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Everything posted by August

  1. I re-read this piece every few months, and I am always glad I did.
  2. Another troublesome thing I am seeing, is that with budget contraints some agencies are conducting more "in-house" training. It's not the type of training that will meet FAC certifications, but short speciality type sessions. On the face, it seems like a good idea, but after having attended several I have found the presenters seem lacking in technical expertise, and are instead making the presentations as a part of their own development program. So, they pass on less than accurate or complete information, but are patted on the back for stepping up to the podium. That's one of the reasons I am so grateful to WIFCON. Not everyone who comments at WIFCON is an expert, but I'm able to tell good advice from bad.
  3. Thanks for Wifcon, Bob. I have leaned on this site for information and insight, for many years. Wifcon has allowed me to interact with others in ways that have helped me keep my acquisition senses about me, when others who sit nearby, seem to have lost theirs. And I always appreciate your comments in discussions. You offer levelheaded, non-judgmental wisdom. Wifcon is no small legacy, Bob. It's bigger than you will ever be able to know.
  4. There is a requirement to announce it on www.fbo.gov as a sole source. See FAR 6.302-1(d)(2)
  5. "Are any price adjustments applicable?" 25.402(a)(2) confuses me. It says: The contracting officer shall determine the origin of services by the country in which the firm providing the services is established. See Subpart 25.5 for evaluation procedures for supply contracts covered by trade agreements. The use of the term "services" in the first sentence, and then "supply" in the 2nd sentence, seems that it might imply that services are to be treated to the same type of price evaluation as supplies, but I can't find anything else that supports that interpretation.
  6. I agree with Desparado that mandated standardization has been a killer to innovative thinking and good work. It has been very painful to see good ideas dismissed, or if they are recognized, they take years to implement because so many are reluctant to consider a change. But, pledge or not, it's important that we keep thinking and looking at things anew.
  7. Kelman is suggesting an individual make the pledge to themself - not a public pledge, but a private one. If that notion or word "pledge" offends or seems inappropriate to some, they should skip it and not worry any more about it. There is always room for improvement. Kelman is just suggesting we make it a habit of looking for a way to improve rather than just repeating what has been done before. Let's face it, there are a lot of people in our offices who are happy to repeat what has been done before, and call themselves successful. I don't think Kelman is suggesting anything negative about contracting staff. But some of the responses made are evidence that there are a lot of negative attitudes amongst some of our co-workers.
  8. Macklemore. I'm especially fond of "Thrift Shop" and "Same Love" on the album "The Heist"
  9. I'll echo a bit of what KeithB18 says with my perspective. I have only worked in civilian agencies. Whenever a DOD CO has come to one of the civilian agencies I have worked at they have demonstrated a lack of ability to work effectively without policy that dictates down to the minutia what they are to do. When I have seen DOD COs enter civilian agencies in a supervisory role, I have always seen the quality of the work they supervise decline. When I have run into DOD COs in training, it seems they are use to a lot of direction, and work for a project area in which their contracting skills become very narrow. I realize the subset of DOD COs I have seen may be special, and I hear some on WIFCON that are clearly sharp people, who have really enjoyed the work that some of the large DOD contracts can provide. But I agree with KeithB18 in that a small civilian agency, where you are encouraged to think for yourself, and you have a chance to make a difference is the most satisfying. But those offices are hard to find.
  10. "Can an exempt employee, work on an SCA -covered contract (in a WD labor category)?"" Yes "and what are the implications of them doing so ?" It depends. See 29 CFR Part 541 for info on the exemptions. http://www.dol.gov/w...regulations.pdf And although I find the reasoning provided in the case linked below does not seem to provide for the conclusion that was reached, you can look to this case to see that GAO's position in 1975 was that sole proprietors can perform work under WD labor categories and not pay themselves the minimum wages: http://www.gao.gov/a.../400/394356.pdf I don't follow the questions in your 2nd paragraph.
  11. I know of no regulation or law that prohibits competition between a government entity and private sector contractors, and I've seen it done. There does not need to be a statutory authority allowing it, for it to be allowable.
  12. Napolik, I think you're right. I get puzzled when folks who should know better (perhaps not the author of that article) seem enamored of an idea that should be old news to them. It makes my agencies' leadership seem so gullible.
  13. A recent article is being held up by my agency as a description of a new concept to consider for evaluating offers. The link to the article is here: http://fcw.com/Artic...ce-luddeke.aspx I'm scratching my head trying to figure out how "low priced functionally better" (LPFB) is different than the Tradeoff process described in 15.101-1. Does anyone see how LPFB is different than an evaluation design that describes the weight of the price compared to the weight of the technical, in terms other than LPTA?
  14. It may not be worth it, but the contract could require the contractor to remediate the soil removed and provide certification the soil was free from hazmat. It is curious that a contractor would want potentially contaminated soil.
  15. I especially appreciated Judge Miller's notes that "there are evidentiary issues with the OIG deficiency report..." and "the OIG's report constitutes multiple levels of hearsay..." Too many were driven by the "optics" of the situation rather than a reasonable analysis of the facts of the situation.
