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  1. By Angel N. Davis, Once upon a time, most Government Contracting firms were small. As we all know, growing a business is no small achievement and requires a tremendous amount of perseverance, hard work and a dedicated team focused on delivering exceptional products and services to your customers. Building It Government Contracting businesses have the potential for substantial growth margins. So, when launching your first-class contracting business, you’ll first want to develop a business plan that captures the following elements: Vision Establishment of Policies and Procedures Implementation of Adequate Systems Well defined Roles and Responsibilities Be A Visionary The vision must be clear, concise, and communicated effectively. It’s essential to understand how your vision will help drive the success and the growth of the business. The Fun Stuff We all need Policies and Procedures! The purpose of Policies and Procedures are to guide and support effective contract management and administration. We rely on the expertise of our Contract Managers to mitigate risk, effectively negotiate contractual terms and conditions, interpret regulations and advise the internal customers on the best course of action related to the contract requirements. Your policies and procedures should include guidance on how to conduct business on behalf of the organization as it relates to every aspect of the Contract Management lifecycle: Pre-Award, Post- Award, and Close-out. Well written policies and procedures must be implemented so that the contracts organization can maintain a consistent standard of providing exceptional service and support to internal and external customers. It’s All About the System It’s necessary to identify Adequate Systems and Tools to assist with the administration and management of all contracts. When deciding on which systems or tools to use, you should consider your approved accounting systems, the number of current and future potential contracts, the end users and your required compliance standards. These systems should allow you to track the contract funding/ceiling value, manage contract awards, modifications, deliverables and Federal Regulations. A Little R&R Your contracts organization must understand their roles and responsibilities as a part of their job function. Well defined roles and responsibilities provide clarity and support the vision and the goals of the organization. There is a high value placed on the support and knowledge of your Contracts Manager. Your Contracts Manager is a business partner and should be relied upon to make decisions that protect your organization from risk and issues, support business growth and interface with the customer on behalf of the organization. As your business grows, roles and responsibilities will evolve, and to maintain your success, everyone must always understand the expectations of the organization. We’re confident that these Best Practices will help you establish a first-class contracts organization. If you’d like information on how to implement these best practices, please contact us! About the Author: Angel Davis, CFCM Contracts Manager Angel N. Davis has over thirteen years of experience in federal contracts management. She is a Certified Federal Contracts Manager (CFCM) and is currently President of the Tysons Chapter of the National Contract Management Association (NCMA). While completing the NCMA Contract Management Leadership Development Program (CMLDP), Angel successfully pioneered the NCMA Tysons Women In Leadership Initiative. View the full article
  2. By JW Butler The General Services Administration (GSA) will occasionally refresh the terms and conditions across all of the GSA Schedule solicitations. When a Schedule solicitation refreshes, it can be for several reasons such as adding, deleting, or amending Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) or General Services Administration Acquisition Regulation (GSAR) clauses or adding or revising the Special Item Numbers (SINs). Occasionally, the refresh contains simple formatting or spelling changes. When changes are made to the Schedule solicitations, GSA issues a Mass Modification to all contract holders under the applicable Schedule. These changes must be accepted on each of your contracts to keep your contract up to date with the latest solicitation terms and conditions. Vendors can request an exception to specific terms and conditions in a Mass Modification; however, these exceptions can be difficult to get approved. If a vendor has any outstanding Mass Modifications, they will not be able to modify their contract until the Mass Modifications are accepted. If a vendor has more than one contract under the same Schedule, such as two IT70 Schedules, the Mass Modification must be accepted for BOTH Schedules. GSA will send an email to the contract administrator listed on contract in GSA’s System with a subject line similar to the following: “Modification to Schedule PSS Refresh 33 <Contract GS10F0040S> (A723)”. This email will contain the PIN necessary to accept the Mass Modification. Because this email is only sent to your contract administrator, it is important to ensure the contract administrator information for your contract is always current. This will help to avoid missing any Mass Modifications. If a Mass Modification is missed or the PIN has expired, you can request a new PIN be sent by contacting your Administrative Contracting Officer (ACO). If you do not know your ACO’s name or contact information, it can be found here. Mass Modifications must be accepted in the order of when they were released. If you fail to accept a Mass Modification, you will not be sent a PIN for the next Mass Modification until the previous Mass Modification is accepted. Steps to accept Mass Modifications Go to the Mass Modification System Enter your contract number, with no spaces, in the search bar Select the open Mass Modification for which you received the PIN Enter the PIN GSA provided via email Select an email address from the drop-down menu for a one-time security code. NOTE: The list of emails in the drop-down menu are the authorized negotiators with signature authority on your contract Enter the one-time security code you received Review the summary of the changes applicable to the Mass Modification