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Everything posted by KeithB18

  1. My initial interest was a scenario that I think is specifically prohibited, "operational delays." Depending on your appetite for risk, even if you thought you had a 90% chance of prevailing at GAO, you may choose to settle, if settlement were a real alternative. So the settlement offer would be something approximating what GAO would tell the agency to pay when the agency loses a protest. Another scenario that I'm thinking about is a situation where an agency writes a solicitation provision that it can't comply with but doesn't realize it until after proposals are received. But really
  2. If anyone is interested, while I was researching this morning, I found a reference to "Fedmail" in the RedBook chapter 3. "Occasionally, an agency may pay money to protestors to withdraw protests simply so that the agency may proceed with its procurement operations. This practice is known as “Fedmail.” GAO, ADP Bid Protests: Better Disclosure and Accountability of Settlements Needed, GAO/GGD-90-13 (Washington, D.C.: Mar. 30, 1990), at 8, 30; Maj. Nathanael Causey and others, 1994 Contract Law Developments—The Year in Review, 1995 Army Lawyer 3 (1995), n. 50. Typically, the payment is for
  3. A thought came to my mind yesterday and I wanted to bounce it off the smart folks here. Scenario: Source selection has concluded for a nine figure procurement. There are only two offerors, afferor A, the incumbent, and offeror B. Offeror B is the apparent winner. Immediately after award, could the government enter into an agreement with offeror A that, in return for a one time lump sum payment, offeror A would forgo its right to protest to GAO or COFC? Additional questions: - Could the government do this under Alternative Dispute Resolution at 33.214? - Could the government
  4. I shouldn't have included that line regarding CPARS--pure speculation on my part. They didn't tell us why they planned to provide gratuitous services.
  5. Thank you for sharing your knowledge here. Based on what has been said here and some additional research on my end, I am comfortable receiving the "gratuitous" services. I'm not overly concerned about the lack of contractual enforcement of specifications and clauses--it hasn't been the sort of work that those things have come into conflict. What I don't think make sense is to issue a modification saying that the contractor is going to provide $xxx,xxx in "gratuitous" services as that would imply that the terms and conditions of the contract cover the gratuitous portion. Confirming via email se
  6. I'm trying to broker a compromise based on this. If we fund it but the contractor never invoices for it, great. No worries. The funds are two year money so as long as we do our jobs efficiently, the un-invoiced for funds will got back to the program office. In short, we can't make them invoice for hours they don't want to invoice for. This is an issue I'm working. Will update the thread if I can get to resolution.
  7. I had a strange variation on this theme arise this week. A contractor notified a contracting officer as required, but stated that even though they expected to overrun the ceiling price (T&M type GSA order) by $six figures, they were not requesting additional funding and planned to finish the effort (about six more months of effort) within the ceiling price. I know a good deal when I see one--the contractor here is effectively eating some costs in order to receive a non-negative "cost control" rating in CPARS. (The total order value is in the low eight figure range.) However, another C
  8. For question 2: - If you are a jerk in your interactions with the contracting officer you could run into problems. - I've had vendors ask me so many questions that I felt like they wanted me to write their proposal for them. Even the most clearly stated RFQ/P will be interpreted in different ways so I think prospective offerors just have to live with a certain amount of ambiguity. The CO is probably not going to be able to make it perfectly clear for everyone. - I dislike answering questions that can be answered with publicly available data. FPDS and FBO are your friend. Questio
  9. We've been calling it Hit-Rip (HTRRP). Not sure it is better than anything else, but it is something.
  10. The most fun I have ever had in contracting is when I did construction contracting years ago. So for me, that would be a big draw. I don't share the love for DOD that others here do. I was active duty for four years and supported DOD agencies as a civilian for 4 additional years and I strongly prefer civilian agencies. There is significantly less bureaucracy outside of DOD which I feel like helps me get my job done without excessively focusing on box checking. Best of luck in your decision.
  11. I would recommend against getting involved with Kickstarter unless you know the person asking for funds personally. A few years ago I was burned for a not insignificant amount when the person that posted the kickstarter failed to deliver anything, even though the project received full funding. It's been a growing problem with kickstarter. If the project does receive the required funding, it will be eventually be available for purchase (typically at a much higher price). That's the time when I'd consider purchasing it on behalf of the government.
