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Tzarina of Compliance

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  1. Yep.... I like discretion, provided it is not abused to avoid a more complicated but better solution. In my world, the work is almost proportionally overseas and not overseas under the same contract, and there are plenty of small businesses who want and can do it, so technically I should be doing market research and then setting-aside in every case that FAR 19 tells me to.... but the pressure form the "big" guys is for me to use "discretion" not to set aside, because they do not want smalls getting the work and then growing to compete with them. And, no, the contract does not require it to be done one way or another (in or out of US), it just has to be done. But more importantly, why should it matter where the performance is if there are two (or many more) US small businesses who can do it? Isn't this the whole idea? Wouldn't the "discretion" be better exercised in analyzing the market and capability of smalls to do the work?
  2. If you are providing technical assistance services and writing reports and part of the team is in Egypt and the other is in Arlington VA, is the contract performed overseas?
  3. @Vern Edwards @Don Mansfield well, the final rule is out and the response to questions. They still do not describe what they mean by "performance" or "outside the US". So if services are "performed" BOTH in the US and overseas under the same contract, I am still not clear if I must set-aside or I may set-aside. Any other reads on this?
  4. I thank you @Don Mansfield and @Vern Edwards very much for continued engagement and I am definitely one of those who is not okay with ambiguous rules, especially when they very clearly affect people's livelihoods or fair competition. I wonder if the revised FAR 19 rule "clarification" will respond to the ABA comments that you all shared (thank you!) and reconcile the SBA's "regardless of place of performance" rule with "applies only in the United States" language. Would be most grateful if you all hear something on this and share here. Many thanks again!
  5. My question was really to do with the specific situation but also for almost all agency contracts, which are "delivering services" outside the US, but the services are performed by contractor personnel who are located in the US and outside the US. The COs are also based in the US and/or in overseas locations - sometimes both. Do COs know that some services or a lot of services will be performed in both US and overseas locations? In most cases, yes, because these are cost reimbursable contracts which require large US based recruitment efforts with some personnel traveling overseas and some not. To Vern's point, FAR 19.000(b) does not say "performance", it just says "applies in the United States" and does not explain what this means. The new proposed rule to explain that it means "discretional" application for contracts outside the United States, again means nothing. What does "in the United States" mean? The question is really about the small businesses in this industry. The agency mostly takes the position that because the contracts are performed "almost entirely overseas" ( a term which is not defined) COs may use discretion in setting aside contracts, but are not mandated to do so under FAR 19 even if there are multiple small businesses capable of performing the work. The small businesses disagree and would like to argue that there is no presumed exception for the agency's contracts. The issue is not more rules, but clearer rules as to when US small businesses do not have to be considered and why. I am assuming that the agency's above interpretation of FAR 19.000 (b) "applies in the US" to include consideration of location of performance and the "entire" or not "entire" concept is due to the definition which relates to small business subcontracting plans. FAR 19.702 (b)(3) sets the requirements for small business subcontracting plans under the authority of 15 USC 637(d) and states that the requirement for small business subcontracting plans does not apply " For contracts or contract modifications that will be performed entirely outside of the United States and its outlying area" So there we have it - prime contract set-aside requirements only apply "in the US" and small business subcontracts requirement applies only for contracts "performed entirely outside the US and its outlying areas". What does a pro-US small business CO to do? Thank you all for an interesting discussion.
  6. I am leaning towards it is NOT, although my choice would just be considered "discretionary". Until it is clear what is considered "performance in the US" and how that is determined, people will continue to wing it. At least in this industry, which is non-DOD. I this case, the Foreign Assistance bilaterals do not restrict sources, so it just defaults to the rest of the FAR.
  7. Thats a good point. Having read through all the info provided here, I am thinking that the way the agency obligates funding to specific country accounts before the funding is used to what is called "sub-obligation" to contracts may support the whole "overseas contracting" argument, even though the actual "performance" is in the US if you count it by dollar value or by number of personnel and where they work from. Very confusing. If the whole thing is exempt, then say its exempt and all the set-asides and SB sub plans are completely discretionary. If it is not exempt, then everyone follows the same rules....
  8. Don, thank you. ABA comments are helpful. I hope final rule clarifies, but probably not. Thank you for providing this link. I have requested my office to look up your 2015 article that Vern mentioned. Look forward to reading that. Thank you again.
  9. Thank you so much, Vern. I am looking for some discussion on this, so this is exactly the reading I am looking for, also per your last - I was hopeful with the new FAR 19 "Clarification", but it does not look like they are clarifying this part. This agency's industry has a lot of small and emerging businesses, so I am trying to learn more about how the process works for them. I am not trying to go against any guidelines etc., but I am trying to find out how do I determine when to apply the small business subcontracting requirements and set asides. "Using discretion" in this case seems to affect a lot of businesses. I will gratefully read all the links you shared and thank you all again. Happy Valentine's Day! 🙂❤️
  10. In services contracting, this is the issue. If the work is performed both in the US and overseas, what percentage makes it "performance overseas" for mandatory SB considerations?
  11. The questions are: should this be a set-aside under FAR 19 and if its not a set aside does it require a Small Business Subcontracting Plan (over $750K)? The contract is to provide technical assistance to the Government of let's say Egypt, in creating financial management system which can be used by various departments of the Egyptian Government. The expected offerors will be US based contractors, who will perform the work in Egypt with the back office support, compliance etc., in the United States. 70% of the contract costs are incurred in the US to pay salaries of both personnel posted to Egypt, and personnel supporting the effort in the US, indirect costs, etc. The Agency's position is that since all of its contracts are performed overseas, they do not have to (but can) offer set-asides or require small business subcontracting plans. My question is not to the point of the FAR 19 and whether or not it should be used more often in contracts which are performed overseas.
  12. Okay, so if the contract is for provision of technical assistance to the Government of Greece and the contractor provides technical experts deployed to Greece to assist Greek Government but hires and pays them in the US, and the compliance aspect of the contract, accounting, subcontract management, executive oversight, program management etc., is handled in the home office by 30+ people, all charged to the Government through indirects. Is the contract performed overseas? In its entirety?
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