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FrankJon

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  1. I think you might need an agency policy to do this. I agree, it would be useful if possible. I have a feeling you'd still want a J&A. FAR 13.203(a)(1) contemplates micro-purchases being distributed among vendors. If that's impossible because there is only one vendor, I think that merits justification. (At least as a CYA.)
  2. The intermediary is not a required source. It's a nonprofit organization with a network of partners and affiliates. The sources are not government orgs. They're institutions. I'm not the CO, but I don't think the intermediary is prone to negotiate. The entire ordering process appears to be highly standardized per the intermediary's website.
  3. Let's assume we go the BPA route. We would have an executed J&A for all calls thereunder. Each call (an email) would be under the MPT, so synopsis requirements would not apply. Calls could be grouped together and billed for monthly against an order created in the contracting system. Is there a problem with this approach?
  4. Intermediary is the only contractor. Sources are not subs to my knowledge; they're independent entities that have a separate agreement to provide records through the intermediary. Good point about the individual order limit.
  5. By "open market" I mean not on an established contract. It will be sole source.
  6. I'm seeking recommendations for optimal contract type and CLIN structure given the following requirement characteristics: Requirement is for record pulls. Contract will be with an intermediary organization that pulls from approx. 5,000 different sources. Each source charges their own unique price per pull. Intermediary charges a tiered flat fee per pull. If annual quota is not met for anticipated tier price, Government will owe the difference between anticipated tier price and actual tier price multiplied by QTY actually ordered that year. Ordering will occur on as-needed basis. Each order will be below the MPT. Open market, commercial sole source. SAP not available due to total anticipated price. Regarding the multitude of unit prices, I think an optimal setup might be an IDIQ with a CLIN referencing an exhibit with unit prices for each of the 5,000 sources. I would appoint an Ordering Officer under this scenario; however, the agency making the award does not have a specific policy permitting the appointment of Ordering Officers. Without an OO, I don't know how an IDIQ would work. An alternative approach being contemplated is a firm-fixed-unit-price C-type contract with an exhibit, estimated QTY per source, and NTE price per source. Regarding the tiered fixed fee, the current approach is to include a reimbursable CLIN that will be used to pay the contractor the difference in pricing if needed. I don't love this approach - one reason being that I don't like having a reimbursable CLIN on a commercial contract, another being that the CLIN doesn't provide the Gov't deliverables on its own - but I can't think of a better way to set this up. Ideas?
  7. Change the scenario so that the original contract was awarded using FAR 15 procedures. Would this same change be defensible in the face of a protest by the unsuccessful offeror? Why or why not?
  8. Yes. No. I agree it's unlikely that a protest would be meritorious. However, my agency is particularly sensitive to the appearance of impropriety and any ensuing press coverage. We want to be able to justify our actions on principled bases, not just successfully defend ourselves against administrative remedies.
  9. The Government will reform a task order based on mutual mistake of the parties. Specifically, the contractor will be permitted to file a claim for services which were always part of the Government's requirement, but which were stated ambiguously in the solicitation and TO. The Government considers the change to be within the scope of the TO and the competition. To the latter point, the Government believes that the work at issue, while ambiguous, put the competitive field on notice of the potential for such a change. At a minimum, competitors had the opportunity to clarify this point during solicitation, though nobody did. There is evidence to suggest that the sole unsuccessful competitor for this work was operating under the same misunderstanding as the awardee when it submitted its quote, though the evidence is not conclusive. The unsuccessful competitor proposed a price that was 2% lower than the awardee, but lost as a result of the trade-off decision. Does approving the claim and reforming the TO force the Government to reconsider the outcome of the award evaluation? If so, what should the Government's analysis on this point entail?
  10. As I said in my first post, the article was just a spark for me. I am not using it as a basis for anything. I wanted to discuss taking the idea further. I also mentioned that there is precedent for this type of set-up in the Government, but it's on the QT. While it's not the contracting field, it is a highly-professionalized field that I'm thinking of. We're just talking here, man.
  11. Anecdotal evidence. It's a point that can be debated if anyone disagrees. That's why I called it a "proposition." As far as I know, all civil servants must account for their time. I added quotation marks around "clock in and out" to indicate it's an expression. Some offices require employees to enter their in-times and out-times each day in a virtual time and attendance system. Others only require employees to show how many hours they worked each day. Either way, it needs to total 80 at the end of the PP. I won't waste my time discussing the body of research that being stationary for too long has negative health consequences, or that morale suffers when employees are not stimulated. Try Google. What I want to discuss on this discussion board is what I've written about. Rethinking the concept that work hours--whether physical or virtual--equate to productivity. Eliminating the requirement to work 80 hours per PP. It's a fiction. A thought experiment. Something for those of us with time on our hands to while away the time discussing.
