, just as your pay grade, salary, and any bonuses would be. Here's a shocking way to make a compilation of data in less than 2 minutes: Salary of Civilian Agency employees: http://www.fedsdatacenter.com/federal-pay-rates/index.php Combined with WA state voter database including address and DOB: http://soundpolitics.com/voterlookup.html And I won't tell you how to find Service Computation Dates. Show that to your security guy.
  4. Keep in mind also, that no matter how many credits you have toward a degree that you may select at a school, the school may require you to matriculate at least one full year of school in order to qualify for a degree from that institution. This is to prevent someone racking up degree upon degree by merely taking a few courses at School A, earn a degree, move on to School B, take a few courses, earn a degree, etc., etc.
  5. This is a mess. For so many reasons. I could see how a brand name justification could be legitimately approved for this at a high level, but at least some coherent supporting facts and assertions would be expected. And parts 6, 8, 16... what is going on??? Sounds like someone needs an IG audit. Because if this is the quality of what is going out publically, there's some problems in that shop.
  6. How would you combat with facts a statement that "the technical analyst determines fair and reasonable price in a sole source negotiation, rather than the contracting officer"? Specifically, in a situation where a technical analyst provides a report which applies the concepts of FAR 15.404-1 in considering proposed labor, material, and subcontractor and the report subsequently is almost entirely relied upon by the contracting officer to formulate a pre-negotiations position within a business clearance memorandum? And this arrangement is repeated for years for a similar procurement type. And what if the statement cannot be successfully refuted by the plain reading of the FAR's guiding principles and sections regarding fair and reasonable pricing? Is there case law that reinforces that the determination is made by the contracting officer and no other representative of the Government? The FAR states: "Contracting Officers shall purchase supplies and services from responsible sources at fair and reasonable prices" (FAR 15.402(a)). "The objective of proposal analysis is to ensure that the final agreed-to price is fair and reasonable. The contracting officer is responsible for evaluating the reasonableness of the offered prices. The analytical techniques and procedures described in this section may be used, singly or in combination with others, to ensure that the final price is fair and reasonable. The complexity and circumstances of each acquisition should determine the level of detail of the analysis required." "The contracting officer may request the advice and assistance of other experts to ensure that an appropriate analysis is performed." (FAR 15.404-1(a)) "Contracting officers are responsible for ensuring performance of all necessary actions for effective contracting, ensuring compliance with the terms of the contract, and safeguarding the interests of the United States in its contractual relationships. In order to perform these responsibilities, contracting officers should be allowed wide latitude to exercise business judgment. Contracting officers shall request and consider the advice of specialists in audit, law, engineering, information security, transportation, and other fields, as appropriate" (FAR 1.602-2). "The purpose of defining the Federal Acquisition Team (Team) in the Guiding Principles is to ensure that participants in the System are identified -- beginning with the customer and ending with the contractor of the product or service. By identifying the team members in this manner, teamwork, unity of purpose, and open communication among the members of the Team in sharing the vision and achieving the goal of the System are encouraged. Individual team members will participate in the acquisition process at the appropriate time." (FAR 1.102-3) "Government members of the Team must be empowered to make acquisition decisions within their areas of responsibility, including selection, negotiation, and administration of contracts consistent with the Guiding Principles. In particular, the contracting officer must have the authority to the maximum extent practicable and consistent with law, to determine the application of rules, regulations, and policies, on a specific contract." (FAR 1.102-4(a))
  7. Discussion is also "the examination or consideration of a matter in speech or writing". Look it up, dictionary.com
  8. I am always trying to make sense of things that I come across within federal procurement, but am having trouble with the latest. I came across an FBO announcement which is posted by an LLC who is the operating contractor at a U.S. Navy facility. The "contracting officer" is a person who works for this LLC. https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=56e061c25b44a5084903b86808da28de&tab=core&_cview=0 Is this an example of a Government-Owned, Contractor-Operated facility? I'm certain that it's legitimate, and maybe the term "contracting officer" refers to more of the role within the company versus a FAR defined contracting officer. Does anyone have any insight as to how such an arrangement is legitimized though? I am asking because I need to understand it so that I can understand the realm of the possible a little bit more. Cheers, DAMB
  9. Has the DACO knowingly or wilfully asked your firm to provide any false or misleading information into the response that you are going to provide to the Government? It sounds to me more like you believe the DACO is overstepping the role. Is the DACO going to be recipient and adjudicator of this audit response? If so, you may consider whether the comments represent feedback that will prevent rejection of the audit response.
