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  1. Too many rules: If I feel like i'm walking on egg shells, i won't participate. It's a website and i know nobody personally that participates.
  2. Yeah, if you're VA you are going to want to sit down with the people at the VISN or central office or the medical sharing office and figure out how to move forward, especially if this is a national contract. VA has a process for authorizations, referrals and payments for what you're describing. As pointed out above, I have historically seen these as IDIQs that list the medical code and the medicare rate for each, and the proposals are a percentage above/below that rate. It's been a while since i've worked there, but see if you can find the Patient-Centered Community Care (PC3) contract or solicitation. I'm sure it's been replaced with something new or a different program since i've left, but that contract had a process that was similar to what I think you're describing through referrals. It might give you an idea of what internal VA processes look like, and since i don't work there and have lack of available intranet resources, i can't offer much more.
  3. I don’t remember what solicitation it was. I tried to google it and find it again on FBO but could not find it. I did find what appears to be commonly called A+B Bidding, which describes how the solicitation I saw evaluated price. Apparently federal and state DOTs use it. Top of PDF sheet 2 describes what it is. This document is dated in 2013, so I guess it’s not that new. http://onlinemanuals.txdot.gov/txdotmanuals/glo/glo.pdf From this document the multiplier (part b) is the Road user cost per day. It appears to be a value assigned for motorist delays based on wages, excess fuel, etc. as a result of road construction projects. I didn’t look at the liquidated damages clause in the solicitation I had seen previously. My guess would be if you assigned a cost per day during the solicitation, that would be the cost per day for liquidated damages. I don’t know enough about road user costs, but it appears to be a cost to the public and not a damage to the government, so I don’t know that the part B multiple would be appropriate for liquidated damages. But again I don’t know enough about the method or road user cost calculations. I just saw a solicitation that apparently was using it.
  4. I saw a state solicitation for construction recently where price was evaluated using a cost and time method. The contractor would propose their cost for the project and then the number of days from NTP to completion. The number of days was multiplied by $X and added to the cost for the total evaluated price. The awarded price was the cost portion but the evaluated price included time also as a price related factor. I suppose the idea is you could pay more for the project but get it completed faster. I don’t know if it’s new, but it was the first time I had seen it.
  5. I don't know that i'm smart enough to develop an algorithm, but i could probably come up with something for specific acquisitions. like small biz set-aside construction using sealed bid and get close. I just picked three random ones to test it out. If you knew every clause/provision you would want to look at in a specific acq, maybe reoccurring ones, you could probably make it dummy proof. Maybe just stash the individual clause/provision files in a folder and share the master document that pulls the clauses/provisions. The link will expire in 24 hours, but if you click it and then click download at the bottom you'll see what i'm getting at. https://s.amsu.ng/KHo7WJU3YgsN
  6. When i worked at the VA, I never worked prosthetics, but this may answer some of your questions. Most prosthetic are sole source procurements. See 38 U.S. Code § 8123 See VHA Directive 1081 in part below. (4) Network Contracting Officers are responsible for: (a) Complying with the clinician's prescription. The CO does not have the authority to change or override a clinician's prescription but should ensure that the prescription adequately supports use of sole source authority under 38 U.S.C. 8123.
  7. I used to follow this author's web comics. I haven't followed it in a while to know if he still posts regularly, but his website is still active. https://xkcd.com/
  8. QUESTIONS Do you think the challenge is reasonable? No in the way of using it as a hiring tool at the senior level described. The idea of submitting a writing sample might make sense in an entry level job to see if candidates might perform or not. Entry level jobs probably don't have a lot of applicants with a record of success or failure yet. I had to submit a writing sample and a spreadsheet with basic excel formulas for my first internship once. I wouldn't expect to have to do it again even at a mid-career level. Would you accept the challenge or walk away? Walk away. Why the secrecy, why only six hours? It would be one of my first impression of the organization's culture. Surprise!!! It's Friday afternoon and here's something I need done by Monday morning, a recurring thing in our organization. I don't think I'd want to be a part of that organization. I suppose that might be expected of you though as there aren't a whole lot of $180k/year jobs that are just given away. If you would accept, how well do you think you would do? If I did accept, i'd probably do below average. If I had a day or two to think about how I'd write that essay, I might actually produce something useful.
