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Everything posted by FrankJon

  1. It's to get the smug satisfaction of looking at someone who is lower than us on the food chain (technically speaking).
  2. Thank you for clarifying. I'll stick with my original assertion that this is highly context sensitive. The amount you're entitled to bill for in that scenario depends upon the nature of the tasks, deliverables, and performance standards stated in the contract. Let's say the Government requires an Executive Assistant, and one of the duties stated in the PWS is to answer the phone. For every day the person is out of the office, no one is sent to replace him/her, and the phone rings, the contractor is not performing as required, agreed? But if the Government asked for 1880 hours of coverage, the contractor proposed 1880 hours of coverage, and the Government accepted 1880 hours of coverage, then the parties are in agreement that a certain amount of "tolerance" for non-performance has been built into the contract. There is a meeting of the minds on this point. However, if the personnel exceeds that tolerance level (i.e., works less than 1880 hours), then the Government should be within its rights to deny you a portion of the FFP based on partial non-performance. The hours may not be contractually obligated, but the work, quality of work, and deliverables are. I think you're right to be wary of over-usage of FFP-LOE, but I would suggest that your interpretation is overly-strict. By my reading, I can use FFP-LOE for any purpose and any dollar amount. "Suitable for investigation or study in a specific research and development area" does not restrict me from using it for other purposes. At best, this is a recommendation. And the $150k threshold is waivable.
  3. Pepe, I think you're conflating issues. For the record, I am legitimately curious to hear REA'n's perspective on the situation he's described. Looking at his first post, it seems as though he's referring to a severable support service contract done on a FFP basis. He implies that it's disingenuous of him to request for the full invoice amount when personnel take leave. From my perspective, that depends on the annual level of effort specified (or "estimated") in the PWS and the annual level of effort the contractor proposed. I would guess that a small minority of Government support service contracts call for 2,080 labor hours annually. That means that we usually expect (indeed, desire) personnel to take leave, and we will agree to pay the full FFP until the allotted leave is exceeded. Now, you're questioning the wisdom of doing severable support services on a FFP basis. Different issue, but I'll bite. No, I don't think FFP was necessarily intended for the "butts-in-seats, amorphous, recurring deliverables" support services we often purchase. But since most of these are thinly-veiled unauthorized personal service contracts (let's just say it), I don't think there is currently a great solution when contracting in a commercial environment. Sure, FFP-LOE or LH might make more sense in theory, but given their high administrative burden, I can't fault a CO for choosing FFP. Is the decision to use FFP "stupid"? Personally, I don't see a great deal of risk associated with it. In my experience, contractor support personnel work the hours agreed to, and the Government pays a fair rate for it. Have you experienced otherwise?
  4. REA'n, can you explain why this is a logical fallacy? Would the legitimacy of this argument not depend upon the nature of the services and what is stated in the contract?
  5. Wifcon Community - I am seeking critical feedback for my planned evaluation approach. I want to ensure that I have my ducks in a row before approaching Legal with this. This method is based upon a mix of Vern's past posts and the Sevatec holding. Thank you in advance for your assistance. OBJECTIVE: To utilize an evaluation scheme that is more streamlined, intuitive, and flexible than trade-offs, without increasing protest risk. If this works as intended, I would apply it (or some variation) to most of my future service procurements competed under FAR 8.4, 13, or 16.5. CONTEXT: Competitive BPA call pursuant to 8.4. Four FTEs to provide consulting and management support services. Utilizes PWS and exceeds SAT. EVALUATION METHOD: Factor 1: Quote acceptability (compliance w/ T&Cs, in-scope, etc.). (Pass/Fail) Factor 2: Personnel qualifications. (Pass/Fail) Factor 3: Risk - Combination of personnel experience and contractor past performance. (I advised against including PP being that this is a BPA call, but my customer insisted.) Factor three will be evaluated through direct comparisons of quotes. Quotes will be ordered from lowest to highest performance risk. Price will not be a factor, since the Government is willing to pay up to the ceiling rates. Award will be made to the contractor that passes Factors 1 and 2, presents the least amount of performance risk, and quotes a F&R price.
