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Junius

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  1. I think the judge probably overstepped his authority here in the name of government efficiency. While I generally understand and admire creative attempts at improving Government efficiency, fundamentally broken processes should not be remedied by the bureaucracy or the judiciary. The responsibility of the bureaucracy, as part of the executive branch, is to implement and follow the rules on the books. The judiciary interprets those rules. And although this is a principle largely ignored today, it is not the proper place for either branch to decide what laws they will follow and which they will ignore in the name of efficiency or good, practical policy. This is Congress's responsibility to fix. We have an incredibly outdated acquisition philosophy and process that Congress can't help itself but constantly tinker with, leading to what is now a lexicon of incomprehensible regulation. Rather than greenlighting end-runs around the law, we need to fix the law. And yes, there has been much discussion regarding the lack of professionalism within the bureaucracy. I don't disagree with that general sentiment, but keep in mind that there are an awful lot of very smart people in the Government, and, by and large, the Government is reasonably decent at allocating those resources where they are most needed. What I'm saying here is that the VA was putting forth the best of the best to solve this problem, and they have still failed. This is a problem much bigger than the VA itself, and it's going to take a lot more change other than making it easier to fire some SES's. Representative republics weren't created to be efficient.
  2. Right now I don't think anything that can be perceived as beneficial to federal employees can be sold to Congress and the President. Some agencies (Education and Agriculture) pursued President Obama's Telework Enhancement Act by significantly expanding telework and subsequently reducing office space. Now these agencies are significantly rolling back these policies. Organizations don't have enough office space and have to scramble to either re-negotiate or find new leases.
  3. The main issue I see with this is that high-performing employees are almost universally given more challenging work and, therefore, would be working more hours than other employees *because* of their superior performance.
  4. You haven't specified what you read in the FAR before, so it's hard for me to suggest where you might locate that information. If you're talking, generally, about a description of what a service contract is, I suggest starting at the "Service contract" definition in FAR 37.101.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Remove arbitrary and ambiguous distinctions between "clarifications" and "discussions" that inhibit contracting officers from appropriately and fairly communicating with offerors after receipt of proposals.
  11. 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?
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. What criteria do you use to buy services? Are you in the habit of hiring felons without experience relevant to the service you require?
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