  12. I am obviously quite late to this thread but I wasn't turned on to this approach until I was lucky enough to have Mr. Nash teach a portion of a class I attended in April. (He was really enthusiastic about it.) I am planning on using it for a rather large IT services procurement (~$300M over five years)*, but predictably enough, I'm encountering significant bureaucratic pushback up to the SPE level. I provided the Sevatac to the relevant people and have described the benefits of the approach. But I'm getting a lot of "we've never done this before" and "what do the lawyers think" and "this sou
  13. Vern, With much respect and as a person that has gone out of his way to see you speak, I think you are projecting your experience on the career field. I was active duty in the Air Force at LA AFB in the mid aughts for 3 years. I spent 18 months in a program office (GPS) and 18 months in the operational shop (61 CONS). I also did two, four month deployments during that time (Iraq 05, and Afghanistan 05-06). I bought zero things during my time in the program office--I attended endless meetings, mostly planning on ensuring that nothing actually happened. I was on an IPT of 50+ people. Contr
  14. I've been experimenting using existing data sets (FPDS and locally generated reports) to measure the performance of our contract specialists and our organization generally. Low level stuff really: How effective are we are spending appropriated funds throughout the year rather than waiting until the 4th quarter for execution? The idea is that organizations get better procurement outcomes when the contracting office has the proper amount of time to develop an optimal procurement strategy. Too often we get crappy SOWs dumped on us in August-September so we end up with crappy contracts. If I can u
  15. A couple of things I have not seen mentioned: 1.) While I recognize this isn't answering the question, if you get quotes that differ wildly from the IGCE, it might be prudent to examine the basis for the IGCE. Did they cut and paste something from the past? Did they pencil whip it just to meet the requirements of the contracting office? 2.) The FAR's language leaves the door open, IMO, for a specialist to do additional analysis above and beyond the existence of adequate price competition. I tell the specialists that work for me that if they are uncomfortable with a price being fair and reaso
  16. Dump the addiction to Myers-Briggs. It's based on junk science. Even it's inventor, Carl Jung, admitted it. Here's a good explainer with plenty of links. http://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2013/mar/19/myers-briggs-test-unscientific
  17. I have had small business call me and say that "Gov-win (I think that is the name) says this that and the other." Often the information is months old and not particularly accurate. My advice to them, if they ask, is to stop paying for access to bad information. That said, when the aggregator companies call me, I'm truthful, but curt. Most often they want to know the day a particular solicitation is being released. Sometimes they want to know things that are already publicly available. In those cases, I direct them to the resources that can answer their question. Honestly, not enough of these
  18. I had not read the decision above, but it sort of confirms my approach. I've generally provided the debrief in writing. If I get questions that I consider reasonable, I'll answer them. I haven't had one go further than that, but I would try to maintain the "reasonable" standard for follow up questions. It can't go on forever though--at some point the contractor needs to accept the decision or protest.
  19. I'd ask my client politely not to do it again while also explaining that it is my job as a CO anyway, so the PM can lessen his or her own burden by letting me (the CO) take care of that sort of thing. It is discussed above, but there is lots of confusion among program staff as to roles and responsibilities. Some of that is self-inflicted as a lot of contracting "professionals" are happy to let someone else do their job.
  20. I did contract support work for contractors at client sites before I became a Fed. I worked for five different clients in four years and I can say this: Some of them just stunk. Some will micromanage and some will give you no guidance at all. I'd recommend finding a better client. That's really your best recourse. Talking to the CO and COR is just going to piss them off. Your corporate boss just cares that you keep billing.
  21. I did a 14 slides "Contracting for Executives" presentation recently. Takes about 30 minutes to go through; I'd be happy to share with you if you want it. It is tailored to a specific problem we were having with our executives (creating personal services relationships) so it spends a bunch of slides on that issue. Just PM me if you want it.
  22. I think you'll be competitive for a GS-12. Just beware that USAJOBS is one of the most frustrating websites around and the hiring process, in my opinion, generally stinks.
  23. Below is what I have now. I've started working on formalizing this into something that we can use to train locally over the course of a year or maybe two. Read all the definitions in FAR part 2. Then read FAR part 7.1 and highlight the terms that were defined in Part 2. Discuss with your contracting officer the meaning of the highlighted words in the context of FAR part 7.1. (This is almost straight from Vern) Create and populate a matrix based on FAR 6.302-1-7 that covers the following: Exception Title, Exception Use, Level of Scrutiny/Special Requirements or Provisions. Also include the doll
  24. Fixing our career field's formal training system is a noble and needed goal. It will take a lot of resources and time with not-guaranteed positive results. I have done my best to take the approach that training starts at home. I've taken our junior specialists through a couple of the exercises Vern has posted on his blog and instituted a monthly 1 hour training session that covers practical, agency level issues. Sometimes ad-hoc opportunities come up: Last week I came across a contract from another agency that was a pile of garbage. I had our two junior specialists circle everything they thoug
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