Jump to content
The Wifcon Forums and Blogs

Matthew Fleharty

  • Content count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Matthew Fleharty

  1. Truth Decay

    To further illustrate the timeliness of this topic, I reached the end of my Jan/Feb HBR magazine and stumbled upon the following article: https://hbr.org/2018/01/the-triumph-of-spin-over-substance It includes a few reading recommendations that those interested in this topic may enjoy.
  2. FEMA Contracting Failure

    In case everyone is avoiding the "news" after the Truth Decay discussion, I just wanted to share some recent reports where contracting is currently in the crosshairs: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/06/us/fema-contract-puerto-rico.html https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/06/us/puerto-rico-hurricane-maria-meals/index.html https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-puertorico-meals/fema-contractor-did-not-deliver-millions-of-puerto-rico-meals-lawmakers-idUSKBN1FQ2OP
  3. Truth Decay

    As always, I appreciate the reading recommendation. In response to your line of questioning, I thought (wrongly) that the preceding paragraph would provide enough context for the use of an adage. What I meant by "take" was not outright trust or belief, but rather where I decide to use my finite time to read the news (i.e. I'll read news reported by NYTimes, WSJ, Washington Post over content on 4chan, Infowars, etc.). An aside: this is may be one of those cases where the use of the "her" pronoun does gender-inclusive writing a disservice. I don't think this is a fair characterization of my comments - nowhere in this thread have I stated to believe first and verify later or that I or anyone should accept deception because we'll all feel better when an author of a false report is disciplined. If you think I'm the type of person who jumps to conclusions or makes hasty generalizations, well I'm at least curious what gave you that impression. Generally, I think I'm a thoughtful consumer of information who reads multiple sources to see if they separately corroborate the information (i.e. don't just report the other outlet's information) before formulating a position or reaching a conclusion (though I am human so I'll admit that sometimes my relative youth or biases do get the best of me). I understand, and don't dispute, that traditional news outlets are businesses which carry a whole host of incentivizes that may cause them to sensationalize the news or move on to the next news cycle all too quickly (or too slowly in the case of CNN's MH370 coverage); however, alternative/independent news sources are surely not exempt from their own set of incentives (monetary or otherwise) and I think they present a whole new host of problems relating to transparency and credibility (which I'm not going to rehash). As for the wait and see approach you propose, while generally prudent, I think it can be a bystander luxury. By that I mean, the very nature of "see what develops" requires further fact finding. In some cases, information, the discovery of further facts, and/or a decision is time sensitive and does not permit waiting to see. In other cases, if that further fact finding requires more or stronger resources (e.g. a subpoena) waiting to see may not compel further fact finding because everyone will scurry off to the next news cycle or distraction and the previous topic will be forgotten. So sure, when one can, gather more information or wait for it to develop; however, a time may come where one is asked to use incomplete or competing information to make a decision and take a position. Then what?
  4. Truth Decay

    I suppose that's one way of looking at news that relies on anonymous sources, but imagine if there was a collective shrug in response to the reports on Watergate, the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal, or the U.S.'s use of secret detention facilities in Europe (just to name a few impactful reports that relied on anonymous sources). I fully understand that reporting, particularly when it relies on anonymous sources, is not infallible and should be subject to a healthy dose of skepticism, but there are better reactions to those reports than outright distrust from some or, as you stated, a shrug and no action (I, for one, doubt that's actually your reaction...my guess is you try to see if other outlets are reporting or corroborating the news). For anyone who may merely distrust or discount news that relies on anonymous sources, consider the following two articles as a primer (or any other guide to anonymous sources) to help you make an informed assessment of the information instead: I think most of us here would agree that, more broadly speaking, the reporting and exchange of information is imperfect (anyone who can recall playing the telephone game in elementary school understands that from a young age). While the following provides an impactful of example where the media got it wrong... ...regardless of whether this is "sweetening the well" or something else, I do think it begins to highlight a key difference between the traditional media and alternative/independent media: that a degree of transparency and accountability can and does exist. Traditional media promulgates standards and ethics for their reporting (http://asne.org/resources-ethics) and while that does not make their reporting above reproach, it does establish a set of expectations for accountability that warrants retrospectives like the one Vern posted here or suspensions and firings of individuals who violate those standards and misreport. Whether the degree of accountability regarding an incident is adequate is debatable - I'll stipulate that sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't - but its prevalence in one space compared to the other is not. Let's consider conversely, for example, whether or not the anonymous individual(s) who "reported" "pizzagate" will ever publish a retrospective of any kind? I seriously doubt it, particularly because there is no standard for accountability nor anyone to hold accountable. For those distrustful of traditional media in favor of alterative/independent media, it's puzzling when one considers how many "reporters" in the alternative/independent media operate under a shroud of complete anonymity. If they "publish" a false "report," reestablishing one's credibility is as simple as creating a new handle (or user name) for filing the next "report" (or, in some cases, conveniently "pivoting" to the "I'm a performance artist merely playing a character" defense). Writers for traditional media have to, at a minimum, put their name/credibility on the line (and their outlet's as well) based on a set of publicly available expectations. So when one does misreport (either accidently or purposefully), a reader can approach any future reports with whatever skepticism may be warranted based on previous events. It's no wonder Stephen Glass will never get rehired at a traditional media company as a journalist due to public knowledge of his gross fabrications (though I suppose he could easily start reporting again via 4chan...). In short, I'll take the devils I know over the devils I don't/can't know any day of the week (and twice on Sundays because of the crossword puzzles ) P.S. While I quote Vern's comments in the later half of this post, the comments that followed are not intended to imply that Vern defended or promoted alternative/independent media - I'm merely using them as a springboard to juxtapose the level of accountability between traditional media and alternative/independent media.
  5. Truth Decay

