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Matthew Fleharty

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Everything posted by Matthew Fleharty

  1. I'm drafting some thoughts/recommendations on improving training for the contracting workforce and I'd like to solicit input from those of you who frequent these forums. Specifically, I'd like to know what each of you think are the "breakdown activities" for our workforce. "Breakdown activities" are defined as those "tasks that differentiate high and low performers." The term comes from an article in Harvard Business Review that I read last month - for those of you interested in the complete article, you can read it here: To Better Train Workers, Figure Out Where They Struggle. Thanks in advance for any input!
  2. "Breakdown Activities" for the Contracting Workforce

    I initially had a similar reaction (which is why I was only able to quote one sentence from the article), but two weeks later I'm still stuck thinking about what contracting activities high performers perform better than low performers. Maybe I need a re-vector, in which case I'd be happy to hear any thoughts there as well. As for trying to clarify and elaborate, I'd like to leave the prompt broad (for now), but here are some examples of "breakdown activities" I've been considering (so much for trying not to "lead the witnesses"): Reading and interpreting contracts/regulations/statutes Deductive reasoning Negotiating An example of an activity that I don't think fits the bill: Using contract writing systems (PD2, ConWrite, etc.)
  3. Kickstarter and the GCPC

    Is anyone aware of any restrictions on the use of the Government Purchase Card when using Other Transaction Authority?
  4. Kickstarter and the GCPC

    I was there with the SMC team that morning, we must have just missed each other.
  5. That's an oxymoron Neurotic. Are you asking if you should modify the contract after award to increase the Target Cost based on the FPRP? Why does (or should) a contractor's proposed rates have to match their FPRP?
  6. Accountability Might Need a New Name

    If anyone is interested in a 20 minute primer on blockchain see the following: The professor in the podcast also wrote an article for HBR titled "The Truth About Blockchain" earlier this year that can be found here (may require login): https://hbr.org/2017/01/the-truth-about-blockchain
  7. TINA and Actuals

    Jake, Unfortunately I'm not surprised and I doubt you'll have much luck on your own even if you find this particular COFC decision to send to your contractor. I was in your shoes a year ago and made all the right arguments to no avail; however, what worked beautifully was elevating the issue up through leadership (if this procurement is as large as you say they'll be more than happy to help). Within a week I received complete and properly segregated actuals. So don't be afraid to ask for help - I suspect if you do you'll likely get exactly what you need. If that's unsuccessful, PM me and we can discuss further.
  8. Voting member of a source selection board?

    You should practice what you preach Seeker.
  9. Flowdown Clauses for Commercial Items

    I fought a similar and equally frustrating battle at my first assignment over which provisions/clauses might be necessary for inclusion in contracts for commercial items. FAR 12.301(d) has similar language: Yet still, individuals would use the entire FAR and DFARS provision/clause matrices when writing the solicitations/contracts. I couldn't (and still can't) understand how the definition of "notwithstanding" and the language that follows was unclear, but it doesn't surprise me that some are facing a challenge in this case given the similarities. I suppose this might be one of the procurement lore versus procurement rule issues and some people just get stuck in the way of doing things without knowing why or whether that way is proper or improper. It's such a shame that some would rather be right instead of doing things right.
  10. Read this. Read it NOW!

    I saw that, but based on his work with David Eaves and the inclusion of "by Steven Kelman," they presumably share the same thoughts (I know I wouldn't let a colleague put my name on an article or document without my review and consent).
  11. Read this. Read it NOW!

    Thanks for sharing Vern - I have Dr. Kelman's book "Unleashing Change" in my reading queue. Based on the thoughts in this article, I just may move it up a few spots.
  12. Acquisition Reform ― It’s Soylent Green!

    As someone who has provided inputs, particularly on the topic of simplifying and streamlining acquisitions, I was eager to read the panel's interim report; however, I was disappointed with the result. Let's take, for example, the focus on clauses for Simplified Acquisition - I think the panel walked right into a distraction from more impactful issues and then focused on the lowest hanging fruits ($1 Coins and Texting While Driving clauses...). Here are some brief thoughts in response and some that I've already provided through other means: Most Simplified Acquisitions are commercial (run an FPDS-NG report to see) which means the analysis on page 23 is overstating the issue. The biggest impediment to quicker Simplified Acquisitions is not selecting provisions/clauses for those acquisitions - any semi-proficient contracting professional should be able to review those particular prescriptions in less than a day as most of them are fairly straightforward. I'm curious whether the panel has data other than the number of clauses and anecdotes that indicates selecting provisions/clauses for Simplified Acquisitions is a serious issue that extends the timeline to award - none was provided in the interim report. The panel should look into the acquisition workforce's under-use of FAR 13.5 procedures for eligible acquisitions - I imagine most acquisitions would be greatly simplified if they did not use FAR Part 15 Source Selection Procedures. I hear complaints of complexity, but for many it is self imposed so they can get their "valuable Source Selection experience." One final thought about the call to action - if we're serious about seeing change in the acquisition world, let's be bold - one recommendation for Simplified Acquisitions would be to (a) increase the SAT and/or (b) tie the synopsis and publicizing of contract actions requirements in FAR Part 5 to the SAT. I know those recommendations have been provided to the panel - maybe there is just so much input that they haven't had the opportunity to consider them yet, but I believe that time spent on substantive issues like those would be much more beneficial than discussions of $1 Coins and Texting While Driving.
  13. Unreasonable Price

