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FARTheLoveOfGod

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  1. Have upcoming recompete of a five year (Base + four 1-year OPs) FFP commercial service requirement subject to Service Contract Labor Standards (SCLS) so Contractors have right of first refusal (Non-Displacement of Qualified Workers). We just need bodies to do the work as opposed to new solutions so with that being said both current and I think preceding contracts went LPTA and thinking the same for the recompete as there is nothing really to tradeoff. Issue although not really an issue for me personally but is that I'm told some of these Contractors due to the WD positions in which they occupy have not received a pay raise in five to ten years as Wage Determination (WD) rates have remained static for numerous positions. Yet this requirement supports a somewhat remote facility so while there is turnover / attrition it's not at the rate you'd expect and instead it is usually an awkward environment as these Contractors work alongside Feds in some instances. Historically and practically, all the competitive SCLS requirements I've done have been FFP & LPTA in which the Offerors just propose the current WD rate for the SCLS covered employees for all PoPs (i.e. Base and OPs). However, for non-competitive SCLS requirements I've done (i.e. 8(a) direct source), it was acceptable for the Offeror to propose modest (1% - 2%) escalation to hourly rates each PoP. Like honestly and in at least in my experience thus far, it's like you only see no salary escalations as an across the board rule of thumb in competitive procurements subject to SCLS, the Contractor employees of which usually make way less than Professional Services employees, but I digress. Anyways, I've scoured the threads here concerning permissibility of proposing increases from the WD rates in the Base and OPs, and the verdict seems like a hung jury. However, this thread (http://www.wifcon.com/discussion/index.php?/topic/1750-service-contract-act-escalation-and-cost-reimbursement-solicitation/) brought a GAO case ( to my attention whereby GAO raised no objection to Offerors proposing COLAs for SCLS covered employees per RFP instructions "to propose realistic prices that allowed for increases for things such as cost of living" and even went so far as to say an Offeror who didn't and instead choose to rely on future WD increases resulted in a Government evaluation on an unequal / apples and oranges basis that should be resolved during discussions with that one Offeror (at least that's how I'm interpreting it --> reference p.11-12). While this GAO case was for a FP IDIQ, it was a tradeoff procurement in which the RFP stated price would be evaluated for realism and reasonableness. Interestingly enough, the protest was sustained because GAO agreed the Government evaluated it as if it was a LPTA procurement. My initial thought was then why wouldn't it be permissible for my RFP instructions to otherwise mimic the RFP language from this GAO case i.e. state that proposed pricing for base and OPs must reflect any planned increases necessary to achieve say for example Offerors' recruitment and retention policies e.g. a COLA? But then since there is no need for me to conduct a price realism analysis and since my procurement is LPTA, the difference between the winner and losers could potentially come down to who proposed the lowest COLA, if the winning Offeror even thinks there is a need to propose one. I could see the incumbent doing this, and I don't see how I'd evaluate as technically unacceptable given the aforementioned historical turnover / attrition background. Then I thought well while I've never seen a RFQ or RFP state a maximum escalation rate at which the Government would consider reasonable, but what if instead I had a RFQ/RFP term or cost/price evaluation instructions/process state any escalation above a certain % will not be considered fair and reasonable. I know competition usually takes care of the issue of overinflated escalation, but again this isn't a competitive Professional Services circumstances or tradeoff procurement where you'd typically still see escalation proposed. Given how competitive LPTA SCLS requirements are responded to by Offerors, I don't see this as unduly restrictive or unfair. And I am well aware this doesn't guarantee or require that the Contractor will actually pay its employees these escalated rates above the WD. Anyone want to provide an opinion on this and how the proposing of 0% escalation in SCLS procurements is fair and reasonable to both Gov and Contractor when some positions don't see hourly rate increases for multiple years on revised WDs in combination with the historical background of the SCA that was to ensure "prevailing" wage rates and fringe benefits were paid by the Gov. to service Contractor employees. Just trying to get some insight for the resources here. Thanks in advance.
  2. FARTheLoveOfGod

