Jump to content
The Wifcon Forums and Blogs

jtolli

Members
  • Content Count

    78
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by jtolli

  1. Sounds like you are a contractor. I work for the Government, and have been using the CMRA for a few years. Have you tried e-mailing the CMRA help desk? Here is what I can tell you based on my experience. I don't believe you can create any sort of "enterprise" login for the CMRA. One of the limitations I noticed with CMRA, at least on the Government side, is that once an individual (COR) "claims" a contract, then only that individual can view the specifics of that contract. There is no way to transfer the contract to anyone else. So if the person who claimed the contract moves to a new job, then their replacement is out of luck as far as using the CMRA to do any research on that contract. I would imagine their are similar limitations for those individuals with a contractor or subcontractor role in the application. As for your questions regarding administering components, contracting organization, etc., are you referring to the NDAA Elements section? If so, that is not the contractors responsibility to complete, so you need not worry about it. As stated on the CMRA Contract Details screen, "Note: COR/COTRs and Contracting Officers are responsible for entering NDAA data. Contractors are not responsible for this data.". I am not surprised that you have got little to no information from the contracting office, in my experience contracting officers and specialists know very little about the CMRA as they typically don't use it. You would be better off asking the COR for the contract, as COR's do the bulk of the data input and review on the Government side. But I will also say that many COR's don't fully understand the CMRA, and in my experience many don't use it at all. As for training, I have not heard of any such training, and to be honest don't see a need for training, it is a pretty straight forward system to use.
  2. In my experience a lot of people tend to confuse the various justification documents and formats from different parts (6, 8, 16) of the FAR. The Army's Computer Hardware Enterprise Software and Solutions (CHESS) program contracts are also Part 16 contracts, but the ordering guides instructs you to prepare justifications using the FAR Part 8 format. I just ran across a question on the Ask A Professor site when an individual asked about preparing Class Brand Name Justifications for Part 8 buys, and the answer given was that it is possible in accordance with FAR Part 6. Here is a link to that particular Q&A: https://dap.dau.mil/aap/pages/qdetails.aspx?cgiSubjectAreaID=3&cgiQuestionID=120988
  3. Good stuff sdvr! I had never ran accross that on the SEWP site before. Thanks!
  4. Also see this thread: http://www.wifcon.com/discussion/index.php?/topic/2675-three-year-pop/ I tend to use GSA as my yard stick for software maintenance now. I see how the specific product is classified on GSA. Does it fall under Special Item Number (SIN) 132-32 or 132-24? Assuming the product is on GSA of course. Based on that, I make my decision on whether it is a product (paid up front), or a service (paid in arrears). While that is not an authoritative source, it does give me some backup information that I can use as a rationale for making my decision.
  5. If you are talking about software versus hardware maintenance, then the rules could be different. Software maintenance is more well defined. GSA has definitions for software maintenance as a product and software maintenance as a service. Many of the DoD Enterprise Software Initiative (ESI) blanket purchase agreements (BPAs) also now incorporate a definition on software maintenance as a product and software maintenance as a service. For Army customers, the Army Computer Hardware Enterprise Software and Solutions (CHESS) office also has came up with a definition of software maintenance as a product and software maintenance as a service. All of these definitions would indicate that software maintenance as a product can be paid for up-front, and I would opine that as a product the term could span more than 1 year. However, software maintenance as a service could not be paid for in advance, and in my opinion could not span for more than 1 year.
