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Everything posted by FrankJon

  1. My responses broadly echo ideas from the first two comments: (1) Tailor your source selection plan to do what makes sense for your circumstances. Do not simply assume that the template you have in hand is required or even a best practice. (This can only happen with greater knowledge and confidence among 1102s.) (2) Rebut the pervasive belief that more complexity equals better results. This is rarely the case for a variety of reasons. (DPAP can begin to do this.) (3) Rebut the pervasive belief that longer evaluations necessarily equal better evaluations. Do what you said you were going to do, support your conclusions, and move on. (DPAP can begin to do this.)
  2. How competitive are 1102 jobs?

    It is true that Boof's experience is not common, but it would hardly be shocking in the DC region. It certainly would not require a (DOS) FS-material candidate to accomplish. GS-09 to 13 ladders are quite common here. So it's completely plausible to go from 07 to 13 in 4 years. That leaves 2 years to get a 14 and match Boof's trajectory. Non-supervisory 14s are becoming the norm, if they're not already, and non-supervisory 15s are not unheard of. Pay bands are also becoming more common, so once someone obtains a 14-15 equivalent pay band, it's only a matter of time before he or she is "15 equivalent."
  3. How competitive are 1102 jobs?

    This. Specifically, research the Pathways Program.
  4. FYSA, it's being updated once again as of mid-February 2018.
  5. Are there serious reasons (i.e., contrary to regulation or the Government's best interests) why the Government could not or should not use a T&M CLIN as a de facto vehicle to order ad hoc services defined in the PWS, the quantities of which are presently unknown? In the scenario I'm reviewing, the CO has created a hybrid FFP/T&M solicitation and will use FAR 8.4 procedures. He intends to include a base and four option year T&M CLINs to order as-needed work that is described in the PWS. The ostensible basis for this strategy is that at this time the Government cannot estimate the extent, duration, or costs of the work, in accordance with FAR 8.404(h)(3)(i) (even though we probably will have this information when each job is "ordered"). Mechanically, the contract will contain terms allowing the COR handle "ordering" by requesting and stopping work at will, up to the CLIN ceiling. Apart from my own discomfort at the twisting of the FAR's intended usage of the T&M contract type, I'm struggling to find a strong reason to advise against this plan. My intuition says to make this CLIN an IDIQ (or BPA?) with T&M or FFP pricing , but I can't articulate a reason as to why this would be superior.
  6. Thank you for your perspective, Joel. I've used firm-fixed unit pricing (FFUP) based on this efficiency rationale, like you. Essentially, for services purchased like supplies (e.g., dry cleaning, credit reports), I would price the unit, establish the annual ceiling, and let the COR go wild. Apart from exercising options and deobligating funds after each POP, I never got involved after award. Many have told me that these should have been handled as IDIQs, but to my mind, my strategy was preferable because (1) it was more efficient and had less potential for waste, and (2) the contractor still was accepting most of the risk, meeting the intent of FFP, just on a unit level vice CLIN level. When I compare my prior decision and your story to the situation I describe at the top of this post, I think: What's the risk vs. reward? We are constantly breaking the "rules" in this field anyway, both intentionally and unintentionally, and getting away with it, so if it's determined to be good for the Government, does it matter? (Disclosure: For my well-being, I've recently taken a far more nihilistic approach to this field after moving from DOD to Civilian contracting.) It's this line of thinking that collides with my "FAR purist" roots; hence, "mama bears."
  7. Vern - Not quite. The CLIN is pure T&M, not IDIQ. The funds are obligated each year and sit until the COR asks for ad hoc work at intervals over the life of the contract. Making it an IDIQ/T&M CLIN is my preference. In my backyard as I sit here in my office? Worse than bears, Vern. The White House and buses full of tourists with selfie-sticks. So I clutch to my FAR and try to make sense of it.
  8. Thank you for sharing, Don.
  9. I looked at the first link, and don't see the same consensus that you do that folks believe that a solicitation must be posted. Some say it, some disagree. A lot of the discussion is qualified. For example, in Vern's last post, he states that the solicitation is published "if anyone asks for it." For what it's worth, I have only ever published the synopsis, and I don't think I ever witnessed firsthand a CO do otherwise.
  10. Can you provide a link to one of the old discussions you're referring to?
  11. What is your role? I've never heard of an individual being assigned small business goals.
  12. Truth Decay