and click “Continue” through these pages. Click the “Select All Remaining Clauses” option when prompted to accept the changes in the Mass Modification, then click on “Accept Selected” Enter your contact information at the end of the acceptance process Re-enter the PIN provided by GSA Exit the webpage. You will receive an email following acceptance with a link to download the final SF30 Spring forward Be on the lookout for an upcoming Mass Modification email as GSA recently announced that all Schedule Solicitations are expected to refresh sometime this spring. If you have any questions or require assistance in accepting you Mass Modifications feel free to contact anyone on our GSA Consulting Team. About the Author: JW Butler Consultant JW Butler is GSA/VA Contract Consultant at Centre Law & Consulting. JW supports the consulting team in preparing various contract modifications, market analysis for products/services, and GSA Advantage catalog updates for Schedule contracts. JW also assists in the preparation of both new Schedule and successful legacy proposals, as well as uses the Schedule Input Program (SIP) to upload catalogs to GSA eLibrary and GSA Advantage. View the full article
  3. By David Warner Last month, a divided U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that a plaintiff adequately alleges “protected activity” under the False Claims Act’s whistleblower protection provision. This provision is where individuals report concerns related to conduct, that could reasonably lead to a viable FCA action. The First Circuit reversed the lower court’s prior dismissal of the action, which was based in part on the absence of any allegations of a false claim. The plaintiff in Guilfoile v. Shields was the former executive of a specialty pharmacy service provider Shields Health Solutions. He alleged that he was fired from his job in retaliation for accusing his employer of violating the Anti-Kickback Statute and making false representations in customer contracts. See 31 U.S.C. § 3730(h); 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7b(b). After successfully leading the growth of the company over two years, in the fall of 2015, Guilfoile became concerned that the company was violating the law. The concerns explicitly related to a contract providing for a $35,000 per quarter “referral fee” to a consulting firm for referring two hospitals to Shields Health Solutions and whether those fees had “improperly induced [the consultant] to steer the hospital contracts to” the defendant. The plaintiff raised concerns that the fees violated the federal Anti-Kickback Statute insofar as the contracts would result in the company making claims for payment to federal insurance programs. He also raised concerns with contractual representations that the company purportedly operated a 24/7 call center when it did not do so. Shortly after raising these concerns, Guilfoile was terminated without explanation. The U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts dismissed Guilfoile’s FCA retaliation claim on the basis that he had failed to adequately plead that he had engaged in protected conduct, the first element of such a claim under the statute. On appeal, the First Circuit distinguished the pleading standards for qui tam actions from retaliation claims. Specifically, the court noted that while a qui tam suit required facts supporting the existence of an actual false claim, a retaliation suit need only show “conduct that reasonably could lead to a viable FCA action.” The court reasoned that the broader standard was consistent with the legislative intent that “protected activity for purposes of an FCA retaliation claim should … be interpreted broadly.” Thus, FCA retaliation protection extends beyond actual submission of false claims. Per Guilfoile, even if no false claim has actually been submitted, an employee’s concerns over conduct that could lead to such a violation in the future might still trigger whistleblower protections. About the Author: David Warner Partner David Warner is a seasoned legal counselor with extensive experience in the resolution and litigation of complex employment and business disputes. His practice is focused on the government contractor, nonprofit, and hospitality industries. David leads Centre’s audit, investigation, and litigation practices. View the full article
  4. By Barbara S. Kinosky, Esq. There’s a revived focus on the topic and implementation of Information Technology modernization within the federal government in 2019. IT drives innovation and innovation is the most direct route to business success. Innovation in government contracting has the same impact that steam had on the industrial revolution. In fact, it’s hard to imagine any organization that has not benefited from the digital revolution. As we begin 2019, several government agencies have begun implementing the process of applying digital transformation in the way they deliver value to the people they serve. Technologies like digitized service platforms, cloud services, DevOps, AI for data analysis, and more are being used to foster efficiency and help government agencies scale their processes to serve the public better and maintain a competitive advantage. The goal is to catch up to the private sector in the way they serve people to meet the demands of an evolving American public better. However, like anything else, there are always budget and talent constraints that can hinder the process and force government agencies to prioritize certain aspects of evolution above others. A few trends that seem to be emerging in 2019 include a transition from “cloud first” to “cloud smart.” The government is using cloud services more than ever, which means it’s important to consider issues like integrating cloud security, workforce strategies, and procurement. Another trend is using the Internet of Things to help process data in a way that is “smart” instead of brushing off IoT as just another new technology. Governments in the public sector using IoT are creating new opportunities in cities and making life better for the people that live there. There are also ways that the use of AI can help government agencies boost their efficiency and reduce their costs in areas like border services, health services, social services, social security, and more. AI may help governments uncover new ways of sharing, analyzing, and integrating massive amounts of data to help create better programs and services for citizens. DevOps is continuing to bring benefits like increased productivity using automation, cost savings within departments, and other tangible benefits to help improve collaboration between different departments. As a federal government contractor, it’s best to invest in a better understanding and solutions of modernization that’s happening in the federal IT space. Organizations should begin making substantial progress in their steps to modernize their infrastructures and technology systems if they want to meet rising demands from the public and maintain a competitive edge. “Every once in a while, a new technology, an old problem, and a big idea turn into an innovation.”