  6. We wrangle with this issue all the time, and are currently dealing with it on a particular buy. The question seems to boil down to are you purchasing a supply (product) or a service? Is it a maintenance plan, or an extended warranty? See GAO Decision B-249006 where they say you can pay for warranties in advance, but not maintenance contracts. As far as what the SEWP vendor telling you about 1 year support agreements for HP equipment being gone, I don’t believe it, unless it is something that very recently came about (as in within the past few weeks). HP still has a 1 year support option available through GSA. HP is also a SEWP vendor, and when they quote on SEWP they will only allow you to pay monthly or quarterly in arrears, and will not accept up-front payment. Other SEWP vendors will want up-front payment for HP support however. See this related discussion: http://www.wifcon.com/discussion/index.php?/topic/2501-it-hardware-maintenance-supply-or-service/?hl=hardware
  7. I am very familiar with this issue, as I deal with it at least weekly. The issue I deal with is not only purchasing a "maintenance agreement" when you purchase the hardware, but then also renewing the agreement upon expiration of the initial agreement. Unfortunately it is a murky area. If you look at GAO Decision B-249006, GAO seems to draw a dividing line between maintenance and warranty based on whether periodic maintenance is provided under the agreement. However, if you are familiar with these IT equipment maintenance agreements, then you know that most only provide a break-fix type of arrangement. ji20874 provides a very good example when comparing these to health insurance. If you look on GSA Advantage!, you will typically find these classified under Special Item Number (SIN) 132-12 (Equipment Maintenance). If you look at the terms and conditions for the schedule they are on, you will typically find that these cannot be paid for in advance, but the vendor must bill in arrears, which is typical for services versus products. Whether this type of agreement is considered a product or a service does have some ramifications. For those of us who work for the Army, we have to do Service Contract Approvals (SCA) for service contracts. So, if these maintenance agreements are in fact classified as a service, then that mandates an SCA be completed. On the Army SCA form one of the FAQs is, "Is a Form required when a supply is purchased that also includes a service such as maintenance?" The answer given is, "The Form is applicable to “service contracts,” i.e. “tasks to be performed” rather than “supplies to be delivered.” If a product is being purchased and it comes with a “service,” such as a warranty, then the Form is not required. (However, a contract specifically for ongoing maintenance of equipment, vehicles, etc., does require a Form.)" Also, if the agreement is classified as a service, then up-front payments cannot be made, and payment needs to be made in arrears. Also, if these are services, then can we purchase multi-year (e.g. 5 year) agreements using 1 year funds? Obviously no. But if they are classified as a product, then we probably can purchase a multi-year maintenance agreement, and pay for the entire term up front.
  8. In my experience it has always been standard practice for potential new contractors to attempt to recruit incumbent contractor employees to come work for them if they get awarded the contract. This is nothing new. I would guess most incumbent contractors have come to expect this to happen. In fact I have seen some instances where incumbent contractors have their employees sign no compete agreements in an attempt to prevent their employees from swtiching over to a competitor who they will most likely compete against for the contract requirement. Also keep in mind that it is entirely up to the incumbent contractor employee whether they wish to go to work for a new employer (contractor) or stay with their current employer. Again in my experience, employees working for small contractors usually will be very interested in keeping a job and going to work for the new company. A lot of the big companies however have work elsewhere that they can move their employees to. But again it is up to the employee to decide what is best for them.
  9. So if the maintenance is under SIN 132 34, then it seems to me like you have a contract for both a supply (software) and a service (software maintenance). After all, SIN 132 34 is "software maintenance as a service" and the maintenance piece should not have been invoiced for full payment, but should be billed in arrears. Although I realize the contract CLIN(s) may have been set up for full payment. I have certainly seen that done, but it doesn't make it right.
  10. What is the GSA SIN? Do a search on the GSA Ebuy website for "sin 132 32". Not sure how to provide a link to the results, but here is what you will find: "(SIN 132 32) Software maintenance as a product includes the publishing of bug/defect fixes via patches and updates/upgrades in function and technology to maintain the operability and usability of the software product. It may also include other no charge support that is included in the purchase price of the product in the commercial marketplace. No charge support includes items such as user blogs, discussion forums, on-line help libraries and FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), hosted chat rooms, and limited telephone, email and/or web-based general technical support for users self diagnostics. Software Maintenance as a product is billed at the time of purchase. (SIN 132 34) Software maintenance as a service creates, designs, implements, and/or integrates customized changes to software that solve one or more problems and is not included with the price of the software. Software maintenance as a service includes person-to-person communications regardless of the medium used to communicate: telephone support, on-line technical support, customized support, and/or technical expertise which are charged commercially. Software maintenance as a service is billed in arrears in accordance with 31 U.S.C. 3324."