    Agree 100%. I think the FAR's pricing policy is crystal clear that awards shall be made at fair and reasonable prices...if no one can do that and, therefore, compliance with the FAR is not possible, I'd imagine one would have to pursue a Deviation IAW FAR Subpart 1.4 (emphasis added below). The only question that remains is whether or not such a deviation is precluded by law, executive order, or regulation...
  14. Unreasonable Price

    Jamaal, It was likely directed at me - Seeker sent me a few PMs laced with ad hominems labeling me an "awful bureaucrat" amongst other things. I'll no longer be engaging with Seeker on these forums as a result. Maybe you'll have better luck getting a response that is supported by facts or references to the law/policy/regulation, but I doubt it.
  15. Trump Lease of Old Post Office - A pending breach?

    Seems team Schooner has some more supporters: 'Pay Trump Bribes Here' Projected on Trump Hotel in Washington
  16. Unreasonable Price

    My apologies Lionel - I read in haste - I'll edit my post accordingly.
  17. Unreasonable Price

    Refer to FAR 15.402 "Pricing Policy" (emphasis added below): That policy couldn't be clearer and I do not see any exception to it there or in FAR 15.405. Short of an approved deviation, I'm not aware of any authority for a Contracting Officer (or even individuals one level above) to make or authorize purchases at unreasonable prices.
  18. Unreasonable Price

    Jamaal, I'm not seeing the inconsistency. I don't read FAR 15.405(d) as authorizing or instructing anyone to award a contract at an unreasonable price. It merely states that the unsuccessful contracting officer "shall refer the contract action to a level above the contracting officer. Disposition of the action should be documented." Nowhere does that reference (or any other that I am aware of) give anyone, including the individual one level above the contracting officer, authority to award at an unreasonable price. While not my precise thoughts on the matter, I presume this may be why the FAR says what it says: That individual one level above the contracting officer may also have more experience, skills, knowledge, etc. to resolve the situation - I believe the FAR is just instructing lower level CO's on what to do when they reach an impasse.
  19. Increasing Rights in Software--> In-scope Change?

    Joel that wasn't my question. Regardless of the OPs situation, Seeker appeared to take the position the any/all contract(s) for software rights are exempt from CICA because software rights are not supplies, services, or construction and CICA only applies to "acquisitions" which, according to the FAR 2.101 definition only covers "supplies, services, or construction" and does not expressly state "software/data rights" (at least I think that is Seeker's position and presumably Seeker believe thats software/data rights do not fall into any of those categories, hence my question). I'm trying to pull on that thread - hopefully that is more clear now.
  20. Increasing Rights in Software--> In-scope Change?

    Why do you assume I'm not "relaxed" Joel? Seeker's answer appeared to use a position that applies more broadly than this one situation so I feel my question is fair game.
  21. Increasing Rights in Software--> In-scope Change?

    Do I understand you correctly that the Government can contract for any software rights it desires without regard to CICA?
  22. FAR Part 8 Priorities

    ContractSpecialist TJohn, You should edit your post to correctly separate the portion that is quoted from your words.
  23. FAR Part 8 Priorities

    Re-read FAR 8.004 - "agencies are encouraged to consider satisfying requirements from or through the non-mandatory sources listed in paragraph (a) of this section (not listed in any order of priority) before considering the non-mandatory source listed in paragraph (b)" - encouragement is not the same as a requirement. Moreover, if a better value can be obtained through commercial sources in the open market, I'd argue you have an obligation as a steward of taxpayers' dollars to pursue that better value given the non-restrictive language in the FAR.
  24. Trump Lease of Old Post Office - A pending breach?

    For anyone still interested in this topic, in March, the GSA Contracting Officer concluded that the hotel lease is valid. As one would expect, there is still disagreement amongst contracting professionals regarding that determination. The article linked below contains embedded links to the GSA Contracting Officer's letter, NPR's previous coverage, and an interview with Prof. Schooner regarding his thoughts on the lease. http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/03/23/521283505/gsa-says-trump-d-c-hotel-lease-is-valid-despite-ban-on-elected-officials
  25. Performance-based payments law vs. reg

    Vern and ShawnT, I don't think this issue is that clear - conceivably, valid arguments could be made on either side based on which definitions are chosen. For instance, let's consider that the language in 10 USC 2307(b) says nothing about performance based payment amounts - it uses the term "performance based payments," which based on the following definition of payment, could mean the issuance of the PBP: That definition along with the alternative definitions of "conditioned upon" or "condition" would be consistent with an interpretation that the PBP criteria governing when a payment shall be issued cannot be tied to costs incurred, but the amount expended can still be limited by costs incurred to avoid unintended advance payments. Vern makes an interesting assumption that industry lobbied for the change which may very well be true; however, could it also be possible that there was a push within the Government to be more restrictive and/or explicit that PBP criteria cannot be tied to costs incurred based on misuse by agencies? Despite the differing interpretations, I'm inclined to believe my original position for now (despite a much more experienced/educated individual disagreeing with me) because payment amounts receives its own paragraph at 10 USC 2307( c ). That would be the natural place for any language consistent with ShawnT's interpretation of the law and the language currently there does not prohibit the DoD from being more restrictive by limiting the PBP amounts to no more than the costs incurred.