    Part 5 requirements when using SAP of Part 13

    @ Boof - Thanks for the reply, and I completely agree with the contradicting observation. @ Don Mansfield - Thanks for the reply, and I see where you are coming from, but what then is your interpretation of FAR 13.104(b) in relation to FAR 13.105(a)?
  3. I am weighing the options for the recompete of a non-complex commercial service requirement subject to the Service Contract Act (SCA) with an estimated value of $4M. It will be a socioeconomic set-aside. Market Research has confirmed there are capable Contractors in the targeted socioeconomic set-aside and narrowed down the procurement strategy to either a Part 12, 13, or 15 acquisition (no GSA or Part 8 sources for that matter or internal IDIQ/Part 16 vehicles fit the scope). The Part 15 approach is not desired nor necessary based on these other available options. We are potentially leaning towards a Part 13 approach using Simplified Acquisition Procedures (SAP) in accordance with (IAW) 13.5--Simplified Procedures for Certain Commercial Items as opposed to a combined synopsis / solicitation procedure IAW with FAR Part 12.603 due to flexibility, benefit, and no need really for having to describe the relative importance of evaluation factors when SAP are followed (see FAR 12.602(a) for comparative difference refresh of evaluation factor differences if need be). My question concerns confusion between the promoting competition i.e. solicitation requirements of FAR 13.104 and the synopsis and posting requirements of FAR 13.105. FAR 13.104 only requires promotion of competition to maximum extent possible in consideration of the administrative cost of the purchase and states if using SAP and not providing notice via the Governmentwide point of entry (GPE i.e. FBO), maximum competition can ordinarily be obtained by soliciting quotations or offers from sources within the local trade area (requirement location is DC suburb so no shortage of available Contractors). FAR 13.104(b) also states “Unless the contract action requires synopsis pursuant to 5.101 and an exception under 5.202 is not applicable, consider solicitation of at least three sources to promote competition to the maximum extent practicable.” Is it not reasonable to interpret this as I could just identify three sources from Market Research to whom to send a solicitation (electronically) and not worry about the Publicizing Contract Actions requirements of FAR Part 5 (as this action would normally require synopsis pursuant to 5.101 and no exception under 5.202 is applicable)? But then I interpret 13.105(a) as stating the complete opposite --> “The contracting officer must comply with the public display and synopsis requirements of 5.101 and 5.203 unless an exception in 5.202 applies.” No exception from 5.202 applies to my requirement based on my analysis (really wish SAP was explicitly called out here but conversely then why does 13.104(b) say acceptable to solicit three sources to ordinarily obtain max practicable competition). FARTheLoveOfGod why does the FAR do this? Am I misinterpreting 13.104(b)? If I am, then what's the purpose of identifying and soliciting three sources using SAP and then having to post on FBO anyways...rhetorical question as I do not see a purpose. By no means am I trying to circumvent FAR requirements, rather I am just trying to understand and interpret them as written because I don’t see how the use of SAP would achieve the purposes of FAR Part 13 as iterated in FAR 13.002 (reduce admin costs, promote efficiency and economy, avoid unnecessary burdens, and like I said it will be a socioeconomic set-aside) when a notification to the GPE via FBO IAW FAR 5.101 and 5.203 per FAR 13.105 is required for this requirement and potentially result in an overwhelming number of responses. I see how the evaluation process is simplified from a quality aspect using SAP e.g. easier to evaluate responses, but how then would SAP be "simplified" from a quantity aspect concerning the potential burden of a potentially overwhelming number of responses due the to FBO posting requirement...seems counterintuitive to FAR 13.002 because if I synopsize then I'll basically have to send a subsequent solicitation to any vendor that expresses interest from a fairness aspect and then the procurement is potentially no longer "simplified" or "practicable". Furthermore, every labor category is basically subject to the SCA so the local Wage Determination sets a baseline for competitive pricing, and it is about a certainty that the FBO posting part will not result in some previously unknown vendor being able to provide ultra competitive pricing. In conclusion and FARTheLoveOfGod, is it permissible to just solicit at least three sources directly using SAP and not worry about the requirements of FAR 5.101 and 5.203 since no exceptions apply IAW 5.202 but since SAP are being utilized? I think the answer is yes. Hopefully, you understand from where my confusion above arises, and if you think I have misinterpreted, which probably means you disagree with my answer, then maybe we can agree that FAR 5.202 (the FBO exceptions), 13.104, and 13.105 could arguably stand some revisions / clarifications. Looking forward to your input.
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