    I wanted to share this article I came across on one of my favorite websites (er, besides Wifcon), Farnam Street: Why You Should Stop Reading News. It goes to a question that I've grappled with a lot throughout the years and most recently during the Truth Decay discussion: Is there value to being "well-informed" vis-a-vis current events? Is there a cost?
  13. This is hard to determine - it's not like VA comes up often in conversation. I think people are generally aware that there is a huge number of VA contracting offices. The perception that I've generally heard is that some are strong or fine, but the majority are not. The negativity usually pertains to the prospect of going to the VA, not individuals coming from VA. In truth, I don't believe that having VA on your resume will stigmatize you significantly, if at all. Cream rises to the top. People understand that a poor performing office is poor performing not because they've never had strong talent, but because they can't retain strong talent (referring to VA contracting as a whole, not your office specifically).
  14. Truth Decay

    Matthew - Good points. You've reflected a lot of my thinking on this topic in response to yesterday's posts from Vern. I would sum it up by stating that if we want to remain informed, we can't let the perfect be the enemy of the good. I'm much more apt to put my faith in a highly visible source that's subject to wide public scrutiny and ethical standards, and that cares deeply about its reputation as a seeker of truth, than I am in the "alternative." I can do this while maintaining a critical eye for stories that are of dubious credibility or value. I also second the use of FiveThirtyEight to help calibrate one's thinking on breaking news.
  15. Truth Decay

    So what are you suggesting? That this story is likely wrong, that it is completely fabricated, or that readers should approach any story with unnamed sources with a critical eye?
  16. Truth Decay

    Vern - I cannot decide whether this is a response to my post or a general comment to put a bow on this discussion. I also don't know how you define "public media" or "non-public media."
  17. Truth Decay

    By the way, I took the time to Google "Pizzagate" over the weekend in search of credible evidence. I clicked on what seems to be one of the more popular sites supportive of this theory (it was the first site in the results list). The site states that it obtained its information from the 4chan message board. Indeed, the detailed case it presents - complete with pictures - is compelling. Likewise, I have little doubt that the cases it makes in support of the 9/11 inside job, Sandy Hook false flag operation, and illegitimacy of Obama's birth certificate are also compelling (I didn't click on those, however). Of course, the "evidence" cannot withstand even modest scrutiny. To help you out, here's a sample of some basic critical questions you might ask yourself: if the innocence of children is something that society at large still considers to be inviolable, where is the accompanying local/federal police investigation and arrests? what is the original source of this information? how trustworthy are images posted to extremist message boards? what is the nature of the media sites propagating this theory? how do conspiracy theories originate? how do the minds of those susceptible to conspiracy theories, who dutifully spread and build upon the theories, work? which is more plausible: that this story was manufactured or that the upper echelons of the Democratic Party were involved in child sex trafficking (and apparently got away with it)?) Pepe, you use the buzz term "critical thought" as a shield - a shield to defend yourself from critique here (which may have been effective), and a shield from your own rational mind, in order to further confirm your intuitive and emotional beliefs (this has doubtlessly been effective). But the blanket rejection of mainstream media and the Government because you distrust them, and the accompanying wholesale subscription to "alternative" media and discussion boards, is not critical thinking; it is simply denial and gullibility.
  18. Yes, generally moving to DOD will open doors. It did for me. There is a mystique about DOD contracting in the civilian contracting world, even though the work can be positively mundane. It depends on where you're going. The agency I went to purchases 90%+ commercial items. Yes, particularly coming from VA, which right or wrong, tends to have a negative reputation within the 1102 field. Of course it depends on what you want and where you're heading in your career I suppose.
  19. Truth Decay

