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Vern Edwards

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Everything posted by Vern Edwards

  1. Don Mansfield wrote a comprehensive analysis of the FAR 19.000(b) problem for the September 2015 issue of The Nash & Cibinic Report entitled, "Small Business Programs Do They Apply Outside the United States?" He analyzes the case law and indicts all culprits.
  2. Vern Edwards

    31.205-26(e) clarification

    See Bain, DETERMINING THE PREEMPTIVE EFFECT OF FEDERAL LAW ON STATE STATUTES OF REPOSE, University of Baltimore Law Review (Spring 2014): . Footnote omitted.
  3. Vern Edwards

    31.205-26(e) clarification

    Isn't every clause a subsection?
  4. Vern Edwards

    Source Selection Approaches- all of them?

    FAR 15.101 uses confusing terminology. It mentions "approaches" and then discusses two "processes." But the LPTA and tradeoff "processes" are not, in fact, processes. LPTA and tradeoff are decisional rules. You can use different processes to make selections based on the LPTA and tradeoff decisional rules. For instance, when doing a tradeoff source selection you can use the standard FAR Subpart 15.3 process model or you can use a Four-Step process. Highest Technically Rated with a Fair and Reasonable Price is a decisional rule, not a process. There is more than one way to conduct a source selection under that rule. VATEP, on the other hand, is a kind of tradeoff process. Yet another tradeoff process is Simple Additive Weighting (SAW).
  5. Vern Edwards

    Relevance of the Defense Acquisition Corp

    I think that's a pretty accurate description of what happened after the future arrived. CO certificates of appointment were, indeed, handed out like candy at a Halloween party.
  6. Vern Edwards

    Relevance of the Defense Acquisition Corp

    If you think I did, then my last post failed.
  7. Vern Edwards

    Relevance of the Defense Acquisition Corp

    As usual, the discussion has descended to its LPLI. The AC was created to improve promotional opportunities for military officers who were assigned to acquisition jobs, which had long been considered a backwater secondary career filed. See Robbert, et al., Promotion Benchmarks for Senior Officers with Joint and Acquisition Service (Rand 2016): See, generally, 10 USC Ch. 87, §§ 1722b, 1731, 1732, 1734, 1735, and 1737. The only mention of an acquisition corps in the CFR is at 32 CFR 751.4(c). It is not clear to me what if any effect the creation of an AC has had on the acquisition process or on the advancement of civilian acquisition careers. It is not possible to compare the old workforce to the new, primarily because job content and working conditions are drastically different. The work of a GS-1102-12 or -13 has a much higher clerical content today than it did in the 1970s and early 1980s, because of the arrival of the desktop computer and the elimination of most clerical and virtually all secretarial support, and because of the effective merger of 1102 and 1105 GS series. For all of the emphasis on professionalism, 1102 job content is much less professional today than it was when I entered the field. How do today's 1102s compare with those of yore? It depends on where you worked in yore and which of today's 1102s you're comparing them to.
  8. Vern Edwards

    RFPs for Commercial Items

    I just finished reviewing a 132-page RFP for commercial items. It is not written in the Uniform Contract Format, which does not apply to solicitations for commercial items. The RFP does not include a table of contents. It's format does not include page breaks at the beginning of each new section. So, for instance, the "Performance Work Statement" begins in the middle of page 58, right after the end of an unrelated solicitation provision. I have seen many RFPs for commercial items like this one. Using the pdf search feature is tedious and often ineffective, because you have to guess at the wording that the author has used for a topic. Reading such RFPs is like reading long stream of consciousness passages in modern novels. Why don't contracting officers include tables of contents in lengthy solicitations for commercial items? Is there some rule, policy, or prejudice against it, or is it just a matter of neglect? FAR 12.303 does not mention tables of contents, and unlike SF 26 and SF 33, SF 1449 does not include a table of contents template, but does FAR have to tell people to do every little thing?
  9. Some of you will remember the thread in which our resident agent provocateur, Pepe the Frog, posted many controversial comments about negotiation ethics and tactics. (Said with affection, Pepe.) Well, I was wandering about in a bookstore yesterday (a Barnes and Noble in southern California) when my eyes fell on the following title: Kissinger the Negotiator: Lessons from Dealmaking at the Highest Level, by Sevenius, Burns, and Mnookin (Harper 2018). Dust jacket blurb: "In this groundbreaking, definitive guide to the art of negotiation, three Harvard professors---all experienced negotiators---offer a comprehensive examination of one of the most successful dealmakers of all time." I bought it, of course. While the book is about diplomatic negotiations, at least some of its points and tactics ought to be applicable or adaptable to contract negotiations. In any case, it appears that it will be a fascinating read. You might want to take a browse in a bookstore near you.
  10. Corduroy's problem won't be solved by finding other contractors' unit prices. The solution for him is to take a hard look at his own pricing.
  11. The awarded contract may be available through FOIA, but federal courts have ruled that unit prices are not disclosable if the contractor objects, FAR 15.506(d)(2) notwithstanding, although lawyers will argue about that. https://www.justice.gov/oip/blog/foia-post-2005-treatment-unit-prices-after-mcdonnell-douglas-v-air-force https://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=719ca28f-45dd-4c1d-861e-eaa32d1a0229 If this is something that interests you, you might want to check for the current status of the law. I have not kept up with developments.
  12. It shouldn't entail more than filling in a different set of CLIN pages for the options, signing a new cover sheet, etc. Everything else will be the same. I doubt that the agency prohibited submitting more than one proposal. The thought probably never crossed their minds. Anyway, that's what I'd do, assuming there is no express prohibition. Just make sure to send two complete and separate proposals. Put an end to all the fretting.
  13. Why not just submit two complete and separate offers, one with the discounts and one without?
  14. Vern Edwards

