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Junius

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  1. For the past 9 years I've been searching for some shred of actual empirical evidence showing that FAR 19 provides a net macroeconomic benefit to the American economy. All I've ever heard is conjecture.
  2. Junius

    FAR 52.212-5

    I would follow the procedures at FAR 52.104(b) and/or 52.104(d). I would then include either one or both of FAR 52.252-1 and FAR 52.252-2 depending on if I'm incorporating provisions and/or clauses.
  3. GAO has held that the timeliness of the protest depends on at what point the basis for the protest is known or should have been known. Take a look at this somewhat recent decision: https://www.gao.gov/assets/690/687324.pdf
  4. Junius

    Real Contracting Pros

    No problem. Your point is valid though; for the most part, based on my (limited) experience, senior leadership seems to really appreciate the work their employees do. I just wish some of that appreciation could transfer to the general public. The news media is more interested in highlighting failures than successes, but that's only natural.
  5. Junius

    Real Contracting Pros

    For me, probably the single worst thing about working for the federal government is the persistent perception within the public forum that, rather than being an asset to my country, I am instead a drain on it. There is no distinction between a real professional and a loafer in that perception. There is no distinction in pay, either.
  6. Remove arbitrary and ambiguous distinctions between "clarifications" and "discussions" that inhibit contracting officers from appropriately and fairly communicating with offerors after receipt of proposals.
  7. I'd be interested to hear people's thoughts on that. When I was getting my MBA ten years ago, the thought process was that the primary responsibility of a business is shareholder return. Has that always been the case?
  8. The offeror provided information that indicated that most of their staff is composed of employees with a relatively low retention rate. I think it's reasonable for the agency to consider that a risk regardless of whether or not the concern is employees changing jobs or retiring. This is just my viewpoint. The Merriam-Webster defintion of ageism is: "prejudice or discrimination against a particular age-group and especially the elderly." If ageism is a particular concern for the elderly, then I think it's possible what may be viewed as reasonable on the basis of a younger age may not be considered reasonable on the basis of an older age. In addition, I think there tends to be a bias with respect to attributing certain characteristics to millennials as if those characteristics are unique and/or inherent to millennials. For instance, is higher turnover a characteristic specific to their generation, or is it a characteristic of *any* generation that comprises the youngest portion of the workforce? Anecdotally, I have a millennial co-worker who entered the workforce at age 24 and, by age 28, was already on her third job. In that four year period she was caught up in two corporate mergers resulting in layoffs.
  9. Reasonable exercise of agency discretion. For whatever reason the protester's proposal writer saw fit to include statistical information on an arbitrary and essentially meaningless demographic. I don't see anything in the evaluation criteria that would have required them to provide information organized in that manner. That said, I think the GAO may have viewed the agency's decision differently if the proposal/evaluation were based on retention and replacement of aging baby boomers instead of millennials.
  10. Junius

    Why is the Govt so cliquish?

    What criteria do you use to buy services? Are you in the habit of hiring felons without experience relevant to the service you require?
  11. Junius

    CPARS comments

    Based on my experience, contractors commonly assume that they should automatically receive a rating above Satisfactory because they've exceeded the performance standards in the contract. The problem with this is that the justification for Very Good or Exceptional ratings require three things -- see Table 42-1 in the FAR: 1. Identification of a significant event (or multiple events) 2. Statement of how that event was a benefit to the Government 3. No identified significant weaknesses According to this standard under the Schedule rating area, for instance, a deliverable you provide X days early may not merit an above Satisfactory rating if the deliverable was not a significant event or, if it was a significant event, did not provide a benefit to the Government. If you disagree with the Assessing Official's ratings, I don't think it's effective to assume that the Assessing Official just plain got it wrong because chances are they won't agree with you and neither will the Reviewing Official. It's more effective to assert that either the information included in the narrative was not factual (if that is indeed the case) or there was supplementary information not considered. In either of those cases, identify the significant event and state its benefit to the Government.
  12. Thanks for your responses. I'm glad that, at least with respect to this subject, I'm not going crazy. If the interplay between FAR 12 and FAR 13 with other parts of the FAR were better understood or expressed more clearly, it would save me a lot of time and frustration.
  13. On Netflix I’ve been watching a show related to people allegedly providing false confessions. Sometimes the false confessions are elicited because the subject has been so psychologically broken down that they begin to believe they actually committed the crime. I think I’m having one of these moments as it relates to Government contracting. It’s about provisions and clauses. My (admittedly journeyman) understanding of the FAR is that apparently unambiguous prescriptions that a provision or clause applies to “all solicitations and contracts” is frustrated by FAR 12.301(d) when acquiring commercial items. For instance, I do not include FAR 52.243-1 (Alt III) in my solicitation for a fixed-price requirement for professional services because the service is commercial and “Changes” are already described in FAR 52.212-4(c), which is actually required in all commercial solicitations and contracts. When the GS-14 Procurement Analyst returns my solicitation with a recommendation that I include FAR 52.243-1 (Alt III) in my solicitation, it’s a relatively simple task for me to explain my position once I have finished lamenting the fact that I am not a GS-14 Procurement Analyst. I no longer think your average Frog (as Pepe would say) completely understands the meaning of the word “Notwithstanding.” Where it becomes trickier is with a provision or clause that does not necessarily have an “equivalent” commercial provision or clause. Now, I understand this is a DFARS clause, but take 252.225-7048, Export-Controlled Items, for example. My understanding of DFARS Case 2011-D056 is that DFARS 212.301(f) was implemented in its current form to represent a complete list of the DFARS provisions and clauses that are applicable to the acquisition of commercial items. In other words, if a DFARS provision or clause is not listed in DFARS 212.301(f), it is not applicable to the acquisition of commercial items. Where I begin to question my sanity is whenever I go to award my commercial, firm-fixed-price services contract. I send my contract award to be validated against the Procurement Data Standard (PDS) and, unfortunately, I receive an error that I have failed to include DFARS 252.225-7048 in my contract award. According to its prescription, 252.225-7048 is required in “all solicitations and contracts” which the PDS error message also helpfully reminds me. However, it’s not listed as applicable to the acquisition of commercial items in DFARS 212.301(f), nor does it include handy-dandy language in the prescription specifically referencing applicability to FAR part 12 as do most DFARS provisions and clauses listed in DFARS 212.301(f). Therefore, I interpret that this clause does not, in fact, apply to my contract. If I fail to include it, however, I will inevitably end up on a naughty list with a command from above to modify my contract to include the clause, and shame on me for willfully ignoring the PDS. As I understand it, PDS is implemented by DPAP. Clearly, I think DPAP has it wrong on this one as well as with DFARS 252.203-7002, where I received the same error. However, I’m so broken down by the unending tsunami of data calls, reports, reviews, requests, templates, instructions, validations, and audits that I’m not sure I can think anymore. But maybe that’s the goal. Have I lost it? Is my approach to provisions and clauses relating to the acquisition of commercial items sound? J
  14. Junius

    The Problem of Proposal-Based Competition

    True contracting professionals have lost creative control. Management and lawyers are so risk averse that you are mandated to use cookie-cutter templates for which the contracting officer only completes "fill-in" portions of the award/solicitation template. There's no creative thinking or an individualized, tactical approach to anything because that is inherently risky. Where does that aversion to risk come from, and how do we change it?
  15. Junius

    Contracting Scandals

    Is it just me, or is this scandal getting relatively little fanfare given its overall size and how many high-ranking civilians/military officers were ensnared by it? I've talked to typically informed folks outside of the government who are apparently completely unaware of this scandal, yet they were able to tell me all about the GSA conference scandal from a few years back.
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