  10. A few questions: 1) If the minimum guaranteed ordering amount was obligated at the time of award of the IDIQ, what was the bona fide need tied to the obligation via the first delivery order, beyond the need to make the contract binding through consideration? 2) If the minimum guaranteed ordering amount is representative of work to be performed, how much profit would have been associated with the work? 3) If the Contractor invoices for the full amount, what was the benefit to the Government and what did the Government receive? I suspect that the answer is that the first delivery order was issued for something like $2,500 with a TBD scope of work and this was never modified to actually order anything. My general feeling is that the Contractor should only invoice for a small percentage of the minimum guaranteed ordering amount which represents the profit that it would have made, if they invoice for anything at all. Most contractors won't invoice for work they didn't perform. I would nonchalantly obtain a release of claims that indicates zero dollars for the contract, then quietly close the contract out and deobligate the funds.
  11. 1. What is your all time favorite book? Ender's Game / Speaker of the Dead 2. What is your all time favorite song or album? NIN - A Warm Place / Pearl Jam - Nothing Man 3. What is your all time favorite movie? I am Legend / Heat: A Los Angeles Crime Saga 4. Who is your favorite poet artist? Vincent Van Gough And in other news, a friend offers the "The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest" 2013 contest winners, as a worthwhile read
  12. NIN - Closer (Precursor) Glitch Mob - Fortune Days White Stripes - Seven Nation Army
  13. Maybe consider the following amongst the Acquisition Team and your management as necessary (i.e. "The Government"): 1) Figure out exactly what your artifact is and why it is important. 2) Has the Government considered its courses of action? Options via contractual flexabilities or local, state, and Federal laws; and benefits, risks, costs, etc. of each option; 3) Which course of action has the Government selected?; and 4) What authority does the Government intend to rely on for its desired course of action? Is that authority valid? Go down that path on a whiteboard with the Acquisition Team, validate any assumptions along the way, and make sure that you are including all of the disciplines (Program Manager/Project Manager/Legal Counsel/etc.)
  14. You're right Vern, I mis-spoke when I stated "It does not, therefore it is not a claim. It is a request for equitable adjustment, based on what authority for such an adjustment, I have no idea because that is not stated." I will now back-pedal, but not much. This is a very interesting case. I'm actually glad to have it. When it comes down to it I acted as I did previously, in part, because of "The Claim Problem Decision Table" that's a part of The FAR Bootcamp curriculum. Step 19 states that if the Contractor has not requested a decision by the Contracting Officer then the submission is not a claim. The basis stated for this discriminator is that "Case law requires that in order for a demand or assertion to be a claim the contractor must request a decision by the contracting officer. See Cibinic, et al., Administration of Government Contracts, 4th ed., pp. 1267-1269. The request may be explicit or implied." While I had conducted a great deal of research which led to treating the submission as a claim, this decision table really caused me issue because it led me to believe that the implied request was not patently obvious and you really had to reach to determine that the letter implied a decision when in fact I knew that the Contractor did not want a written decision based upon previous discussions with the Contractor. Probably a stronger caviat in the decision table should be placed on that decisional discriminator. My interpretation at that time was that the definition of "implied" is different than is stated in this recent case: “All that is required is that the contractor submit in writing to the contracting officer a clear and unequivocal statement that gives the contracting officer adequate notice of the basis and amount of the claim.” Contract Cleaning Maint., Inc., 811 F.2d at 592. Thus, the contractor’s request for a decision from the contracting officer need not be explicit; it may be implied. James M. Ellett Constr. Co. v. United States, 93 F.3d 1537, 1543 (Fed. Cir. 1996); see also Transam. Ins. Corp., 973 F.2d at 1576 (“The statute’s broad language demonstrates that as long as what the contractor desires by its submissions is a final decision, that prong of the CDA claim test is met.”). Knowing now what I did not know then, I would have still sided with caution and considered the submission to be a claim and allow the Contractor to come back and tell me in writing that he is not seeking a written decision, instead, he is seeking to negotiate.
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