    Bob, I didn't get that warning when I accessed it (otherwise I would not have posted it), but I removed it nevertheless. Better safe than sorry. Thanks for the heads up.
  6. Truth Decay

    You're right, you don't deserve my best. https://www.logicallyfallacious.com/tools/lp/Bo/LogicalFallacies/140/Poisoning-the-Well https://www.thoughtco.com/poisoning-the-well-fallacy-1691639 http://www.fallacyfiles.org/poiswell.html https://ses.edu/poisoning-the-well If you're going to use a term of art like "poisoning the well," use it correctly (or maybe the whole point of this thread is that there is no truth to include the proper usage of "poisoning the well").
  7. Truth Decay

    Do you even know what "poisoning the well" means? It's preemptive by nature and the article I cited that you're referring to is an examination after the fact which begs the question, how could it be preemptive? You've revealed yourself for what you truly are - a cowardly frog who hides behind anonymity, sarcasm, straw man fallacies, and vague/cryptic comments. If, however, this is truly what you're reading and thinking, someone has poisoned the well that WIFCON's poor frog drinks from.
  8. Truth Decay

    Specific? Your posts are anything but... "one of the main characters" - who exactly? name, handle, etc.? "the pictures and comments" - which ones exactly? what do they show or describe? You of all frogs should realize that you're shifting the burden of proof here (e.g. prove it isn't vs. prove it is...and to make this even more absurd you don't even define "it" because your posts are so vague and cryptic). I'm going to hop along now as I have more important topics to research and dedicate my time to than allegations of Hillary Clinton running a child-trafficking ring out of a pizza parlor.
  9. Truth Decay

    What pictures and comments are you referring to specifically? I’m not going to litigate “pizzagate” here, but I don’t think you’ve done your research (https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/12/10/business/media/pizzagate.html).
  10. Truth Decay

    Given how RAND framed their research into the issue of "truth decay" I'm less concerned about that concept and more concerned about the ease with which one can blatantly disseminate misinformation and the resulting consequences (e.g. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/05/business/media/comet-ping-pong-pizza-shooting-fake-news-consequences.html). Blatant misinformation preys on a human's cognitive biases (anchoring effect - the tendency to rely heavily on the first piece of information received). Coupled with short news cycles and a plethora of distractions, those who speak first and loudest can win the argument regardless of the validity or soundness of the position. I came across an article in Foreign Policy after the election that those interested in this general topic may find interesting (http://foreignpolicy.com/2016/11/10/the-dance-of-the-dunces-trump-clinton-election-republican-democrat/). For those who may be turned off by the article's title, don't be...here's the last sentence: Our world is full of distractions and temptations that are more immediately rewarding than thinking. It's no wonder that most people I know can name more athletes on their favorite sports team or actors and actresses than they can politicians, academics, or business leaders. I suspect these same issues may apply to acquisition knowledge and "truths" as well.
  11. I came across the following article in FCW and I’m absolutely baffled. For starters, I don’t understand how utilizing AI will make the contracting process innovative or faster. In regards to innovation, presumably an AI system can only return results based on the data it already has in its database which, by its very nature, is empirical - so how will that create new processes, techniques, or best practices? In regards to speed, AI assistance for making Contracting Officer decisions isn’t going to make a dent in acquisition process timelines unless those AI outputs aren’t subject to the clearance and review processes (aka if leadership wants COs to cede their authority and ability to make decisions to AI they should be equally willing to do the same). From what I’ve seen, there is a growing myopic obsession with data and speed - I’d prefer that instead of undertaking a “major effort” to enable an AI system, we instead undertake a “major effort” to enable the acquisition workforce with the right education and materials. One can hope... Maybe my concerns are overblown, but I’ve seen hints of the damage that an automated system can have on workforce competency (e.g. “clause logic” systems).
  12. Is Artificial Intelligence a Solution to Contracting Problems?