  6. Gns & Gordon - I appreciate you pointing this out. I was not familiar with this case or the broad interpretation of "responsibility" within the applicable USC section.
  7. Vern - Thanks for the reminder on Sevatec....
  8. Gordon - Because the rates have been capped at the BPA level below the GSA level. We don't want to exert any additional price pressure, which might affect quality. Vern - Thanks for the recommendation, and perhaps you're right. I feel that I have "DSFHW" (that one took me a second...) and I generally feel good about the approach. I'm simply anticipating my uphill slog, and seeing whether I can rebut critiques.
  9. Gordon - The problem with trade-offs for an 8.4 procurement is that the method is typically a lot of writing and difficult for the customer to write to (this is the experience within my office). I believe that moving to "direct comparisons" would allow the customers to write in a way that they're more comfortable with, thereby making the process more efficient.
  10. Don - I am referring to "streamlined" or "simplified" evaluations under 8.4, 13, or 16.5. I cannot recall ever discussing an evaluation method other than LPTA or trade-offs within a DAU classroom. In my experience, the vast plurality (and possibly majority) of the curriculum, beginning with CON 090, is focused on FAR 15.
  11. Pepe - That was a transcription error on my behalf. The BPA reference is cited correctly as "8.405-3." Yes, I will have to follow the procedures for BPA calls in excess of the SAT. Is there a particular sentence within that reference that you want to draw my attention to?
  12. C Culham - There is nothing in the BPA terms that stipulates the evaluation process for call orders, apart from "IAW FAR 8.504-3."
  13. Somewhat related tangent: The real shame is that DAU doesn't teach this stuff as part of its core curriculum. The vast majority of their content is focused on non-commercial FAR 15 procedures. I can't tell you how many time I've raised my hand in class to clarify how an issue might change in a commercial environment, and was met with blank stares from the instructors. We are constantly being told by senior DoD leaders and policy directives to "innovate" and to work "smarter not harder," yet our formal education does nothing to reinforce these maxims. Instead, entry- and journeymen-level 1102s are often forced to put themselves out on a limb in order to try something different.
  14. C Culham - Thank you for your reply. The BPAs are already established; this is a competition I am holding among five BPA-holders. While I don't think I agree that terms like "factor, pass/fail and risk" make this "almost like FAR Part 15," I do agree that there is likely room to make this even simpler, yet that may not be feasible at this time. I think it might be helpful if I explain that in my office, it's just me (and perhaps a couple of other quiet warriors) trying to convince about 130 other 1102s and several attorneys to do anything other than LPTA or trade-offs. I am not a supervisor, nor have I ever held a warrant. Few in my office would dare to do something that could be seen by OGC as "cutting corners," thereby increasing protest risk (case-in-point: the award decision for the BPA I am competing this requirement under is 200+ pages). Other than Wifcon, I really don't have many outlets for testing ideas, pushing boundaries, or trying to effect cultural change. I am grateful that I was able to convince my current CO to try something new, but this is uncharted territory for him, too. I am doing my best to persuade others, but without any senior 1102s to guide me or provide cover, incremental improvements may be the best I can hope for.
  15. As a follow-up, my biggest challenge with this has been wrapping my head around the "direct comparison" technique. After years of conducting trade-offs against objective criteria, it's difficult to switch gears and do something that is antithetical to everything I was taught. I would especially be interested in hearing about the experiences and advice of others in this regard.
  16. 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.
  17. 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...
  18. 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.
  19. 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.
  20. Oxford Comma

    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.
  21. 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.
  22. 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).
  23. 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.
  24. 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?
  25. A Competition Revolution

    So then what is a Government contracting scenario where price is not influential?