Lionel Hutz

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About Lionel Hutz

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  1. Well, that's the grammatical intent. I doubt most readers, including myself, would make a conscious distinction between the two. Personally, in a longer piece of writing, I prefer to mix longer and shorter sentences because I think it creates a better "flow" to my writing. But that does not make another approach wrong. I assume you're joking. Either way, although I have read the New Yorker, I am not a regular reader. I think everyone here can attest to the fact that you are an effective writer. Rules of grammar are meant to assist a writer clearly convey thoughts; they are not immutable laws of science. Once you’ve reached a certain point of literacy in your writing, blindly adhering to a rule of grammar simply for the sake of following a rule seems silly. I ignore rules of grammar all the time, both knowingly and unknowingly.
  2. I'll play along. Use a semicolon if you want to create a link between the two statements, usually when the statements are related to or contrast with one another. For example, I run five miles every morning; it invigorates me and prepares me for my work. Each of those statements could be its own sentence; however, by using a semicolon I've gramatically reinforced the relationship between the act of running and the invigorating benefits.
  3. Well, as we all know, the semicolon's most important use is in the "winky face" emoticon. ; ) But, when it comes to lists, if any of the items in the series contain a comma, separate the items with a semicolon. I invited Vern; Bob, who is Vern's friend; and Don to the St. Patrick's Day party.
  4. The Associated Press Stylebook omits the Oxford comma. Neither is "right" nor "wrong," it is a matter of style. If your meaning is ambiguous, the ambiguity can be clarified by either using the Oxford comma or rearranging the sentence to clarify the meaning. Opposition to the use of the Oxford comma is often partly based on the opinion that too many commas impede the flow of the sentence. For example, journalist, humorist, and playwright James Thurber preferred writing "the red white and blue" to "the red, white, and blue." In a letter to Harold Ross, the founding editor of the New Yorker, he stated, "All those commas make the flag seem rained on. They give it a furled look. Leave them out, and Old Glory is flung to the breeze, as it should be." In technical and legal writing, where clarity should trump style, I would use the Oxford comma. In other writing, if someone thinks the sentence reads better without it, go for it.
  5. From a practical standpoint, I think it is included to spur the contractor to raise any claims sooner rather than later. A contractor has 6 years to file a claim, and the longer it waits to submit one, the more difficult it is for the government to negotiate, settle or litigate. (Files disappear, people change jobs, etc.) Whether a release of claims in a mod to deobligate funds is actually enforceable is a different question. In my opinion, a modification that only deobligates excess funds does not affect the rights and obligations of the parties. If a contractor has the right to be paid under the contract, that right exists irrespective of whether the government changes or deobligates the funds on the contract. Similarly, an improper recording of funds does not create a contractual right. Therefore, a stand-alone deobligation of funds modification should be considered an administrative modification carried out so that the government can reconcile its fiscal books. With regard to Commercial Item Contracts, 52.212-4(c) only provides that “Changes to the terms and conditions of this contract…” must be bilateral. In my opinion, a statement in the contract about the government’s funding source, which is not binding on either the government or the contractor, is not a term or condition of the contract. Therefore, a unilateral modification is appropriate and Block 13 B should be checked for the authority.
  6. Unless the contract language specifically provides otherwise, there is not a recurring minimum every time an option is exercised. See Varilease Technology Group, Inc. v. United States, 289 F.3d 795 (Fed. Cir. 2002) (emphasis added).
  7. That's not true. The ADA imposes prohibitions at the appropriations level (31 U.S.C. § 1341(a)(1)(A) and (B)), at the apportionment level (31 U.S.C. § 1517(a)), and at the formal subdivision level (31 U.S.C. § 1517(a)). So, a violation at any of those levels would be a violation of the ADA.