  11. Thanks for all the responses. I guess I did understand the question, but did not understand why we have always answered it "no". Your inputs helped me realize that we should be answering this "yes" as our contracts do directly support the integral mission of the organization.
  12. In regards to personal services contracts the subject reference reads, "Services are applied directly to the integral effort of agencies or an organizational subpart in furtherance of an assigned function or mission." What does that really mean? It would seem that most service contracts apply to the integral effort of an agency or organization in support of an assigned function or mission. If not, then why would you need to have the contract if it is not directly supporting the mission of the agency? Prior to award of any contract the Army requires a Service Contract Approval document be processed, and part of this document is answering questions relative to whether the contract would result in a personal services contract. These questions are taken directly from FAR 37.104(d) (1) through (6). We always answer "no" to the question about the services being applied to the integral effort of the agency, but no one knows why we answer no. I found a similar question on the AAP site, but the answer provided was basically that the person answering the question did not understand why the person asking the question did not understand what this particular FAR cite meant. The answer went on to partially quote FAR 37.104©(2) and say the above question is just one of the elements that must be considered when determining whether the proposed contract is personal in nature. I understand that, and understand why the question must be asked and answered, but don't really understand what the question means. Any thoughts?
  13. I deal with a lot of software (and software maintenance) buys, it is is pretty common for companies (especially big companies) not to provide option year pricing unless you are willing to pay for more than a year of service in advance, which wouldn't be an option.
  14. If the contract is a performance based service contract, then it shouldn't have been written to specify, "minimum qualifications contractor employees are required to have (skills, education, experience, etc...)". In fact, if it is an IT services contract (which we don't know if it is or not), FAR 39.104 states that contracts for those types of services, "must not describe any minimum experience or educational requirement for proposed contractor personnel", with a couple of exceptions. Certifications (professional certs, etc.) would be a different issue however. In all of my training regarding performance based service contracts I was taught the contracts should be written to focus on the (measurable) outcomes, and not the manner in which the work should be performed. The onus to provide employees who can meet the performance outcomes required should be on the contractor. In a nutshell the contractor is staking their reputation on providing employees who can meet the performance objectives and outcomes. If they hire employees who cannot, then that should be documented in their past performance record. I know there are a lot of instances where the government is part of the interview process for contractor employees, but I have also been a part of one agency that strictly prohibited that.
  15. I can tell you our contract has purchased Cisco Smartnet Maintenance many times, and it has been paid for in advance, but that doesn't mean it is right.
  16. Here is what the GSA E-Buy website says about the topic: "(SIN 132 32) Software maintenance as a product includes the publishing of bug/defect fixes via patches and updates/upgrades in function and technology to maintain the operability and usability of the software product. It may also include other no charge support that is included in the purchase price of the product in the commercial marketplace. No charge support includes items such as user blogs, discussion forums, on-line help libraries and FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions), hosted chat rooms, and limited telephone, email and/or web-based general technical support for users self diagnostics. Software Maintenance as a product is billed at the time of purchase. (SIN 132 34) Software maintenance as a service creates, designs, implements, and/or integrates customized changes to software that solve one or more problems and is not included with the price of the software. Software maintenance as a service includes person-to-person communications regardless of the medium used to communicate: telephone support, on-line technical support, customized support, and/or technical expertise which are charged commercially. Software maintenance as a service is billed in arrears in accordance with 31 U.S.C. 3324."
  17. I just found I had this bookmarked on my computer. Try this link, it seems to work: http://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/cpf/docs/contr...de/vol1_ch1.pdf Also, it seems if you change the URL you can access/download the different chapters and volumes for example: http://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/cpf/docs/contr...de/vol1_ch2.pdf http://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/cpf/docs/contr...de/vol1_ch3.pdf Etc....
  18. Cajuncharlie, Try this, type 143.84.171.115 into your browsers address bar (where you usually type the URL). See if that will get you to the site. It might give you a certificate error, and if so just click on "continue to site". If you can get to the site that way, then this is either a DNS issue, or it could be that your company firewall is set to block the URL, but they didn't think to block the IP address. Or it could be that your company is blocking sites with "invalid" certificates.
