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Witty_Username

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  1. And to throw in a Tragedy of the Commons reference: while any increased risk of a protest accrues directly to the contracting officer, any corresponding future benefit of generally improved proposals by the company is spread across all contracting officers. As an aside I think this separate allocation of risk and reward is reducing the usefulness of past performance evaluations too, because each individual contracting officer is disincentivized to actually report poor or even average performance since they risk a challenge that increases their individual workload now, while the corresponding b
  2. I think you could make a reasonable case that the modifications you describe are within scope of the original order, and so wouldn't even require an exception to fair opportunity: I know there is a school of thought that says any increase in quantity is out of scope, but would seven additional phone lines change the competitive landscape that existed for the original 50? Would you have gotten a quantity discount had you originally solicited for 57? Would additional offerors have submitted proposals had they known about the additional work? Should potential offerors have known that personnel co
  3. I reread it again, and GAO seems to accept DEA's position that the original BPAs were competitively awarded so calls don't have to be (but they didn't take a hard look at the original competition because that would have required a solicitation protest). It seems like this would only be plausible if the BPAs contained fixed unit prices and the DEA was using those competitively-established fixed unit prices to place calls using the procedures they set up in the original solicitation (i.e. rotation), which was not itself subjected to scrutiny. I don't think it is clear enough to firmly establish
  4. Again, since this is a beginner's forum I think it's important to be clear that the existence of a BPA, either single or multiple, has essentially no effect on the competition requirements of FAR Part 13 for each call. The concept of "rotating" sources likely comes from the FAR Part 13.203 which says micropurchases [including BPA calls] "shall be distributed equitably among qualified suppliers", effectively rotating them among BPA holders if there are multiple, so it is only applicable to micropurchase calls. There has been some talk that multiple BPAs with fixed prices could allow
  5. I see where FAR 19.502-2(b)(1) could be read to limit the application of 19.502-2(b) to "products" but (a) and (c) both refer to services and 19.502-2(b) refers you to both 19.502-2(c) which explains why "products" bears special mention (i.e. nonmanufacturer rule) and to 19.203(c) which says "For acquisitions of supplies or services that have an anticipated dollar value exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold […]" so it would seem like a stretch to me to read 19.502-2(b)(1) to limit application to supplies only, when set-asides for services are mentioned so often elsewhere and there is
  6. Since it sounds like you're DOD, the Department of Defense Source Selection Procedures dated 1 Apr 2016 add the requirement for acquisitions over $100 million that "the Agency head shall appoint, in writing, an individual other than the Procuring Contracting Officer (PCO) as the Source Selection Authority (SSA)."
  7. Since the NMCARS has acquisition strategy/plan templates with specific questions for each paragraph, I think an often-overlooked key point is to answer the specific questions they ask in each paragraph. Surprisingly often we'll overlook something they explicitly ask for, like an explanation of the PSC in paragraph 1.1. Another recommendation: Don't necessarily default to Bottom Line Up Front (BLUF) writing in an acquisition plan. Sometimes you need to apply persuasive writing techniques to lead the reader/approver along the path that leads to a decision. If you start with a BLUF that the
  8. Do you really need to create your own IDIQ? Could you just do individual task orders instead under an existing 8(a) BIC GWAC like 8(a) STARS, using either direct awards or logical follow-ons if necessary? I'm assuming that by creating your own single-award IDIQ you expect to eliminate or streamline some of the requirements to award each task order. Are there other ways to achieve that same goal, maybe a single program acquisition strategy that allows for multiple task order awards using the same process?
  9. I agree that there are situations where use of a SOO, oral presentations, and real past performance evaluation makes sense to select the best offeror. But once you've selected the best offeror what would the resultant contract look like? You say it would likely be labor hour, so at that point you've got a set of pre-priced labor categories working to achieve what contractually-defined objective/outcome? Will the SOO have to be turned into a PWS with measurable objectives (by the Government or the offeror? Before or after award?), or will the contractor just be providing the labor hours to work
  10. This would be a good time to refer back to your market research and consider not only whether the change would alter the competitive landscape (i.e. 15.206(e) "additional sources likely would have submitted offers"), but also whether it would change cost drivers such that offerors who did propose might have chosen to propose in a different (and more beneficial to the Government) way had they known the details of the eventual requirement. It may be worth considering the possibility of solicitation amendments when you develop objectives for market research early in the acquisition planning proce
  11. Since one of the more useful definitions in trying to figure out whether a software license or a subscription or a rental or a lease or anything else is a supply or a service is the FAR 37 definition of service, which you quote, I think it is important to point out that the key part of the definition is "directly engages the time and effort of a contractor [i.e. an employee...] to perform an identifiable task", not the "primary purpose" that you highlight. In this example the provision of a backhoe only engages the time and effort of a contractor employee for about the same amount of time purc
  12. On the original topic, is there a single person within the requiring activity who is in charge of the requirement, or will receive the goods or services? Assuming there is no actual program manager or functional service manager there is still likely someone in charge, maybe a chief of staff or something. I would ask the director to approach this person and ensure they understand that if they desire a contract they must fulfil their role in the acquisition process (e.g. provide funding, the evaluation team, required approvals, etc.) and let them handle any issues with the evaluation team chairp
  13. Here's a scenario where it may make sense to create an overall price based on the Government's best estimate of what the labor mix might be instead of just determining that individual labor rates are fair and reasonable: For simplicity, assume two labor categories, Project Manager and Laborer. Proposed rates are as follows: Offeror A: Project Manager $50/hr; Laborer $20/hr; Offeror B: Project Manager $60/hr; Laborer $15/hr; You can do some kind of analysis to figure out that the individual labor rates are each fair and reasonable, but even without knowing the exact labor mi
  14. We regularly use T&M for repair parts under maintenance contracts, so I'll admit this is a little concerning. I think the key is the difference between "commercial items" and "direct materials" which FAR 16.101 defines as "those materials that enter directly into the end product, or that are used or consumed directly in connection with the furnishing of the end product or service." So, while a toner cartridge is clearly not a service, I think you could try to make the case that in this case it is also not a "commercial item," but rather is a direct material consumed in furnishing the end p
  15. I think it depends on how you intend to "obligate" funds against the BPA. In the original draw-down example, the Government bought the amount of toner they "obligated" against the BPA, and now they are just pending delivery when a call is placed. Otherwise it wouldn't actually be an "obligation." This works fine if you have a reasonable idea of how much you'll order in a year, and have already taken care of any competition requirements up front, i.e. when the original order was placed. If you didn't compete up front but are placing orders over the micro-purchase threshold and you want to maint
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