  9. You’re getting too hung up on the VA’s electronic contract management system, the instructions it gives at each provision/clause fill in, limitations associated with that system, and what the FAR tells you do. When I worked at the VA we contracted for courier services as you described and we went low price, made a responsibility determination and called it good. In my experience at the VA, I agree with your statement that these almost always get protested. Search GAO’s website for crosstown courier service and you’ll see they protest often and rarely successful, and they’re not the only ones protesting these. So, your effort to keep a protest down would be best by simplifying how you’ll evaluate quotes. 13.106(a)(2) - That's it. Do what Vern says in his first post and be done, make your life easier.
  10. Go paperless. Get rid of paper contract files. Require digital signatures for all internal documents, and external documents when verifiable. Reduce the number of reviews and re-reviews for solicitations, acq-plans, contracts, etc. Hire less 1102’s and more low grade procurement techs and purchase agents to handle clerical tasks and simple buys. Hire or contract with procurement analysts to handle data calls. Or reduce the number of data calls.
  11. I was sitting in our design team area yesterday while contracting’s area got new carpet. I just asked does 2+2 ever not equal 4, and one of them got up and drew me a picture of a clock and the math on a white board. He probably read something similar before or maybe a professor in school taught him. He’s a smart guy, but he's not that smart to come up with something like that on his own.
  12. I could prove that not to be true using Modulo Operations and a 12 hour clock to represent a 24 hour day. I think of a lot of theories as facts until disproved. I think a lot of theories can't be proven entirely.
  13. You can add non-conflicting clauses to GSA schedules. By non-conflicting i mean you can't insert clauses such as 52.243-3 when 52.212-4(c) would apply to the schedule. The homeland security acquisition manual places certain restrictions on incremental funding. See HSAM 3032.702(e). DHS also has a memo which essentially provides a deviation for their acquisition manual to specifically allow for the use of incrementally funded T&M contracts when operating under a continuing resolution (CR). I’ve seen in other agency supplements that address incremental funding during CR’s such as DTAR 1032.770. So, my opinion is yes, DHS can. Whether or not they were under a CR I don't know. https://www.dhs.gov/sites/default/files/publications/Incremental Funding Fixed Price and Time and Material Contracts During a Continuing Resolution.pdf 3032.702 Policy. (c) Additionally, all contracts and requirements using private sector financing shall be approved by the Office of Chief Procurement Officer (OCPO). The HCA shall submit the action, including legal counsel review and approval for legal sufficiency, to the OCPO for approval. (d) The minimum guaranteed quantity specified under indefinite delivery indefinite quantity contracts must be fully funded (obligated at the time of contract award.) (e) To avoid violating the Anti-Deficiency Act, fixed-price, labor-hour, and the time portion of time-and-material contracts shall not be incrementally funded. Cost-type contracts and the material portion (including, if appropriate, material handling costs as part of material costs) of time-and-material contracts may be incrementally funded provided such contracts include FAR Clause 52.232-22, Limitation of Funds, and comply with other applicable requirements. Policy On Incremental Funding During A Continuing Resolution …….The authorities granted by this memorandum expire upon promulgation of permanent policies in either the FAR, HSAM or Homeland Security Acquisition Regulation, or upon notice by the DHS Office of the Chief Procurement Officer..... (I) Policy (a) A fixed-price, Time and Materials or Labor Hour contract or order for commercial or noncommercial supplies or services may be incrementally funded only if, during a Continuing Resolution (CR), the department or Component is not allocated sufficient funds to fully fund a contract action that is otherwise authorized to be awarded, if approved one level above the contracting officer and­
  14. That's what we use is excel. If you want to be able to update a document while someone else is working on it you'll need SharePoint, which is pretty standard these days. Google docs has had this feature for a long time. Microsoft got it later. It's called co-authoring and document collaboration. Google co-author and SharePoint or word or excel and you'll find information that will tell you how to do it.
  15. I’ve heard arguments both ways that you should leave it blank if soliciting quotes, and that you should put the quote number, the date it was accepted and the items that were accepted. I think the SF1449 uses the terms interchangeably. I would just leave it blank and make sure you have several other indicators that would show the Government and contractor intended to be bound by the contract once signed.
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