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Everything posted by JML

  1. JML

    How Do You Feel About Your Work?

    I came into contracting with an air and passenger/intermodal transportation background in operations, plans, and leadership roles (responsible for 65 employees). I have two MS degrees, including one in Systems (Program) Management. A little over two years ago I was hired to be a contract specialist for an international sealift branch of a Unified Command that specialized in transportation, and I was told my role was to be that of a research specialist supporting a several billion dollar transportation acquisition that was being worked. About two weeks after I entered the branch, I was told I would no longer be the go to guy for the market research for the new contract, but would instead approve rates for the existing contract. I spent the next year and a half doing this. The entire time I did this, I was constantly told that my prior experience didn?t matter because I was new to contracting. The irony is, because of my background, I was the only contract specialist who understood the customer?s needs and the intricate of intermodal transportation. I followed Vern?s advice ? I learned about our command?s mission (not hard since I was in a component command when this command was just a few years old. I attended all of the classes and training I could get, and I worked hard to learn the FAR. I bought the Cibinic and Nash books and actually studied them. The few times I used to books to forward an opinion regarding the contract or the administration of the contract, I was told ?? that stuff was old and out of date and to stop wasting my time on it.? I received an administrative assignment transfer into a different branch for career broadening. My first month in, my branch chief told me that the Change Authority I used in a modification I worked was wrong, and that any 1102 worth his salt would know that; and that I had to use a different clause. The problem is, the clause he wanted me to use wasn?t in the contract, it was a commercial clause and didn?t apply to the non-commercial contract, and the clause I used was in fact, the correct clause. My relationship with him went downhill from there. The contracting process is ponderous ? just about ALL actions, regardless of dollar amounts required JA and Policy approval. A simple commercial purchase for a standard tiedown device took over seven months and went through three different contract types before setteling on a requirements contract. An important provision was left out of the final RFP because the Division Chief insisted I follow the sample book, which was for services, not supplies. Any provision or clause that was not in the sample book was removed. What I see in the command are CO?s who aren?t allowed to make decisions, and a cookie cutter one size fits all approach to contracting that discounts the customer and the contractor. I constantly hear that our customers are idiots, that program managers don?t know what they are doing and that the contractors are all out to screw us. I always said contracting is like martial arts, in that the more you learn, the more you realize you don?t know, but if you keep plugging away and use common sense, you will achieve good results. My experience here has shown a lack of common sense, and a parochialism that stifles creativity and hinders efficiency and productivity. Most customers don?t like to work with our AQ Directorate, the Program Manager?s relationship with AQ is rock bottom and I have one contractor who has yet to be paid in 11 months because DCAA refuses to approve their invoices until the have an audit and fix the deficiencies. The audit has taken over 6 months and is still not released. This is a small business, commercial contract, and the branch chief refuses to engage JA or Policy to try to get them involved to resolve the issue so our contractor can get taken care of. So after two years I worked on my resume and started to apply for non 1102 positions outside of this command. My last day in contracting will be a week from Friday. When I announced I was leaving, one person told me,?I?m sorry you are leaving contracting ? I love contracting and wouldn?t do anything else?.Except, I hate how (our command) does it ? it isn?t right.? Then irony is that was said by someone in a leadership position in our policy branch, and they are guiding the Directorate?s AQ process. Actions speak louder than words.
  2. JML

    Of Capital, Journeymen, and MOTH

    Quite a while back when I was stationed at Clark AB (Philippines) I was in a unit that deployed often, and every time we returned there was a new headgear policy. The day I returned from a deployment in Thailand, I was wearing jungle fatigues and the floppy hat that went with it -- which was fine when I left for the deployment, but according to the Chief that stopped me, not a valid headgear the day I returned, and he should know because he was in charge of the headgear policy for the base. So I drafted a bogus suggestion memo recommending a "Special Hat Investigation Team" be formed to weed out the hat transgressions, and I suggested Chief So-and-so be put in charge of the team. I further suggested the Team members wear distinctive tan and brown headgear with the acronym embroidered in gold in the front and of course, since the Chief was in charge, his hat should read SH!T HEAD so we could all understand his role. My boss got a hold of it and sent it to the Wing Commander. The Wing Commander said the Chief was quite put out when it was shared with him.