- Dean Kamen About the Author: Barbara Kinosky Managing Partner Barbara Kinosky is the Managing Partner of Centre Law and Consulting and has more than twenty-five years of experience in all aspects of federal government contracting. Barbara is a nationally known expert on GSA and VA Schedules and the Service Contract Act, and she has served as an expert witness for federal government contracting cases. View the full article
  5. By Heather Mims, Esq. In general, the Buy American Act (“BAA”) requires the United States government to give a preference to American-made products. When applied to a specific procurement, a contractor must provide an end-product that was manufactured in the United States and must also certify that more than fifty percent of the cost of all the parts were manufactured in the United States. Executive Orders Since its implementation in 1933, numerous exceptions and interpretations have developed. During his term, President Trump has issued multiple Executive Orders aimed at the BAA. He issued his first one, the “Buy American and Hire American” Executive Order in April 2017 shortly after being sworn in. It required, in part, the heads of agencies and the Secretary of Commerce to assess agencies’ compliance with the BAA and submit findings and recommendations to the President. Order Up President Trump recently issued another Executive Order on January 31, 2019, aimed at the BAA. The “Executive Order on Strengthening Buy-American Preferences for Infrastructure Projects,” continues to seek to maximize the use of American-made goods, products, and materials in Federal procurements. This EO requires that the head of each agency report any “tools, techniques, terms, or conditions that have been used or could be used” to maximize the use of American-made goods – and they must do so within 120 days. This applies to any “contracts, subcontracts, purchase orders, or sub-awards that are chargeable against Federal financial assistance awards for infrastructure projects.” It’s important to note, that “infrastructure projects” now include cybersecurity projects, in addition to the typical roadways, bridges, railroads, and other means of transit. This recent EO also requires the head of each agency to “encourage” recipients of federal financial assistance to use, “to the greatest extent practicable, iron and aluminum as well as steel, cement, and other manufactured products produced in the United States.” What next? When a company is asked to certify that it meets the BAA requirements, it should give serious consideration of the requirements of the Act (and the Trade Agreements Act and Buy America Act, if applicable). Providing a false certification may come with serious penalties – including debarment and criminal or civil False Claims Act claims. If you need assistance navigating the BAA, contact us today. About the Author: Heather Mims Associate Attorney Heather Mims is an associate attorney at Centre Law & Consulting. Her practice is primarily focused on government contracts law, employment law, and litigation. Heather graduated magna cum laude from the George Mason School of Law where she was the Senior Research Editor for the Law Review and a Writing Fellow. View the full article
  6. By Hon. Jack Delman We have all learned, some of us in school and some of us in the school of “life experience” that parties to a contract are bound by its terms. Not always, if one of the contracting parties is the federal government. We should know that the sovereign reserves certain unique contract prerogatives. One such prerogative is the right to invoke provisions omitted from the contract but required by law. In G.L Christian & Associates v. United States, 312 F.2d 418 (Ct. Cl. 1963), the government terminated for convenience the contractor’s construction contract. The contractor challenged the termination as a breach of contract since there was no termination clause of this sort in the contract. Seemingly a reasonable argument. The Court of Claims (a predecessor of the Federal Circuit) decided otherwise. The Court held that the termination for convenience clause was required by regulation and expressed a significant public procurement policy. Therefore, even though the clause was omitted from the contract it was incorporated into the contract as a matter of law, and the government was within its contract rights to invoke it. The Court’s holding became known as the “Christian Doctrine.” This doctrine has been accepted by the courts and boards without question since the issuance of the opinion. The Federal Circuit recently revisited the Christian Doctrine in K-Con, Inc. v. Army, 908 F.3d 719 (Fed. Cir. 2018). The Army entered into two contracts with KC, each for a pre-engineered metal building. The Army realized that it had omitted from each contract the clause that required performance and payment bonds, FAR 52.228-15. Prior to issuing the Notice To Proceed (NTP), the Army directed KC to furnish these bonds. The contractor refused, contending that the contracts were not expressly identified as construction contracts, and the contracts did not contain any clause requiring bonds of this nature. After considerable delay, KC furnished the bonds under a government contract modification (the government reimbursed the bond fees), and KC filed a claim for NTP delay costs. The ASBCA denied the claim. In brief, it ruled that the contracts were construction contracts requiring performance and payment bonds as a matter of law and that having these bonds in the contracts reflected a significant public