  12. Let's see if we can agree on a few basic propositions: For the vast majority of 1102s, work ebbs and flows throughout the year. A system in which salaried employees clock in and out until they reach 80 hours is not an effective mechanism for establishing accountability or ensuring quality of output. It's especially ineffective for a field such as contracting, which has inconsistent work requirements throughout the year. Moreover, such a system adversely affects employee health and morale because it requires employees to be stationary and physically (or virtually) present more than necessary. I agree with the comments that moving the 1102 field to a "performance based" scheduling system would be challenging--and potentially unworkable--but I'm looking at this from the perspective that the 80-hour work week system is antiquated, silly, and untenable in the long-term. I believe there's a better way, and it's a matter of finding it. I also think re-framing is in order. I don't think this would be publicized as some sort of incentive system rigidly applied so that high achievers benefit and low achievers pay. Maybe it's as simple as: If there's nothing for you to do, you don't need to be "clocked in," but you do need to be "reachable." All else being equal, those who can work more efficiently while meeting quality standards will tend to work less than those who cannot. To push this topic further, here are some specific responses to comments posted since this morning: @jwomack: In terms of the work getting done, I'm not sure anything changes. If an employee is not meeting the expectations of her position, that ought to be reflected in her annual assessment or other corrective means. If an impending deadline is at risk, that would be handled no differently than it is now. Maybe the supervisor helps. Maybe the work is reassigned. Maybe pressure is applied to the under-performer. As to your variables, I foresaw many of these and I generally agree they pose hurdles. But I also think it might be a matter of re-framing, as I mentioned above. Nobody would be entitled to doing less than 80 hours. It would simply result from a lack of work. As for dealing with "bad" customers, COs can be rotated in an equitable fashion. Or maybe one CO builds a rapport and likes the challenge. Maybe that CO is incentivized with a bigger bonus or a large percentage of the pay pool for contributing more. Even if that CO must do a full 80 hours, it's not automatic that she would have to work "more" than the under-performers, who would also be assigned a full workload commensurate with their abilities and grade. Regarding other workload differences you mention, I reiterate the need to adjust our thinking. Why should someone with less than 80 hours of work to do be forced to stay in her chair for the same amount of time as someone with 80 hours of work to do? Who benefits from that? One person would still be working while the other is not. Ideally, through incentives or regular rotations, employees are treated fairly year-over-year. In a way, I don't think these are very different from the challenges organizations currently face. @Junius: With the advent of "performance based" scheduling, I think there would need to be additional policy pertaining to workload distribution. But for the sake of argument, let's say it's left to the agencies' discretion and distribution is basically as you describe. First, I believe in many instances a high-performing employee would still be able to get more done within a shorter period of time than a low-performing employee. Second, would still be a quality control process in place. The low-performer cannot simply speed through her workload then knock off. The supervisor needs to "accept" the deliverables. Third, if we're talking about real dead-weight of an employee--like someone getting menial workload assignments because she can't be trusted--well hopefully that person is paid commensurately or the supervisor is taking administrative action against her. Either way, as a high-performer, I'd know I'm doing better than her and I honestly don't think I'd care where she is or what she's doing. @Vern Edwards: Isn't some level of "mass production" the direction this field is going in? Acquisition streamlining, FSS, commercial item contracting, GWACs, enterprise-wide contracting, best-in-class contracting...artificial intelligence. These are all steps on the road to reducing variables, lowering risk, and making the field "idiot-proof." The standardization of contracting. (Overall, I don't think it's a bad thing, either.) Sure, there will probably always be variables that require the CO to think. But that thinking always results in a deliverable product at some point, doesn't it? Maybe that point isn't until next month. A supervisor knows this of course. So a memorandum stating progress on X system acquisition is substituted for a direct work product. The CO could choose to stop working when progress is met, or continue working if she wants (as many high-performers would). For complex acquisition planning, the focus would be about staying on track and agreeing on strategy. If workable at all, there would need to be flexibility and common sense applied to this system. But I think the only differences between what I'm describing and what we currently have are that (1) a supervisor would be required to conduct bi-weekly check-ins to ensure progress, and (2) those with downtime wouldn't be forced to put in face time each day.
  13. I saw this article yesterday: A 4-Day Workweek? A Test Run Shows a Surprising Result. I applaud the firm from this article for taking on this experiment, but I can't help but wonder: Why not go further by eliminating artificial time parameters altogether (possibly with the exception of an upper limit)? Today I've been thinking about whether the Government might be able to employ a "performance-based" schedule for 1102s, and what advantages/disadvantages it may bring. Under the system I'm envisioning, employees would be expected to turn in X deliverables, or show X progress, while meeting applicable time-based and quality metrics, within a given performance period. Employees would have up to 80 hours to meet these requirements, but could stop working the moment they've satisfactorily done so. (This system could be adapted for recurring or ad hoc requirements. For instance, employees would still be required to attend meetings that arise or respond to customer questions within X number of hours. Also, there would need to be a system for handling unanticipated, urgent requirements.) If workable, the benefits of such an approach seem obvious. Broadly speaking, over-performers are justly rewarded with more free time than their colleagues, and under-performers are motivated to work better to obtain free time. Morale improves across the board. This concept isn't without basis. I know of one agency where this kind of schedule is broadly practiced by its primary mission personnel (unofficially, though it's an open secret). Employees are assigned a workload at the start of each pay period. They can come and go as they please, or not come at all if they choose to telework. Once they complete their workload, employees are effectively done with work until the next PP. In addition, sizable bonuses are offered to further incentivize strong performance. So there's Federal precedent, although not directly applicable to the 1102 field. Putting aside the politics of effecting such a change, could such an approach be workable in the 1102 field? Why or why not? What would the risks be?
  14. If you're considering having a contractor draft a PWS, make sure you review FAR 9.505-2 first.
  15. This discussion reminds me of this one: @eagertoshare if you're talking about a "butts-in-seats" service contract, I recommend checking out pg. 3 from that discussion. There are good arguments there as to why neither FFP-LOE nor T&M would necessarily be appropriate for this kind of requirement, and a suggestion as to how FFP can be appropriately applied by using "hours" as the schedule unit type.
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