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REA'n Maker

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Everything posted by REA'n Maker

  1. "Amusing" doesn't even begin to describe it. Regarding lawyers: "it is unfair to judge the entire profession by five or six hundred thousand bad apples." "These cases are often handled by informal but effective sanctions. For example, if you fail to pay your exorcist, he could have you repossessed." That is positively EPIC! 😆🤣🙄
  2. So keeping the current suppliers with the revised terms was in the best interest of Airbus and therefore has objective value. Makes sense to me.
  3. Looks like HHS 1102's are still paying the price for the Obamacare website fiasco. Absurd and damaging levels of oversight from the very same people who caused the whole mess is the standard response when such a giant SNAFU happens. This is why we can't have nice things!
  4. "CBD" don't mean what it used to mean neither. 😆🤣
  5. This is one of those questions that seems to cause great consternation to many people whenever it occurs: are the FAR terms "Determination" and "Determination and Findings" synonymous? For example, FAR 17.207(d) says "The contracting officer, after considering price and other factors, shall make the determination on the basis of one of the following" and then goes on to list the three relevant factors. Paragraph (f) expands that a bit by adding "Before exercising an option, the contracting officer shall make a written determination for the contract file.." and then lists what must be attested to. [emphasis mine] There is no call for a D&F anywhere in FAR 17.202 or 17.207. FAR 1.701 defines 'Determination and Findings' as '"...a special form of written approval by an authorized official that is required by statute or regulation as a prerequisite to taking certain contract actions. The "determination" is a conclusion or decision supported by the "findings.’’' [emphasis mine] FAR 17.207 requires me to document the file with my determination that I am compliant, but (for example) FAR 6.202 says I must prepare "...a determination and findings (D&F) (see subpart 1.7) signed by the head of the agency or designee" before I exclude sources. These are not the same things. The CO is not asking for approval to exercise an option, whereas the D&F to exclude sources is a "special form of written approval by an authorized official", typically the HCA. Not an earth-shattering topic to be sure, but it's Friday, I've got a few spare minutes, and I'm curious about the opinions of other Procurement Professionals on this (also, I cannot get CS's to stop sending me "D&F's to exercise an option" and it's really staring to bug me that they can't cite where the FAR or agency requires such a thing). I do believe however it goes to one of the most common problems in the 1102 community: doing something because everyone has always done it that way, even if no one can explain why.
  6. One more example of when to not evaluate PP is when it's not meaningful, for example, evaluating the PP of the Best Buy corporation when buying 2 monitors for the conference room from the store down the street (slight permutation of bullet 4 above).
  7. Fundamental to this issue, yes. Immigration law is the same way for the same reasons. New rules and regulations are added every day at every level to create the illusion of progress when all they are doing is adding layers of complexity which accomplish nothing. When I was a consultant I conducted an organizational assessment of USCIS during the INS breakup period and had numerous interviews with the adjudicators ("immigration officers") who described driving to work in the morning and hearing about some new law or regulation that they had to implement when they got to work without any clue of what any of it meant. It definitely struck me how similar that is to being an 1102 (think Covid clauses). "Sustainable acquisition checklists" , "strategic sourcing memos" and the like multiply like flies and accomplish nothing except add to the space required to store our files. Don't even get me started with what has been done to Part 12. The -4 and -5 clause packages have ballooned, what, by a factor of 10 times or more since they were first conceived? Is acquisition of commercial supplies and services any the better for it? Complicated, Convoluted, Complex, Intricate. And don't forget Contradictory. I'm now required to evaluate a vendor regarding their "equity and inclusion" but personal services considerations preclude me from having anything to do with hiring decisions. How is THAT supposed to work exactly? Complicatededness is only relevant to insiders. Insiders are anyone who profits from the current system, including this guy (points thumbs at self).
  8. Ok, but I have literally been hearing that since I was hired as an intern in 1992 under the outstanding scholar program which was put in place because of....the aging 1102 workforce. This is not new. The fundamental issue is similar to the tax code - Federal procurement is overly complicated and favorable to insiders, because if it weren't complicated and favorable to insiders, an entire sector of our economy would go out of business overnight. The FAR Bootcamp would be one a one-day webinar! 😆 For example, eliminating the CICA stay would wring out hundreds of thousands of wasted dollars and hours of effort in Federal procurement but there's too much money being made by insiders to ever allow that.
  9. Similarly. Situated. Entity. Three great words that work great together.
  10. No I did not - 'twas but a lowly consultant. I did review and recommend travel and other invoiced costs for payment. Invoices ran about $15M per month during the science season. We once paid a guy from Wells Fargo over $15K to service the McMurdo station's 2 ATMs. Most interesting contracting story was during our yearly award fee board meeting when we were discussing how to properly account for an incident whereby the contractor winter-over crew lost their minds a little bit and started fighting and breaking stuff. The station manager had to be deputized as a US Marshal via Skype in order to confine one of the troublemakers. The program office was all impressed how the contractor "took full responsibility and paid all expenses associated with the 109th New York ANG flying in a C-130 in the dead of winter to get their people out". That was when I pointed out that the contract said that any contractor-caused damage to government property greater than $250K would result in zero fee, so them paying >$100k for the airlift was actually so that their MUCH greater award fee would not be in jeopardy. Mic drop moment. Scientists in Antarctica Drink a Lot. Maybe Too Much | WIRED
  11. If you would pay a contractor to attend a conference at the government's behest from which they take no useful information away because it was terribly organized and poorly planned (that never happens, right?), how could you justify not paying them to sit on an airplane to go to said conference? Neither activity provided 'value' and they were only there because you told them to go. I once worked on the Antarctic support contract for NSF, which involved almost a full week of travel time to the ice depending on the itinerary (via Chile or New Zealand). Would you expect a contractor to travel gratis for days on end with no labor hours charged? (NSF also paid T&M for medical exams, psych evals, and immunizations.) Methinks the time spent negotiating something like this would cost more than any savings potential. The key is not sending contractors on non-value added travel in the first place. My only negotiation stipulation would be that no overtime is authorized for travel.