procurement policy. The Board incorporated into each contract the omitted bond clause under the Christian Doctrine. K-Con, Inc., ASBCA Nos. 60686, 60687, 17-1 BCA 36,632, recon den. 17-1 BCA 36,756. KC appealed, and the Federal Circuit affirmed. The Court agreed with the ASBCA that the performance and payment bonds were required by statute, 40 U.S.C. § 3131(b), and by implementing regulations, FAR 28.102-1. The Court also agreed that requiring these bonds reflected a significant public procurement policy. The Court affirmed the application of the Christian Doctrine and the incorporation of the omitted bond clause in each contract. A “takeaway” for government contractors? When you review a solicitation and have reason to believe a statutory/regulatory requirement has been omitted by the government, don’t ignore the matter. Contact your Contracting Officer for clarification prior to submitting your proposal. An email early could save you dollars and/or heartache later. About the Author: Hon. Jack Delman Counsel Jack Delman served as a judge on the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals for 29 years and has extensive experience in the adjudication and mediation of large and complex contract disputes, including equitable adjustments, terminations and cost and pricing issues. Jack has extensive experience with claims analysis, FAR and DOD agency regulations and BCA practice and procedure. View the full article
  7. By Hon. Jack Delman We have all learned, some of us in school and some of us in the school of “life experience” that parties to a contract are bound by its terms. Not always, if one of the contracting parties is the federal government. We should know that the sovereign reserves certain unique contract prerogatives. One such prerogative is the right to invoke provisions omitted from the contract but required by law. In G.L Christian & Associates v. United States, 312 F.2d 418 (Ct. Cl. 1963), the government terminated for convenience the contractor’s construction contract. The contractor challenged the termination as a breach of contract since there was no termination clause of this sort in the contract. Seemingly a reasonable argument. The Court of Claims (a predecessor of the Federal Circuit) decided otherwise. The Court held that the termination for convenience clause was required by regulation and expressed a significant public procurement policy. Therefore, even though the clause was omitted from the contract it was incorporated into the contract as a matter of law, and the government was within its contract rights to invoke it. The Court’s holding became known as the “Christian Doctrine.” This doctrine has been accepted by the courts and boards without question since the issuance of the opinion. The Federal Circuit recently revisited the Christian Doctrine in K-Con, Inc. v. Army, 908 F.3d 719 (Fed. Cir. 2018). The Army entered into two contracts with KC, each for a pre-engineered metal building. The Army realized that it had omitted from each contract the clause that required performance and payment bonds, FAR 52.228-15. Prior to issuing the Notice To Proceed (NTP), the Army directed KC to furnish these bonds. The contractor refused, contending that the contracts were not expressly identified as construction contracts, and the contracts did not contain any clause requiring bonds of this nature. After considerable delay, KC furnished the bonds under a government contract modification (the government reimbursed the bond fees), and KC filed a claim for NTP delay costs. The ASBCA denied the claim. In brief, it ruled that the contracts were construction contracts requiring performance and payment bonds as a matter of law and that having these bonds in the contracts reflected a significant public procurement policy. The Board incorporated into each contract the omitted bond clause under the Christian Doctrine. K-Con, Inc., ASBCA Nos. 60686, 60687, 17-1 BCA 36,632, recon den. 17-1 BCA 36,756. KC appealed, and the Federal Circuit affirmed. The Court agreed with the ASBCA that the performance and payment bonds were required by statute, 40 U.S.C. § 3131(b), and by implementing regulations, FAR 28.102-1. The Court also agreed that requiring these bonds reflected a significant public procurement policy. The Court affirmed the application of the Christian Doctrine and the incorporation of the omitted bond clause in each contract. A “takeaway” for government contractors? When you review a solicitation and have reason to believe a statutory/regulatory requirement has been omitted by the government, don’t ignore the matter. Contact your Contracting Officer for clarification prior to submitting your proposal. An email early could save you dollars and/or heartache later. About the Author: Hon. Jack Delman Counsel Jack Delman served as a judge on the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals for 29 years and has extensive experience in the adjudication and mediation of large and complex contract disputes, including equitable adjustments, terminations and cost and pricing issues. Jack has extensive experience with claims analysis, FAR and DOD agency regulations and BCA practice and procedure. View the full article
  8. By Tyler Freiberger, Esq. One month and two days and still 800,000 federal employees are currently working without pay as a result of the “partial” government shutdown. As many employees struggle to afford basic necessities it’s only slight comfort that Congress has already passed the law authorizing back pay when the shutdown ends. While the hardship of these government employees deserves the mass media’s coverage, there are also over four million federal contractors supporting the federal government, and the million furloughed contractors have notably received far less attention for not only being put on leave but have little hope they will ever get paid for the past month. Even those contractors specifically designated as needing government assistance are not immune to the shutdown. Blind and severally disabled Americans working through the Javits-Wagner O’Day (JWOD) Act are included in this massive number of out of work contractors. JWOD established the AbilityOne Program that gives over 45,000 people who are blind or have significant disabilities employment on federal contracts, and the program is the largest source of employment