  19. When I go to the site on my smart phone it does first give me a security warning that the security certificate is not from a trusted authority. I just have to click on continue to the site. That may be the reason that some people are having issues accessing the site. You might want to go into the internet options for your browser, look under "advanced", then find "security", and uncheck anything that has to do with certificates. I would only do that as a test, and not leave the settings that way however.
  20. While it is an https site, it appears to be available to the public. I just went to the URL on my smartphone, and it allowed me to do so. But this is a web based version of the documents, versus a downloadable document.
  21. Travel would not be included as part of the $25K. Remember all that is being paid for with the GPC is the training cost. The employee would have to pay for the travel expenses with their Government Travel Card; the GPC cannot be used to pay for employee travel expenses, it's not permissible.
  22. To put some closure to this message string, we were provided a reference that is being cited to support the stance that ODC funds (for travel) cannot cross the fiscal year. The reference is GAO Principles of Federal Appropriations Law, Third Edition, Volume II, Chapter 7, B. 7. e.
  23. No, it now appears that what they are hanging their hat on is the DoD Financial Management Regulation (FMR), Volume 3, Chapter 8, Paragraph 0811 which reads: "0811 TEMPORARY DUTY TRAVEL Tentative obligations for temporary duty travel shall be recorded from written administrative determinations, based on the travel authorizations issued, for the estimated transportation to be purchased and the estimated reimbursement to be earned by the traveler for per diem allowances, use of privately owned vehicles, and incidental travel expenses. When travel is performed under a blanket authorization (with the itinerary not definite), the amount of the tentative obligation recorded in the current month shall not exceed the estimate of the travel expenses to be incurred to the end of the current month. When the period covered by the travel authorization extends beyond the end of the fiscal year, and the travel costs are being paid by means of an annual appropriation or the final year of availability of a multiple-year appropriation, the amount of the recorded obligation shall be the cost of transportation purchased and reimbursements earned to the end of the fiscal year." (Bold added by me) So then the question would be if contractor personnel traveling under a contract are considered to be performing "temporary duty travel", or is the FMR only referring to travel performed by Government personnel? I don't know the answer to that question, and it doesn't matter much now as we have already moved forward with de-obligating funds that will not be used this fiscal year. I am merely trying to provide additional information I received.
  24. You can make whatever you want from that question and answer from AAP. I only shared it to illustrate that there appears to be a belief in some circles that contractor travel must be paid for with funds from the fiscal year that travel occured. Like you I wish the professor would have cited the sources, but again that is typical of what I have ran into when asking this question; nobody can really cite any difinitive source to support their position that the travel funds are limited to use in the fiscal year that travel actually occurs. I am now being told that there was a legal opinion issued within my command thay also supports that position, and am trying to get a copy of it to see what the basis of the opinion is.
  25. Here is a question and answer from the Ask A Professor site that someone pointed me to https://dap.dau.mil/aap/pages/qdetails.aspx...stionID=107100: "Question - On a contract support contractor labor with a period of performance of 28 Sep 2010 through 27 Sep 2011, does the Bona Fide Needs rule prohibit payment of the travel CLIN with FY10 dollars due to the fact that most of the travel will be conducted in FY11? Can FY10 dollars be used for the travel CLIN or are FY11 dollars required? Scenario - I am the COR in the last stage of implementing a contract for contractor support personnel who will develop JCIDS documentation and other capability development work. The period of performance is 28 Sep 2010 to 27 Sep 2011. Funding is all FY10 dollars. "Legal at the contracting office says that the labor CLIN can be paid with FY10 dollars, but the Bona Fide Needs rule requires that the travel CLIN be paid with FY11 dollars. Answer - I have checked several sources and your response from the Army JAG is consistent. The Bona Fide Needs Rule requires that travel be paid for with the FY dollars in which the travel was conducted. I've attached a good site to research the Bona Fide Needs Rule. http://www.wifcon.com/bonafidecontents.htm Note: Material added 11/8/2010 The official "bona fide need" rule applies to appropriated funds. Details on contract considerations within the DoDFMR can be found here at http://comptroller.defense.gov/fmr/03/03_08.pdf ."
×
×
  • Create New...