    Here’s some more food for thought on AI from this news this week: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/ais-ability-to-read-hailed-as-historical-milestone-but-computers-arent-quite-there/2018/01/16/04638f2e-faf6-11e7-a46b-a3614530bd87_story.html?utm_term=.f12ad2e2acde
  13. FPDS/Extent Competed/FAR 13.5

    Four years ago, there was a data element specifically for the Commercial Item Test Program (it was 10J). They may have eliminated it once the program was made permanent.
  14. The Problem is the People, Not the Rules

    Has Mr. Fischetti read FAR Subpart 5.2 recently? Assuming the requirement is non-commercial, there is a minimum 15 day synopsis period and then a minimum 30 or 45 day solicitation period. How is it reasonable to expect an RFP to award timeline of 60 days or less with those requirements (constraints)?
  15. SAP Modification PNM

    Whenever someone tells you there is a "requirement" they should be able to show you the statute, regulation, policy, etc. for said "requirement." Otherwise, don't believe everything you hear - there is too much unfounded procurement lore in this profession (https://fcw.com/blogs/lectern/2017/06/dont-reform-procurement-eaves.aspx?admgarea=TC_Opinion). Also see the post where I pulled that article from:
  16. How to price option years?

    Does the solicitation have the provision FAR 52.212-2 "Evaluation - Commercial Items"? If so, check paragraph (b) which reads:
  17. How to price option years?

    1. See definition of "option in FAR 2.101 which states: As long as the Government exercises the option in strict accordance with the contract's terms and conditions, it is their unilateral right and you would have to comply or otherwise be in breach of the contract. 2. Be diligent - you should know your company and your market better than I do so estimate as accurately as possible and with care. 3. Read the solicitation. It should have either FAR 52.217-3 "Evaluation Exclusive of Options" or FAR 52.217-5 "Evaluation of Options." Generally, the Government evaluates the base year plus all options.
  18. Did the CBCA commit and error in logic?

    I've re-read the decision and I'll make one more attempt: are you referring to the inconsistency between the CBCA's mathematical calculations to determine which costs DMI was or was not entitled to and the basic principles governing terminations for convenience that the CBCA cites: In other words, if DMI's subcontract was reasonable (which the CBCA states it was on pg 18), DMI should be entitled to the full amount of subcontract costs incurred.
  19. Did the CBCA commit and error in logic?

    Vern, are you referring to the CBCA's position on pgs 12-13 that concludes the task order is a T&M contract and the subsequently inconsistent position on pgs 14-15 (and the decision that follows) that treats the contract as an IDIQ where any hours performed have to be "ordered" by ICE?
  20. Invoicing for unworked hours under a FFP TO

    If this contract is for severable services and the contractor failed to perform those services for an entire month then subsequently submitted an invoice for that month, that could be a violation of the False Claims Act, 31 U.S. Code § 3729 (reference Holt and Klass, "Implied Certification Under the False Claim Act," Public Contract Law Journal (Fall 2011): Without reading your contract and knowing what supporting documentation may be available, I can’t give you a definitive answer; however, I can say that the Government has more options available to address non-performance than merely rating the contractor poorly in CPARS (even if the contract is FFP). One caution: the number of hours worked is likely irrelevant as you probably did not contract for a certain number of hours (regardless of the “estimates” you mention in your post). What is likely relevant are the contract’s requirements: if the Government contracted for X, Y, and Z services and the contractor failed to perform X, Y, and Z services, there is a problem; however, if the contractor performed X, Y, and Z services in half the “estimated” time, that sounds like a job well done to me.
  21. Sealed bid- Late Price Modification

    Whether it was the "initial" bid or not has no bearing on whether the bid was late. Consider if the company withdrew their "initial" bid (asked for it back) and then resubmitted the same bid without changing anything 4 minutes after the time specified (as alleged). The "initial" bid would then be late and cannot be considered unless it fulfills the criteria of FAR 14.304(b).
  22. BANNED! Again...

    I would be more curious, but I had the unfortunate experience of reading similarly unintelligible posts during Latvian's brief stint on WIFCON...
  23. I'm currently on the hunt for new reading material and I figured while I try to help myself, why not help others. For those also looking for something to read related to contracting, a list that I have found helpful compiled by Vern can be found here (www.wifcon.com/anal/RecommendedReading.pdf). Similarly, I'm sure other members of this community have books that they share when asked for recommendations, but haven't taken the time to compile a list (I'm guilty myself) so I'd like to ask the Wifcon members for a simple, easy request: Provide just one recommendation for a book that would be beneficial for a contracting professional to read. I'll start: My recommendation is Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (https://www.amazon.com/Thinking-Fast-Slow-Daniel-Kahneman/dp/0374533555). In a career field where making sound decisions is a critical trait, one should understand how the mind works, how it can deceive us, how to recognize those situations, and how to adjust accordingly. What you'll learn from this book is as useful (if not more) in life as it is in contracting. What's yours?
  24. Invoicing

    Fair points Vern - I should have read more skeptically given that the article was an opinion piece, also sloppy behavior on my part.