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About DWGerard1102

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  1. Has strategic sourcing gone too far?

    To me, its a shortcut that is of dubious value. First, it relieves the CS/KO from anything close to market research. If market research is actually completed that finds a better way, better price, faster delivery, well, too bad. The agency's "strategic sourcing" contract vehicle trumps all of those. Second, it creates another barrier for small businesses. I have seen so many "strategic sourcing" contract vehicles that had one or no small businesses, and those vehicles have a life that may be exceed 5 years. A small business wants to fulfill your requirement? Too bad, you have to wait for another 4-7 years until the next solicitation is release and HOPE that the CS/KO does their market research and finds that small business and its cohort. Otherwise its another "no small businesses found that can meet this requirement" market research document once again. Remember, the CS/KO for that program may not have done any market research since that last re-compete, so those skills might just be a bit rusty. Strategic sourcing is an insult to the buying ability of the Government. It says the whole procurement team cannot find the best pricing in the market, is not consistent in sourcing those products and services, and they take too long. Whether or not those accusations are true is up for debate, but the system itself is not without blame; its hard to be fast and efficient when the procurement system has so many anchors attached to it.
  2. Real Contracting Pros

    I love the "she comes prepared with fact" part of the admiral's quote! I remember a negotiation I led in 2010 for a defense contractor with Australia's military where being prepared with the facts was absolutely the key. The Aussie's KO threatened to terminate their contract for an aircraft assembly that had not been built since the 1970s where the contractor had delivered a portion of the contract on time but later articles were delayed as the quality of the later parts was being questioned by the contractor QA team. The fly in her (the KO), ointment was that I had actually read the Australian version of the FAR, and I knew she could not terminate the contract as none of the precursors (show cause, etc.), had been issued and the Aussie PM had authorized the delays due to the added security of the QA checks (without the KO being aware of the authorization). The Aussie technical team bought me beers that night, they had never seen the Aussie KO so angry! She left the negotiation in seconds after it concluded and did not come back for the reception afterwards! Knowing the facts (and the associated procurement regulations), is vital for a negotiator. Oh, and the contractor delivered all of the articles in the agreed upon time plus Australia got a couple extra assemblies for free, so they were a happy customer! Being prepared with the facts is absolutely necessary for Contracting professionals, whether assigned as a negotiator or not!
  3. Sorry this is so late, I have been away for cancer treatments and just returned to my office this week. 13 CFR § 121.404(d) states :"Size status for purposes of compliance with the nonmanufacturer rule set forth in § 121.406(b)(1) and the ostensible subcontractor rule set forth in § 121.103(h)(4) is determined as of the date of the final proposal revision for negotiated acquisitions and final bid for sealed bidding."
  4. There is one exception to the rule that the initial proposal including price is when size is established. That exception is when a violation of the Ostensible Subcontractor rule is alleged in the size protest. In those cases the size is established at the time of the final proposal. The reason for that exception is that the contractor may have changed its proposed personnel from its initial proposal when submitting its final proposal which could affect whether or not it was a violation of the Ostensible Subcontractor Rule.
  5. There are more than a dozen different forms that are the equivalent of the DD 2579, and I see a few of them every day in my role as a PCR. NASA has its Form 1787, the CDC has a computer based system without a form number associated with it, GSA uses its Form 2689, plus there are two different versions of the DD 2579 that are being used at this time. The purpose of those documents is to inform the Small Business Specialists at the various organizations what the acquisition plan is in a nutshell so that they can concur with or dispute the chosen plan of action. After that the forms are sent to the appropriate SBA PCR for concurrence. When I receive the forms, I check whether or not the plan is to set the procurement aside or not, along with a check of the selected NAICS code. I frequently send the documents back for incorrect NAICS codes, and I have non-concurred with the acquisition plan to not set the procurement aside on a number of occasions. After that, it becomes a negotiation, in which I show them how they can set the procurement aside, show how their market research was not complete, and how their organization is not meeting a specific goal. If I truly believe that the procurement should be set aside and the KO still refuses, I non-concur with the Small Business Coordination form. After that I can issue a SBA Form 70 which appeals the issue first the local HCA of the organization and if no agreement is reached, it ramps up to the senior HCA at the organization's HQ and the SBA Office of Government Contracting executives.
  6. Contracting Scandals

    In my case it would have been simply to act on the information that was provided, do the right thing and inspire confidence that when malfeasance is discovered, leadership will do something about it rather than punish the one who found the evidence. I was not looking for a promotion, I simply respected the concept of integrity, honesty and ethical work, and when I found something that did not match those ideals to the point of criminal behavior, I reported it. The real failure was how my leadership handled it, I was ridiculed, told to shut up and go back to work and that my evidence was "weak" despite it being well documented with photos of non-existent lay down area, no work being conducted despite more than 50% of invoices approved by the PM, and evidence of earlier fraudulent work being signed off on.
  7. Contracting Scandals

