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justin.wilson

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About justin.wilson

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  1. Signing actions above warrant authority?

    So I will say that my agency is non-DOD. And I do know that other offices in my agency do not have this same policy. That combined with not finding any policy regarding this practice from any level above the office tells me that there is not an agency level policy to do so.
  2. Signing actions above warrant authority?

    Wow, I really appreciate all of the input. It seems as though the focus has been on the Contracting Officer's ability to delegate signing of actions, which from what I am reading holds true. Referring back to the original post, I was curious to see if anyone else has operated under this type of structure and, if so, was it ever challenged. With 450 views of the post and no responses to that effect, it appears that the answers to those questions are "no". Or, at least not from anyone with an Wifcon account to post replies. I have done some searching for precedence with GAO, COFC, and CBCA but have not come up with anything directly relating. If anyone does have any cases they know of, sharing would be appreciated. From the perspective of the signer that does not hold the direct warrant authority, I would be nervous to sign my name to actions - and that is where the original post was generated from. In a theoretical sense it seems as though that signer is protected from liability, but that is why I was curious of a real-world application of the practice. Thanks again.
  3. Signing actions above warrant authority?

    I suppose I am applying the simplistic view that authority to bind the Government is only delegable in the form of a warrant issued by the HCA (or whomever is assigned) and subject to the limitations stated within that warrant - so in that sense I would think the contracting officer is prohibited from delegating their authority. Case in point, a Contracting Officer may appoint a COR, or a ACO, both of which would have to have their own warrants in order to legally bind the Government even acting in their delegated roles. Although you raise an interesting point regarding a separate, documented delegation of signatory authority. However, to Vern's point above, that is probably covered via the written policy.
  4. Signing actions above warrant authority?

    Your response doesn't seem rude to me at all. I don't plan on any whistleblowing or anything based upon responses here. I suppose I was just interested in seeing if the practice was more common than it appeared to me. Like I said, I am not at all rounded enough to know other contracting activities' policies and was thinking this forum may be able to provide some insight. I also am very curious if somehow someone here has insight regarding the practice being challenged (whether in terms of contracting litigation or in HR aspects). I know the HR aspect isn't exactly germane in this forum, but that was why I posted in the Contracting Workforce section. Nonetheless, I appreciate your advice.
  5. Signing actions above warrant authority?

    Apologies, yes it is in writing.
  6. I have recently transitioned to a new agency and have been surprised by a local policy that states "As a general rule, the contract specialist originating a document signs it as the CO (Contracting Officer) after all required reviews." In practice, this language is cited supporting the fact that a specialist (non-warrant holder) would actually sign contract actions, or a contracting officer may sign actions over their delegated warrant authority. Now, one of the levels of review required would be from a Contracting Officer that holds the required warrant authority and they would be required to sign the review forms necessary. Though, again, the ultimate government signatory may not actually have a warrant that covers the value of the action. In speaking with our local policy official, it was explained that the rationale behind this approach is that the contract specialist whom is involved with the acquisition has a far greater knowledge base about the acquisition than a Contracting Officer whose only contribution is their warrant authority. While I understand that point of view, it was always my belief that the Specialist/Officer dichotomy centered around the Contracting Officer keeping familiar at least in a general sense with their contract. The specialist is responsible for keeping the Contracting Officer aware of issues and potential complications. Ultimately, I THINK I would be protected from personal liability if this practice was ever challenged in litigation as long as I am operating within established contracting office policy - but am not really sure. The legal council for the office has apparently signed off on this practice, so that does alleviate some of my concern. I consider myself a moderately seasoned contracting professional, and have always understood that you just do not sign actions that you do not have warrant authority to sign. However, I certainly do not have a robust knowledge of the various agencies policies when it comes to warrant delegation. I am curious if: (a) Anyone else operates under this type of structure? (b) If so, has it ever been challenged? (c) General thoughts about this structure, such as does this approach fall within the purview of FAR 1.602-1(a) "Contracting officers may bind the Government only to the extent of the authority delegated to them. Contracting officers shall receive from the appointing authority (see 1.603-1) clear instructions in writing regarding the limits of their authority." Also, am I at risk for Unauthorized Commitments with every action I would be signing? I am consciously being vague about the agency/office just to avoid seeming accusatory, but suffice to say that agency FAR supplement does not address this - only the local policy does. Sorry for the long post, but I thank you all in advance for any input.
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