for these individuals. Rather than simply writing more checks to support a disadvantaged and marginalized population, the AbilityOne Program gives a path to meaningful employment. Not only do these individuals gain a dignified answer to the typical “so what do you do?” they also provide much-needed labor supporting government facilities and operations. While the sudden lack of pay can be devastating to anyone, disabled employees under the AbilityOne program are also currently without the much-needed support system tied to this specialized program. Harrison Misewicz, Director of Contracting for Chimes DC, a non-profit resource provider for individuals with disabilities, reports that of the hundred Chimes DC employees currently furloughed, none are receiving benefits while the shutdown looms. In addition, many of these disabled workers are missing the day-to-day coaching and other direct support they have come to rely on while they wait at home for the chance to go back to work. There is a push to help low-wage federal contractor employees such as those working under the AbilityOne program. While the damage and disruption these individuals are facing may never be cured, one hopes this bill will gain more attention and offer some relief to the already disadvantaged population. About the Author: Tyler Freiberger Associate Attorney Tyler Freiberger is an associate attorney at Centre Law & Consulting primarily focusing on employment law and litigation. He has successfully litigated employment issues before the EEOC, MSPB, local counties human rights commissions, the United States D.C. District Court, Maryland District Court, and the Eastern District of Virginia. View the full article
  9. By Tyler Freiberger, Esq. One month and two days and still 800,000 federal employees are currently working without pay as a result of the “partial” government shutdown. As many employees struggle to afford basic necessities it’s only slight comfort that Congress has already passed the law authorizing back pay when the shutdown ends. While the hardship of these government employees deserves the mass media’s coverage, there are also over four million federal contractors supporting the federal government, and the million furloughed contractors have notably received far less attention for not only being put on leave but have little hope they will ever get paid for the past month. Even those contractors specifically designated as needing government assistance are not immune to the shutdown. Blind and severally disabled Americans working through the Javits-Wagner O’Day (JWOD) Act are included in this massive number of out of work contractors. JWOD established the AbilityOne Program that gives over 45,000 people who are blind or have significant disabilities employment on federal contracts, and the program is the largest source of employment for these individuals. Rather than simply writing more checks to support a disadvantaged and marginalized population, the AbilityOne Program gives a path to meaningful employment. Not only do these individuals gain a dignified answer to the typical “so what do you do?” they also provide much-needed labor supporting government facilities and operations. While the sudden lack of pay can be devastating to anyone, disabled employees under the AbilityOne program are also currently without the much-needed support system tied to this specialized program. Harrison Misewicz, Director of Contracting for Chimes DC, a non-profit resource provider for individuals with disabilities, reports that of the hundred Chimes DC employees currently furloughed, none are receiving benefits while the shutdown looms. In addition, many of these disabled workers are missing the day-to-day coaching and other direct support they have come to rely on while they wait at home for the chance to go back to work. There is a push to help low-wage federal contractor employees such as those working under the AbilityOne program. While the damage and disruption these individuals are facing may never be cured, one hopes this bill will gain more attention and offer some relief to the already disadvantaged population. About the Author: Tyler Freiberger Associate Attorney Tyler Freiberger is an associate attorney at Centre Law & Consulting primarily focusing on employment law and litigation. He has successfully litigated employment issues before the EEOC, MSPB, local counties human rights commissions, the United States D.C. District Court, Maryland District Court, and the Eastern District of Virginia. View the full article
  10. By Tyler Freiberger, One month and two days and still 800,000 federal employees are currently working without pay as a result of the “partial” government shutdown. As many employees struggle to afford basic necessities it’s only slight comfort that Congress has already passed the law authorizing back pay when the shutdown ends. While the hardship of these government employees deserves the mass media’s coverage, there are also over four million federal contractors supporting the federal government, and the million furloughed contractors have notably received far less attention for not only being put on leave but have little hope they will ever get paid for the past month. Even those contractors specifically designated as needing government assistance are not immune to the shutdown. Blind and severally disabled Americans working through the Javits-Wagner O’Day (JWOD) Act are included in this massive number of out of work contractors. JWOD established the AbilityOne Program that gives over 45,000 people who are blind or have significant disabilities employment on federal contracts, and the program is the largest source of employment for these individuals. Rather than simply writing more checks to support a disadvantaged and marginalized population, the AbilityOne Program gives a path to meaningful employment. Not only do these individuals gain a dignified answer to the typical “so what do you do?” they also provide much-needed labor supporting government facilities and operations. While the sudden lack of pay can be devastating to anyone, disabled employees under the AbilityOne program are also currently without the much-needed support system tied to this specialized program. Harrison Misewicz, Director of Contracting for Chimes DC, a non-profit resource provider for individuals with