    Amended Solicitation - Fair Opportunity

    Next time, tell the contractors that any that do not submit an offer (or quote) in response to an RFTOP will not be notified of any amendments, including amendments that make material changes in the requirement. (I presume that such procedure will not violate the terms of your contract.)
  15. Vern Edwards

    Including Evaluation Method in Solicitation

    Strength and weakness are themselves nothing but ratings, summary judgments based on premises and proposal facts. See "Postscript: Source Selection Decisions," The Nash & Cibinic Report (June 2018):
  16. Vern Edwards

    Including Evaluation Method in Solicitation

    What does that mean? What do you describe when you describe "how" the evaluation factors will be evaluated? For instance, suppose that the evaluation factor is "Soundness of Proposed Approach" (which is a very popular factor). What kind of information would you provide in order to describe "how" that factor would be evaluated?
  17. Vern Edwards

    Including Evaluation Method in Solicitation

    Here is the notorious DOD adjectival/color rating scheme: What good does putting that in an RFP do for offerors if you don't tell them what makes an "approach" and an "understanding" exceptional, thorough, or adequate, and what would constitute a strength? There's no reason to put that in an RFP, and there's no reason not to. If you're working with numbskulls, then it's not worth arguing about whether to put that in the RFP or not.
  18. Vern Edwards

    Including Evaluation Method in Solicitation

    I have just gone through a period of reviewing every RFP I could find at FedBizOpps, and I have observed that quite a few agencies put descriptions of their rating methods (terminology and definitions) in their solicitations. However, describing rating terms and definitions is of little use to competing firms unless the agency discloses its factor measurement scales and value functions.
  19. Vern Edwards

    Amended Solicitation - Fair Opportunity

    There is no rule. Is the task order likely to exceed the bid protest threshold?
  20. No. There is no rule, although there may be "guidance" of some kind out there. See Symtech Corp., B-285358, 2000 CPD ¶ 143, Aug. 21, 2000, footnote 2: The ideal source selection team is two persons: one from the requiring activity and the contracting officer, with the contracting officer making the final decision. Voting is not a sound method of proposal evaluation. Discussion and consensus is the best method. You don't need odd numbers for that. If I were your boss and you told me that you need an odd number for voting purposes I would reject that out of hand. If you told me you need more than two I would insist that you give me logical reasons. Such reasons might include office politics, demands to placate important persons, and the need for specialty expertise. The best way to screw up any undertaking is to involve more people than are needed to get the job done.
  21. The use of LPTA presumes that the buyer has done thorough market research and built that research into criteria for technical acceptability before soliciting competitive offers. The buyer knows what she wants and knows that she does not want anything more. She then solicits offers, states her criteria for acceptability, verifies offer acceptability, and selects the one that offers the lowest price. This is a variation of the competitive bidding process that is still widely used in government and the private sector for some kinds of buys. Your "imperfect" analogy does not envision the buyer doing advance market research before going out to buy. Nor does it envision the buyer soliciting competitive bids. Instead, it envisions the buyer going shopping and then posits that the buyer would be foolish to purchase the first thing she sees. If the offer is acceptable, you don't want more, and the price is lowest, what more do you want? Your analogy is not imperfect. It's inapt.
  22. Vern Edwards

    POP Extension

    And the contractor is not entitled to an extension for just any old bad weather, but only for "unusually severe weather." See FAR 52.249-14(a). "Unusually severe weather is weather that is abnormal compared to past weather at the same location for the same time of year." See Cibinic et al., Administration of Government Contracts 5th ed., p. 495 - 96.
  23. Vern Edwards

    POP Extension

    This question was answered by ji20874. But I think you should stop listening to your COR and look into the matter yourself. Six months of government delay and weather issues in a one year contract? Give me a break. Where is the job, Puerto Rico? Houston? I think your COR is bs-ing you. Describe those "nonseverable" services.
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