  16. The ones I've been involved in have not been cost-reimbursable, or cost-sharing - but that is another possibility. We've either: - set up a fixed price that was established with both parties anticipating there would be revenues the contractor would receive from others - no adjustment to price was made at the end, but the contractor and the government considered the anticipated reveunues in the price determination; or -we've set an initial fixed price with a formula for how much of the revenue would deducted from the price in the end (we don't usually deduct 100% of the revenue or the contractor isn't motiviated to get as much revenue as possible); -or the whole price has been a formula involving only the revenue - e.g. 70% to be retained by the contractor, and 30% will be paid to the government (and yes the payment to the government went to the Treasury), and there was no cost to the government. But in any case, like you suggested, it needs to be spelled out in the contract.
  17. I've known several agencies to use such scenarios, but I've not investigated whether any agencies prohibit it.
  18. I don't have knowledge about data rights type scenarios, but I think the contracts that allow contractors to retain outside income generated by performing the government contract are becoming more common. The examples I know of are: Court Reporter contracts wherein the contractor is allowed to sell the court transcripts to others; vessel charters for fisheries research in which the vessels can sell the fish caught; shredding contracts where the contractor sells the shredded paper to recycling facilities; and I've heard of "deconstruct" contracts (vs demolition contracts) where the contractor sells materials from the "deconstructed" building. I've never heard of anything that proved a problem in the contractor accepting revenue, unless the government contract said they could not.
  19. It sounds like the Government contract did not anticipate such a scenario - but that would be the first place to look to make sure it doesn't already give guidance for the situation. I have had contracts where we anticipated the contractor would take in revenue as a result of the contract work for the government, and we addressed it in the contract by spelling out how the government's price for the contract would be adjusted in relationship to the income the contractor received from other sources as a result of performing the contract.
  20. DOECPA - you must find out what the H&W costs were and what they are now. As Retreadfed has pointed out, the price adjustment clause gives you the means to find that out. The fringe rate has no relevance to the price adjustment requirement. The cost of the fringe benefit is relevant. The government is obligated to provide a price adjustment when the cost of the new wage determination increases. The contractor certified with the contract that they did not build a contingency into their prices for anticipated increased wages and fringe benefits. If you suspect their certification was fraudulent, why was the award made? The Fair Labor Standards Price Adjustment clause is not the appropriate means to address such a concern. Your distraction with the fringe benefit rate is holding you back.
  21. The price adjustment must consider the difference in the H&W cost the contractor incurs in meeting the new wage determination requirements. Ask the contractor to provide you with what their H&W costs were at the contract award (since that was not provided originally), and what their H&W costs are after meeting the new wage determination requirements. Then the fully loaded labor rates should be adjusted by that difference in accordance with 52.222-43 (e).
  22. DOECPA: I'm confused by your comments on the fringe rate. Why look at the fringe rate instead of focusing on the health and welfare benefit? Did the original proposal show what the cost of the health and welfare benefit was? Or did it just list health and welfare as an item under the fringe rate? Hone in on the cost of the health and welfare benefit in your evaluation of a request for a price adjustement. Find out what the actual cost for health and welfare was. Find out if the cost of health and welfare must increase due to the wage determination. If the cost of health and welfare is greater due to the wage determinatino- a price adjustment is appropriate. If the cost does not go up, an adjustment is not appropriate. I'm not sure why you mentioned that the contractor could pay the health and welfare benefit in cash to the employee - the contractor can do that, but the government cannot limit the contractor to paying the benefit in cash. DOL provides a tool for price adjustments that might help: http://www.wdol.gov/pact/intro.aspx
  23. Mostly, I take away that even the Air Force is accountable to CICA. It's a good reminder that no matter what influences may be at play, whether they be time constraints from too much work, ignorance, or bullying by those of higher rank, CICA is still a requirement.
  24. I'll respond only to your question: Do we have a contract if the service being provided is at no cost? There does not need to be a monetary payment, but there must be some consideration provided by both parties. I've known of a couple of federal contracts where the contractor received benefits from the federal government other than money in consideration for the services/supplies they provided. Also, see the definition of contract in the FAR : “Contract” means a mutually binding legal relationship obligating the seller to furnish the supplies or services (including construction) and the buyer to pay for them. It includes all types of commitments that obligate the Government to an expenditure of appropriated funds and that, except as otherwise authorized, are in writing. In addition to bilateral instruments, contracts include (but are not limited to) awards and notices of awards; job orders or task letters issued under basic ordering agreements; letter contracts; orders, such as purchase orders, under which the contract becomes effective by written acceptance or performance; and bilateral contract modifications. Contracts do not include grants and cooperative agreements covered by 31 U.S.C. 6301, et seq. For discussion of various types of contracts, see Part 16.
  25. The Service Contract Act does not require that follow-on contactors pay the employees the same as the previous contract. It just requires the minimum wages of the wage determination. The wage determinations do usually provide for increased vacation benefits for longer employment. "Length of service includes the whole span of continuous service with the present contractor or successor, wherever employed, and with the predecessor contractors in the performance of similar work at the same Federal facility. (Reg. 29 CFR 4.173)" - (language per a wage determination)
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