disabilities, reports that of the hundred Chimes DC employees currently furloughed, none are receiving benefits while the shutdown looms. In addition, many of these disabled workers are missing the day-to-day coaching and other direct support they have come to rely on while they wait at home for the chance to go back to work. There is a push to help low-wage federal contractor employees such as those working under the AbilityOne program. While the damage and disruption these individuals are facing may never be cured, one hopes this bill will gain more attention and offer some relief to the already disadvantaged population. About the Author: Tyler Freiberger Associate Attorney Tyler Freiberger is an associate attorney at Centre Law & Consulting primarily focusing on employment law and litigation. He has successfully litigated employment issues before the EEOC, MSPB, local counties human rights commissions, the United States D.C. District Court, Maryland District Court, and the Eastern District of Virginia. View the full article
  11. By Julia Coon, Clause 552.238-74 Industrial Funding Fee and Sales Reporting requires all General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule contractors to report sales within 30 calendar days following the completion of the reporting period and remit the Industrial Funding Fee (IFF) within 30 calendar days following the end of each reporting quarter. Over the next twelve months, GSA will be transitioning all GSA Schedule contracts from the legacy 72A Reporting System to the new Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) Sales Reporting Portal (SRP). The process will take place in three phases: Phase One: Notification Contractors will receive an email from GSA stating the date to begin reporting sales and submitting IFF in the FAS SRP. The date provided will be the first day of a reporting quarter, and no action is required until the end of the reporting period when it is time to report sales and submit the IFF. Example: The contract is assigned a 1/1/2019 transition date, but no action is necessary until the January – March 2019 sales are required to be reported by April 30, 2019. Phase Two: Final Reporting in the 72A Reporting System Contractors will complete the final sales report and IFF remittance in the legacy 72A Reporting System. Example: If the contract is assigned a 1/1/2019 transition date, the October 2018 – December 2018 sales and IFF will be the final report in the 72A System. Phase Three: Transfer History from Legacy 72A Reporting System to the new FAS SRP GSA will migrate the contract sales history to the FAS SRP. This will not occur until contractors have completed the last sales report in the 72A System. If there is a discrepancy between the IFF owed versus the IFF paid, contractors will be notified via email before the migration. Where do you stand? Contractors who are not participating in the Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) pilot will continue to report quarterly sales by Special Item Number (SIN) and remit IFF in the new system within 30 days following completion of the reporting quarter. Contractors who are participating in the TDR pilot should already be completing reporting requirements in the FAS SRP. Currently digital certificates are required to access the FAS SRP; however, the MAS Program Management Office confirmed that GSA will be moving to a multi-factor authentication process in the coming months. All users will be required to register in the new system even if you are currently using a digital certificate to access the system. At the time of registration, you will have the option to select receiving the security code via phone or email. Contractors using a generic email address should choose to receive the security code via email at the time of registration. Once registered in the FAS SRP, users will be able to access any GSA Schedule contract where their email address appears on the contract. To prepare for this transition, it is essential to review all authorized negotiators and points of contact currently listed on the contract to ensure anyone reporting sales and remitting the IFF is included. If updates are needed, you will need to submit a modification in the eMod system for your Contracting Officer’s approval. If you are unsure which reporting system to use during the transition, you can look up your contract using the VSC Sales Reporting Lookup Tool. If you have any questions regarding the change or using the new FAS SRP, you can reach out to our GSA consulting team. Want to learn more? Attend our Boot Camp for GSA Schedules training course. About the Author: Julia Coon Consultant Julia Coon is GSA and VA Contract Consultant at Centre Law & Consulting. Julia works with the GSA/VA team in preparing new schedule proposals and post-award contract administration. She has experience in producing schedule renewal packages, various modification packages, small business subcontracting plans, and updates to GSA price lists. View the full article
  12. By Julia Coon, Clause 552.238-74 Industrial Funding Fee and Sales Reporting requires all General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule contractors to report sales within 30 calendar days following the completion of the reporting period and remit the Industrial Funding Fee (IFF) within 30 calendar days following the end of each reporting quarter. Over the next twelve months, GSA will be transitioning all GSA Schedule contracts from the legacy 72A Reporting System to the new Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) Sales Reporting Portal (SRP). The process will take place in three phases: Phase One: Notification Contractors will receive an email from GSA stating the date to begin reporting sales and submitting IFF in the FAS SRP. The date provided will be the first day of a reporting quarter, and no action is required until the end of the reporting period when it is time to report sales and submit the IFF. Example: The contract is assigned a 1/1/2019 transition date, but no action is necessary until the January – March 2019 sales are required to be reported by April 30, 2019. Phase Two: Final Reporting in the 72A Reporting System Contractors will complete the final sales report and IFF remittance in the legacy 72A Reporting System. Example: If the contract is assigned a 1/1/2019 transition