  12. Speaking as someone who was there, the 1970's and 1990's couldn't have been more different so I'm not sure of the source of the confusion here. 🙄
  13. And someone went to jail as well. Let's not forget how this whole saga started. How a mature commercial product married to a mature, proven technology/process (mid air refueling) could get so FUBAR'd is mind-boggling. The notion that Airbus was going to win such a large US military contract was absurd from the start and only got more absurd with every passing day. And now this.
  14. Considering that T4C is not indicative of a breach, I would question the usefulness of investigating it further in regard to past performance. I think you're asking for trouble by turning a non-prejudicial occurrence into a discriminator.
  15. Good example of the CO providing sound business advice. Short, simple, to the point.
  16. Good stuff as usual. Would love to see a real-world example of how it should be done, if such a thing exists. The question is 'why' this continues, and I believe at least part of the answer lies with the same people who constantly complain about cookie and ashtray specs - the vendor community. They love "innovation" and "streamlining" until it causes them to lose a competition, and then it's "the Government didn't tell us which version of the Air Force handbook we were supposed to follow". Be careful what you ask for, etc.
  17. Considering its obvious bias against merit-based hiring, suggested title for current iteration: Ensuring Mediocracy and Status Quo in Government Operations 79 FR 5150
  18. Having sat on both sides of the fence at various points in my career, I have become ambivalent about the use of hours in a T&M contract mainly because that is how the NTEs were developed. I'm not aware of any FAR prohibition on doing that. DLA used to do that in my contract when I was a consultant and while it was useful in matching resources to contract requirements (DLA used sub-CLINs by LCAT), the CLINs inevitably became "unbalanced". As the former 1102, I got the enviable task of sitting down with DFAS to untangle the mess created when the invoice and contract didn't match (i.e., overruns on some sub-CLINs and underruns on others). I think the use of hours in a T&M contract is an artifact of the estimation process that some COs don't know to not carry over to the contract. I used to have that argument with my pricers when I was a contract PM as well. Not a good idea, but understandable.
  19. FPDS is definitely buggy but based on your later post it seems clear the problem is the way it was entered into your local contract writing system, which in turn feeds FPDS. You are trying to put too much in a data field intended for the plain English description of the item or service being acquired. Without knowing specifics, the only advice I can offer regarding how to address your problem is: Don't enter duplicate data. Say it once and say it clearly; Don't use CLIN Descriptions for accounting information that is not auto-rendered; Simplify everything if not for your own sanity, but for the sake of the poor slob who's gotta' figure it out after you move upwards or onwards; Try to make your CLINs track 1-1 to your funding as much as possible; Use sub-CLINs as little as possible (Ok maybe a personal preference here but there seems little upside in general, and some IT systems never adopted that convention); Copy Rule 3 and put it on your wall. The cost and target information would be better placed in Block 14 of the SF30 which provides the funding for the increase. How to untangle the CLINs in the contract writing system to fix the FPDS errors is something I'm not sure any human knows. Good luck.
  20. You are buying hours with a CR contract. Yes, a deliberate over-simplification, but a practical truth nonetheless, and an example of why they should only be used as a last resort. (I'm also puzzled by the "no notice" reference. Isn't 'no' used as an adverb in "No notice, communication, or representation..."? Maybe I read the OP wrong?)
  21. A cost analysis should be built up from cost elements, not backed into from top-line totals.
  22. That's why I never use imperatives in a SSN - incorporating as few "shall" statements as possible and including a "request" to have SSN responses in by a certain time. Basic business judgement which disadvantages no one.
  23. When I was a consultant, I pulled both of the Cibinic & Nash procurement bibles out of a recycle bin at DOC. Neither of them looked like they had ever been opened. There are 2 axioms (in Federal procurement consulting anyway) that have never failed to be true in 20 years: 1) Management never believes they are at fault for the failures of their organization, and 2) Management is always at fault for the failures of their organization (somebody was signing that crap after all). 100% of the time leadership believed the problem was that no one who worked for them was as smart as they are, because the stupid CS's didn't use 12 sub-factors in addition to the 4 uber-factors or their RFP didn't include critical guidance to the vendor such as "2 + 2 = 4". The troops were plenty well trained; it's their leaders who insisted on the approach they learned in the mid-1990's when they last took a procurement course.
  24. What I have found, at least at my agency of 1-1/2 years, is that programs think they can fix their inability to manage their existing contractors/incumbents with a source selection to end all source selections for the next contractor. The conversations tend to go like "Why are you insisting on employing unnecessarily complex evaluation factors which are not meaningful discriminators anyway??" The answer inevitably is "Because [current contractor name here] isn't doing what we want." Insisting the COR to do their dadgum job is an option they never considered. So they think (for example) if they gin up a scenario for the RFP which describes something they are unhappy with now, they can fix it in the future by eliminating anyone who doesn't address their ridiculous sample scenario to their satisfaction. They literally believe they can source-select their way out of post-award contract management responsibilities, if only they are allowed to add JUST ONE MORE FACTOR/SUBFACTOR.
  25. I would look at their personnel retention. We don't look at compensation plans because we Stand for the Rights of the Workers of the World in their Ongoing Struggle Against their Capitalist Running Dogs Oppressors, we do it because we don't want people walking off the contract. The point is not to judge what's "fair". Not sure about you, but "compensation specialist" is not in my PD. Who knows; maybe these guys offer 100% telework and people are willing to work for less.
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