    Joel, Karma played out in the end for the KO, he died less than 6 months after retiring when he had a heart attack while gardening in his back yard. He wasn't a bad guy to work for but he was a coward when it came to standing up to the bully that was committing the crime. I think it weighed heavily on his heart and spirit what he had failed to handle properly, which is a heavy burden for sure.
  8. Contracting Scandals

    Here is the case that I brought up to my leadership and was ignored so I resigned my the civil service position for a position in industry: https://www.justice.gov/archive/usao/ma/news/2010/July/THROWERverdictPR.html After I left the Army HQ CID folks found the CD with all the needed information for their case in a blank envelope stapled to the contract file. The person who took over my desk when I resigned told me that the KO pulled all the paper documents out of the file and shredded them. The amount that was defrauded by the perps was somewhere north of the amount in the story. I was told by the investigator who called me more than a year after I resigned the amount stolen was closer to $50M than it was to $4 mil but they had enough to put him away so they stopped investigating. The contract I was working on was $1.5M and the perp had more than 3 fraudulent contracts in place with similar award amounts at that time alone.
  9. Mentor Protege

    The SBA Mentor-Protégé program is not a joint venture so it does not have a minimum percentage of work for either party. The MP program is where a mentor trains the protégé in specific area and is supervised by the SBA on at least an annual basis. The SBA MP program allows (but does not mandate) JVs and eliminates the affiliation between the JV partners so long as the SBA MP program is in place and no other factors are present. The JVs formed must follow the JV rules and the overall project manager must come from the protégé firm. The MP regulations to not specify the percentages of work for the associated JV. With that, when the SBA reviews and approves the JV as part of the MP program, it expects to see the percentage of work done by the protégé company grow over the life of any contracts awarded to the JV to at least 51% if not more, depending upon what is agreed upon between the MP participants and the SBA.
  10. The SBA can perform the evaluation and provide the KO with the information he or she needs to know in relation to the LOS regulation. The authority to enforce remains with the KO, but the information and evaluation process is difficult and time consuming for a KO (I know that some KOs would disagree, but I have been told it was too hard to do many times by KOs), so I as a PCR will perform the evaluation for the KO if there is a serious concern regarding a contractor's adherence with the LOS regulation
  11. I have been advising KOs to refer any suspected violations of the Limitations on Subcontracting to the SBA Area Office for their action. If its a CFR issue, then its up to the SBA to resolve the problem. The LOS scenario is similar to the Ostensible Subcontractor evaluation and the SBA is authorized to obtain employment records and financial documents so it can perform the analysis with all the needed data, and the SBA office is set up for that work so it is not contrary to the other functions like a contracting office would face. I can say that because I work for the SBA now as a PCR (Procurement Center Representative), and I am one of the people who would receive those cases to work.
  12. One thing that might impact this scenario is 13 CFR §125.6(1) where similarly situated entities (small businesses) can assume part of the 50% requirement. If the HR firm is a small business under the appropriate NAICS code, their employees are added to the prime employees towards the 50% requirement. The Ostensible Subcontractor rule does not apply to all of the employees, it only applies to managers, key personnel and contract executives responsible for primary and vital requirements of the contract.
  13. Technology Procurement

    No, I don't work for either of those two agencies.
  14. Technology Procurement

    This is anecdotal, but I believe it reflects how the Government treats technology procurements. Our office decided to update all the employees with top of the line equipment including new state of the art mobile phones and lightweight computers. The purchase of the new equipment was approved and the contracts awarded. Once the equipment was delivered, the software was considered. The equipment sat in a warehouse for more than a year before it was sent out to the workforce. Meanwhile the "state of the art" moved on and the equipment was no longer top of the line (Iphone 5 well after the introduction of the Iphone 6 models), when it was received by the user. The software is also more than a year behind, and we cannot even access our own agency webcasts because the browsers (IE and Chrome), are both so out of date they will not allow access to the webcast system. Trying to get those programs updated is not automatic and requires the user to contact the help desk and request the upgrades. That creates another problem when the upgraded program no longer works with existing printers, scanners and the like. Also, the new computers did not come with DVD players/writers, which some offices still use, so each office had to buy their own separate DVD player/writer for each user. I don't blame our leadership, they are trying. I don't blame the contracting team, they too are trying. The problem is that the procurement system is so cumbersome, so complex, so weighed down with processes and reviews, that it simply cannot respond quickly enough to purchase and deploy the latest technology.
  15. Bad Writing in Government Documents

    In the recent past I have seen contractor proposals in response to a single solicitation vary in cost by 100% ($400K to $800K) and in simple page counts by the same percentages. Meanwhile the Government estimate for that same project was $200K and was written on just over 4 pages of technical information. In my review I suggested that the technical office have their technical information reviewed to see if it made any sense at all because I could not understand what they wanted, other than a comprehensive research project of some sort or another. The 4 pages were full of acronyms that were not explained, technical jargon and I could not find an end product other than "a research paper". As a 3rd party reviewer for 13 different buying agencies, it is amazing how we (procurement officials), can send out solicitations that only we understand and then expect everyone else to understand our madness as well as we do.