date, the October 2018 – December 2018 sales and IFF will be the final report in the 72A System. Phase Three: Transfer History from Legacy 72A Reporting System to the new FAS SRP GSA will migrate the contract sales history to the FAS SRP. This will not occur until contractors have completed the last sales report in the 72A System. If there is a discrepancy between the IFF owed versus the IFF paid, contractors will be notified via email before the migration. Where do you stand? Contractors who are not participating in the Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) pilot will continue to report quarterly sales by Special Item Number (SIN) and remit IFF in the new system within 30 days following completion of the reporting quarter. Contractors who are participating in the TDR pilot should already be completing reporting requirements in the FAS SRP. Currently digital certificates are required to access the FAS SRP; however, the MAS Program Management Office confirmed that GSA will be moving to a multi-factor authentication process in the coming months. All users will be required to register in the new system even if you are currently using a digital certificate to access the system. At the time of registration, you will have the option to select receiving the security code via phone or email. Contractors using a generic email address should choose to receive the security code via email at the time of registration. Once registered in the FAS SRP, users will be able to access any GSA Schedule contract where their email address appears on the contract. To prepare for this transition, it is essential to review all authorized negotiators and points of contact currently listed on the contract to ensure anyone reporting sales and remitting the IFF is included. If updates are needed, you will need to submit a modification in the eMod system for your Contracting Officer’s approval. If you are unsure which reporting system to use during the transition, you can look up your contract using the VSC Sales Reporting Lookup Tool. If you have any questions regarding the change or using the new FAS SRP, you can reach out to our GSA consulting team. Want to learn more? Attend our Boot Camp for GSA Schedules training course. About the Author: Julia Coon Consultant Julia Coon is GSA and VA Contract Consultant at Centre Law & Consulting. Julia works with the GSA/VA team in preparing new schedule proposals and post-award contract administration. She has experience in producing schedule renewal packages, various modification packages, small business subcontracting plans, and updates to GSA price lists. View the full article
  13. By Julia Coon, Clause 552.238-74 Industrial Funding Fee and Sales Reporting requires all General Services Administration (GSA) Schedule contractors to report sales within 30 calendar days following the completion of the reporting period and remit the Industrial Funding Fee (IFF) within 30 calendar days following the end of each reporting quarter. Over the next twelve months, GSA will be transitioning all GSA Schedule contracts from the legacy 72A Reporting System to the new Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) Sales Reporting Portal (SRP). The process will take place in three phases: Phase One: Notification Contractors will receive an email from GSA stating the date to begin reporting sales and submitting IFF in the FAS SRP. The date provided will be the first day of a reporting quarter, and no action is required until the end of the reporting period when it is time to report sales and submit the IFF. Example: The contract is assigned a 1/1/2019 transition date, but no action is necessary until the January – March 2019 sales are required to be reported by April 30, 2019. Phase Two: Final Reporting in the 72A Reporting System Contractors will complete the final sales report and IFF remittance in the legacy 72A Reporting System. Example: If the contract is assigned a 1/1/2019 transition date, the October 2018 – December 2018 sales and IFF will be the final report in the 72A System. Phase Three: Transfer History from Legacy 72A Reporting System to the new FAS SRP GSA will migrate the contract sales history to the FAS SRP. This will not occur until contractors have completed the last sales report in the 72A System. If there is a discrepancy between the IFF owed versus the IFF paid, contractors will be notified via email before the migration. Where do you stand? Contractors who are not participating in the Transactional Data Reporting (TDR) pilot will continue to report quarterly sales by Special Item Number (SIN) and remit IFF in the new system within 30 days following completion of the reporting quarter. Contractors who are participating in the TDR pilot should already be completing reporting requirements in the FAS SRP. Currently digital certificates are required to access the FAS SRP; however, the MAS Program Management Office confirmed that GSA will be moving to a multi-factor authentication process in the coming months. All users will be required to register in the new system even if you are currently using a digital certificate to access the system. At the time of registration, you will have the option to select receiving the security code via phone or email. Contractors using a generic email address should choose to receive the security code via email at the time of registration. Once registered in the FAS SRP, users will be able to access any GSA Schedule contract where their email address appears on the contract. To prepare for this transition, it is essential to review all authorized negotiators and points of contact currently listed on the contract to ensure anyone reporting sales and remitting the IFF is included. If updates are needed, you will need to submit a modification in the eMod system for your Contracting Officer’s approval. If you are unsure which reporting system to use during the transition, you can look up your contract using the VSC Sales Reporting Lookup Tool. If you have any questions regarding the change or using the new FAS SRP, you can reach out to our GSA consulting team. Want to learn more? Attend our Boot Camp for GSA Schedules training course. About the Author: Julia Coon Consultant Julia Coon is GSA and VA Contract Consultant at Centre Law & Consulting. Julia works with the GSA/VA team in preparing new schedule proposals and post-award contract administration. She has experience in producing schedule renewal packages, various modification packages, small business subcontracting plans, and updates to GSA price lists. View the full article
