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About FrankJon

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  1. Thank you again, Vern. I think this clarification was needed. I'm going to take some time to digest all of this and see if I can't convince a bold CO to try something new...
  2. Todd - I would say it's a mix of older and younger. My agency is pretty close to the flagpole, as they say. COs are generally leery of running afoul of OGC and PMR guidance, which is generally incongruous with exploiting efficiencies and experimenting.
  3. Vern - Thank you for the thorough response. ji20874 - Thank you for the GAO decisions, which I will review. You are absolutely correct that historically, I have not worked with many COs fully comfortable with using SAP, particularly when over the SAT. When I say that this approach seems like it could be trickier to write to than a traditional trade-off approach, it could just be due to my lack of familiarity with a comparative approach. When I've done trade-offs in the past, I initially compare each proposal to fixed criteria specified in the solicitation. It seems like there would be less risk for error in that situation than when directly comparing proposals to one another, since the proposals may not align and may not be using the same language to discuss the same things. The latter seems like a moving target. But maybe not. Maybe it's just a matter of familiarizing myself and trying it. Thanks again.
  4. As recently as 2008, Villanova Law School was teaching its students to omit the Oxford comma. I do not recall whether that came from our style guide or was the school's preference. In retrospect, it seems like a strange thing to teach law students, who should be more interested in clarity than character counts.
  5. Fine, so your conclusion is...FAR 13 is using the precise term "comparative evaluation" to be synonymous with "trade-offs"? Or do you just not know the answer to my original question (which used a precise term and a precise citation)? I'm genuinely asking.
  6. Thank you, ji20874. The only caveat that I can see is that supporting the decision could become tricky, particularly for complex services, higher dollar values, and/or multiple proposals. I imagine that the CO and COR would really need to be on the same page to substantiate every distinction between proposals (perhaps more so than in the case of a FAR 15 trade-off).
  7. Vern - I am not asking about a trade-off as defined by FAR 15, which allows for comparison only after each proposal has been independently evaluated against fixed criteria. As I understand the meaning of "comparative evaluation" as used in 13.106-2(b)(3), the Government may directly compare the strengths and weaknesses of proposals as they relate *to each other*, as opposed to comparing them to fixed criteria. ji20874's response seems like a plausible real-world application to me: Once proposals have been deemed acceptable, they are compared side-by-side against one another, and the "best" one is chosen. This seems like a flexibility that customers would really appreciate.
  8. napolik - Thank you for sharing the article. I'm aware of the "looks like a duck" FAR 15 trap. I don't think this article quite drills down to the level specificity I am asking for. ji20874 - I appreciate you painting that picture for me (the "subjectively select the quoter" bit). The fact that you are the first person that I've ever heard of doing this is why I would describe it as "non-traditional." I've been contracting in the DC region for 5.5 years now across two agencies, and I never seen nor heard of this. In fact, this question originated from an old colleague, who's also worked at DHS at Vermont and VA in Dallas. Right or wrong, I don't get the impression that the practice is very widespread. I'm curious, are there instances where you would have favored trade-offs when this method was available to you?
  9. I'm curious to know whether anyone has successfully done, or knows of anyone who has successfully done, a comparative evaluation pursuant to 13.106-2(b)(3). Specifically, I'm curious about the following: What did/would this look like in practice? For instance, beyond the evaluation factors themselves, would I need to specify the types of information that would lead to a superior proposal? Are there real efficiencies to be gained by using this method? In your opinion, if there are efficiencies, are they significant enough to be worth the risk of using a non-traditional evaluation method (particularly if the value exceeds the SAT)? I've searched message boards, GAO opinions, and reference books, and talked to colleagues, supervisors, and legal counsel for any precedent on this, but have come up empty. Thanks for your time.
  10. So then what is a Government contracting scenario where price is not influential?
  11. For what it's worth, I think Matthew raises an interesting and valid point of discussion (which is, after all, the purpose of message boards). In Sevatec, price could not have been less of a factor. F&R determination is the bare minimum. If this meets the meaning of the word "substantial" in FAR 15.403-1(c)(1)(i), that renders this use of the word superfluous. Isn't it more likely that the drafters meant something by using this word? Am I missing something?
  12. Did the fact that GSA conducted a thorough cost/price analysis have any bearing on the outcome? What would have happened if GSA had instead conducted a simple price evaluation based on adequate competition? The depth of analysis appears to be immaterial to the decision, yet GAO did make a point to directly quote the steps GSA took.
  13. Vern: Not a direct response to the questions posed, but I cannot imagine that insourcing would be a good decision for the Federal Government, when we already struggle so mightily with our supposed "core competencies" (case in point: contracting). New responsibilities would bring an abundance of new regulations, policies, data calls, and "best practices." A lack of real incentivization would deter the type of talent needed to genuinely "master" a new field. With regard to Amazon, it is a unique snowflake, even within the business world. I've watched Amazon grow from its origins as a simple online bookstore, often wondering if each venture into new territory is a misstep (e.g., electronic devices, grocery delivery, entertainment production, shipping). I have to think that most companies, were they to follow Amazon's lead, would not fare as well. This is probably due in large part to Bezos' appetite for risk and his willingness to stand firm in the face of shareholder dissatisfaction for so many years.
  14. Well, I received back two responses from DPAP/DARS, which appear to support my initial position (but are probably just vague enough to allow for alternate interpretations). In my first email, I stated: I am seeking an opinion on the applicability of the determination requirement of DFARS 212.207(b)(iii) to acquisitions accomplished using FAR 8.4 procedures. The issue seems to have been left ambiguous in the DFARS due to the fact that DFARS 208 is silent. DPAP/DARS response: FAR 8.404(h)(3)(ii) requires execution of a determination and finding before issuing a time-and-materials (T&M) or labor-hour order under a Federal Supply Schedule (FSS). Since this requirement is located at the FAR level for FSS T&M orders, there is no need to repeat the guidance in the DFARS. I then wrote back for clarification, pointing out that, at a minimum, the requirement for HOA approval in DFARS 212 is in addition to the requirements of FAR 8, not duplicative. DPAP/DARS response: The response provided was intended to point you to the regulatory coverage that seemed pertinent to the information provided in your initial question - pointing out there are separate standards for award of a DoD time-and-materials (T&M) commercial contract at DFARS part 212 from those for issuing a task order under an existing Federal Supply Schedule (FSS) contract pursuant to FAR 8.4. For award of T&M contracts for commercial services, FAR 12.207(b) specifies the minimum content for the determination and findings and approval thresholds. For award of commercial T&M contracts within DoD, the coverage at DFARS 212.207(b)(iii), supplements the requirements at FAR 12.207, implementing the National Defense Authorization Act for FY 2008, which imposed the standard for award of a commercial T&M contract within DoD to be approved by the head of the agency. [Emphasis added.] The POC then goes on to discuss non-commercial requirements under 16 and 216. I wish she had specifically stated that DFARS 212 does not apply to FAR 8 in order to definitively answer the question, but as things are, I do feel comfortable referencing this response as a basis for making a case against my agency's current procedures. I do not believe that the DAR Council intended DFARS 212.207(b)(iii) to influence FAR 8.404(h)(3)(ii).
  15. Thank you both for your input. Your interpretations make sense to me. In addition, I sent an email to the DAR Council, and will report back here if I hear anything definitive.