    No, no, no. This is an utterly false narrative you're propagating. "Fake news" was not used to describe competitors of liberal media, unless you consider hostile actors using social media to be "competitors." "Fake news," in the context you are describing, came about to describe quite literally the Russian campaign to spread false information on social media using paid trolls. Concocted stories. That this occurred is supported by the entire US intelligence community. If you want to dispute this, then that's on you. But I suggest you keep those comments to the darkest corners of the internet where you'll gain the greatest acceptance, not Wifcon. It was not a meme; it was a literal description of what was (and still is) occurring. If you want argue that all media is biased (as it has always been), you'll get no argument from me. If you want to argue that the majority of mainstream US media has a liberal bias, again, I would support that assertion. I would even support the argument, depending on the case, that mainstream, liberal journalists and reporters have lied to advance an agenda. But so have conservatives. Humans of all ideologies are prone to the same shortcomings and temptations. The irony here is what a victim of you're own confirmation bias you've become, Pepe, and you don't even realize it. In the words of one prominent Tweeter: Sad!
  20. Vern - Here, here. I am all for flexibility and sound business judgment following critical analysis of applicable regulation and policy. But let's remember the context here. This ain't Sevatec. You don't believe that what the Government did in Dream Management and in pat's original examples are products of intelligent design...do you? That is highly unlikely. Much more likely is that the COs were unwilling or unable to take a more conventional approach that would have resulted in better arrangements for all parties. If these contract types do not violate the FAR, that still does not mean that they are, or were based upon, good practices; to the contrary, they are almost certainly products of careless contracting that may have dodged the proverbial bullet by chance alone. Your advice is good for those who have a reasonable grip on the FAR; it probably does not reflect what actually happened in the instances we've been discussing.
  21. Improper how? Vern - I was basing this statement on pat's earlier examples. I don't have a problem with this one: I have a problem with the following sentences in conjunction, assuming they are part of the same CLIN, as pat implied: This is improper because we would be buying kits at variable costs, depending on the amount of effort that went into them. Moreover, there is no incentive for the contractor to control labor costs. The amount of hours that go into a kit determines per-kit profit margin. These aspects run contrary to the meaning and intent of FFP. Even if the comments are not linked, I take issue with the content of the CLIN description on its own. Apparently, the Government defines "Lot" in this case as a "lump of money" which it can draw down on a reimbursable basis. Maybe there is additional information in the CLIN detail section that we don't have here, such as as rate and a maximum quantity. If not, that's crucial information that's missing. If so, well then it might not be improper, but it's ugly. I also think this is improper: So what information does that leave us in the CLIN other than a title? Ostensibly a unit price and/or extended price. How much "program management" is the Government expecting in exchange for this money? We don't know that from the CLIN because the number of hours expected - a crucial specification - is missing. We also don't know if payment is based on hours, days, months, or years, or whether the contractor is entitled to the full CLIN amount or an amount based on work performed. Essentially, the thing the Government is pricing has no parameters that are evident from the CLIN. In reviewing 16.202-1 to respond here, I am reminded that there is actually very little required in a FFP contract, other than "a price that is not subject to any adjustment on the basis of the contractor's cost experience." And I agree that this can apply on a unit or extended price level, as appropriate. Also, the information presented to us is incomplete. So allow me to rephrase my "improper" statement. At best, I think this is sloppy Government work that shows a disregard for the spirit of the FAR, and would violate FAR 4.1005-1 if it were October 1, 2019 or later. At worst, depending on what actually is/is not in these contracts, they are inappropriate applications of FFP contract type because the prices are not firm and the amount of work needed is not defined.
  22. Vern - Are you suggesting that this situation is analogous to Dream Management? In your article, you state: "We are not saying that [the contract type] was improper." In pat's case, what the Government did does appear to be improper based on the information available to us.
  23. It should be possible to structure a CLIN in this way (see for example ji20874's post on the previous page), with each hour as a "unit." But here, it does not sound like the Government provided sufficient detail to do this.
  24. Pat - I'll take a crack at providing some thoughts based on the information you've given. You said: First, if these are part of the same CLIN, this does not make logical sense to me. The deliverable is timely site kits. Why on earth would the Government care about how many hours you've spent working on them? Second, structuring a CLIN in this way seems like a clear misuse of the FFP contract type. There are legitimate situations in which the Government can have a firm-fixed-unit-price (FFUP) contract and allow for billing only up to the number of units actually provided by the contractor (i.e., not necessarily for the entire CLIN amount), but this does not appear to be the case here based on the information given. Third, I don't understand this: Are you saying that the Government does not track the hours worked and your company does not submit invoices? Based on the information provided, I agree there is likely cause for concern. Then again, your company was aware of these terms at the time the contract was signed.