  14. By William Weisberg, Esq, Organizational Conflicts of Interest (OCI) are a well-known fixture of government contracting. OCI has its own FAR subsection, FAR part 9.5, and figures prominently in several GAO bid protests every year. OCIs can be waived by the Government, and mitigated by contractors, with the Government’s approval. OCIs are situations where a contractor either has an unfair competitive advantage from previous work done, has impaired objectivity, or has other prohibited items. I spend a fair amount of my professional life advising clients on how to mitigate or avoid OCIs, and in protesting OCIs during competitive procurements. Bad News Everyone agrees that OCIs are bad. But until a recent False Claims Act settlement (FCA) between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and a contractor, we didn’t know just how bad. In recent years, many if not all solicitations require contractors to certify that they do not have an OCI or identify any potential OCIs. This certification certainly seems like a material certification under the Supreme Court’s Escobar standard, because FAR part 9.5 generally prohibits the award of a contract to an offeror with an un-waived and unmitigated OCI. Violations For false OCI certifications, the Government would not award a contract, and certainly not pay invoices submitted under the contract. A clear FCA violation. But until now, most contractors assumed that the worst thing that could happen with an OCI is that they lost a contract after a GAO bid protest. Sending a message A recent DOJ announcement of a $110,000 False Claims Act settlement with a Colorado-based IT company, stemming from false statements regarding the lack of an OCI, surprised many. To say the case landed with a loud bang is an understatement. The danger to contractors is obvious. OCIs can be tough to identify, particularly because they can be created by subcontractors or even individual employees based on their prior positions. Failure to properly screen for OCIs can lead to false statements and false claims based on the “reckless disregard for accuracy” standard that Courts and DOJ use as an alternative to intentional violations. The takeaway from this recent OCI case is straightforward but urgent. Contractors should implement a formal OCI screening process as part of their proposal preparation and should document both the methodology and the result. That process should also be integrated into their formal Government Contract Compliance Program. About the Author: William Weisberg, Esq Of Counsel William Weisberg is a government contracts attorney with 30 years of experience. Bill received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia (where he was an Echols Scholar) in 1983 and his law degree from the George Washington University in 1986. Bill practiced with large international law firms for over 25 years, the last 10 of which he led his firms’ Government Contract and Grant practice groups. Bill formed his own boutique government contract firm in 2013. View the full article
  15. By William Weisberg, Esq, Organizational Conflicts of Interest (OCI) are a well-known fixture of government contracting. OCI has its own FAR subsection, FAR part 9.5, and figures prominently in several GAO bid protests every year. OCIs can be waived by the Government, and mitigated by contractors, with the Government’s approval. OCIs are situations where a contractor either has an unfair competitive advantage from previous work done, has impaired objectivity, or has other prohibited items. I spend a fair amount of my professional life advising clients on how to mitigate or avoid OCIs, and in protesting OCIs during competitive procurements. Bad News Everyone agrees that OCIs are bad. But until a recent False Claims Act settlement (FCA) between the Department of Justice (DOJ) and a contractor, we didn’t know just how bad. In recent years, many if not all solicitations require contractors to certify that they do not have an OCI or identify any potential OCIs. This certification certainly seems like a material certification under the Supreme Court’s Escobar standard, because FAR part 9.5 generally prohibits the award of a contract to an offeror with an un-waived and unmitigated OCI. Violations For false OCI certifications, the Government would not award a contract, and certainly not pay invoices submitted under the contract. A clear FCA violation. But until now, most contractors assumed that the worst thing that could happen with an OCI is that they lost a contract after a GAO bid protest. Sending a message A recent DOJ announcement of a $110,000 False Claims Act settlement with a Colorado-based IT company, stemming from false statements regarding the lack of an OCI, surprised many. To say the case landed with a loud bang is an understatement. The danger to contractors is obvious. OCIs can be tough to identify, particularly because they can be created by subcontractors or even individual employees based on their prior positions. Failure to properly screen for OCIs can lead to false statements and false claims based on the “reckless disregard for accuracy” standard that Courts and DOJ use as an alternative to intentional violations. The takeaway from this recent OCI case is straightforward but urgent. Contractors should implement a formal OCI screening process as part of their proposal preparation and should document both the methodology and the result. That process should also be integrated into their formal Government Contract Compliance Program. About the Author: William Weisberg, Esq Of Counsel William Weisberg is a government contracts attorney with 30 years of experience. Bill received his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia (where he was an Echols Scholar) in 1983 and his law degree from the George Washington University in 1986. Bill practiced with large international law firms for over 25 years, the last 10 of which he led his firms’ Government Contract and Grant practice groups. Bill formed his own boutique government contract firm in 2013. View the full article
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