  8. Is it this one?
  9. If there was no contract and no one in the Government ordered services such that a ratification is appropriate, but the Government still received the benefit of the services, then the contractor may have a claim arising out of Quantum Meruit. Such claims used to be settled by GAO, and if you check Comp Gen decision you will find old decisions laying out the basis for deciding a claim based on Quantum Meruit. In 1995-96, Congress transferred authority to settle general claims to OMB. OMB has since delegated much of that authority to the Executive Agencies. If you are in DoD, that authority now rests with the Claims Division at the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals. You can find more information here: I recently dealt with a situation similar to the OP's, and dealing with this office is not a quick process. It was a relatively straight-forward claim that the Agency agreed should be paid. After all documentation was submitted, it took about a year for them to issue an opinion granting authority to pay based on Quantum Meruit.
  10. FAR 15.305(a)(2)(i) describes a Past Performance Evaluation as a “…comparative assessment of Past Performance Information…” FAR 42.1501 then describes Past Performance Information as follows: (a) Past performance information (including the ratings and supporting narratives) is relevant information, for future source selection purposes, regarding a contractor’s actions under previously awarded contracts or orders. It includes, for example, the contractor’s record of— (1) Conforming to requirements and to standards of good workmanship; (2) Forecasting and controlling costs; (3) Adherence to schedules, including the administrative aspects of performance; (4) Reasonable and cooperative behavior and commitment to customer satisfaction; (5) Reporting into databases (see subpart 4.14, and reporting requirements in the solicitation provisions and clauses referenced in 9.104-7); (6) Integrity and business ethics; and (7) Business-like concern for the interest of the customer. You said, “We are asking contractors to submit samples of work (audit reports) that they have previously performed to be evaluated under past performance.” It is unclear whether you mean the PP rating will be based solely on an evaluation of the sample work, or whether that sample evaluation would be one of many factors to be considered in establishing the rating. An example of a work product may give you some insight into the offerors level of “workmanship” (i.e., (a)(1)). It may also help a contracting officer determine the relevancy of that effort to the proposed work. But, it provides little to no information with regard to the many other factors that should go into an overall Past Performance Evaluation. Therefore, I think a PP evaluation that only considers a snapshot example of “workmanship” would be insufficient. However, I am not aware of any prohibition on requesting and considering such information as part of a larger overall PP evaluation.
  11. This. I don't think a $350 fee will affect overall year end numbers. But I do think it will deter some contractors/firms that have essentially made filing cut and paste protests a hobby.
  12. What about a Fixed Price Unit Price contract with an estimate of 2080 hours and a variation in estimates clause? I'm not suggesting that is the answer, I'm actually asking whether that would work. There is another thread discussing FFPUP contracts where Vern and Don discussed whether the "unit price" could be simply a labor hour or whether it had to be based on some other unit of measuring the service. ( But I'm not sure that was ever resolved.
  13. Makes me think of Donald Rumsfeld's most famous quote, "As we know, there are known knowns; there are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns; that is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns—the ones we don’t know we don’t know."
  14. FAR 8.1104 Contract clauses directs the inclusion of certain FAR clauses in solicitations and contracts for leasing of motor vehicles. Specifically, FAR 8.1104(e) directs the K.O. to insert "The provisions and clauses prescribed elsewhere in the FAR for solicitations and contracts for supplies when a fixed-price contract is contemplated..." One could argue that if fixed price vehicle lease contracts are supposed to be treated as supply contracts, it would be appropriate to treat other equipment lease contracts similarly. In the alternative, one could argue that equipment leases are generally treated as service contracts, and that is why the FAR explicitly directs use of supply clauses in this case. In addition, I found this from Leonardo Manning, Director, DAU Center for Contracting: " Put simply, a commodity or supply is an item that the customer (the Government) can touch or hold in its hands. FAR Part 2 defines supply items as"...all property except land or interest in land..." It does not matter whether the items are owned or leased by the Government." Personally, I think treating a lease of equipment as a supply makes more sense, but there seems to be plenty of conflicting info and guidance out there.
  15. I agree. Although in my experience, most auto repair is done on a T&M basis. They provide a quote, but are not bound to it. You pay the actual labor hours. In this case, the Government is looking to make the quote binding, i.e., FFP.