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Everything posted by brian

  1. . Justin, some of the best minds in federal contracting weighed in, and it would be reasonable to act on their advice. But in this rare instance, they are wrong. That is, if I understood them correctly. I assume that the due date for initial proposals passed before the Amendment was issued. I assume that this Amendment was only issued to offerors who had submitted timely responses. Based on the scenario that you described, you may NOT consider and may NOT accept the late offer. Your parsing of a difference between a response to the original solicitation and a response to an amendment is inaccurate. The response to the Amendment is a new response, a different offer, to a different solicitation. It is NOT "a late modification of an otherwise successful proposal," because when the Government issued the Amendment, it declared the earlier Solicitation null and void, and replaced it with the Amended Solicitation. So the earlier, timely and "successful" proposal was also void. It doesn't matter if the Amended Solicitation is 99.99% the same as the original solicitation. When the Government issues an Amendment, they are declaring that the requirement is changed in some material respect. Here's what "a late modification of an otherwise successful proposal" means: 1.__a solicitation is issued. 2.__responses are timely received. 3.__after their offer is sent to the Government, before or after responses were due, and without any prompting from the Government in the form of an Amendment, one offeror modifies their offer to make it more favorable to the Government. This can be in response to negotiations, and even apparently in response to a request for clarification, or even completely out of the Blue. 4. At some point, whether before or after the late modification is received, the Government determines that this offeror's ORIGINAL offer was the best, among all of the timely offers, and is in line for award. ...... Alas, as a big fan of Geo-SEIS Helicopters' "late-is-late" rule, I reluctantly admit that you can easily fix this: issue another Amendment, changing more than just the due date. .
  2. . Hey, guy from the Spanish Caribbean, thanks for asking this. I recently asked some government employees (Congressional staffers) to sign NDA's on an Unsolicited Proposal and they refused. I wasn't aware of the protections of USC 1905. I've had trade secrets submitted in an Unsolicited Proposal later show up in a book written by someone who used to collaborate with, but not work for, the agency that received my UP. Somebody in the agency violated these USC 1905 restrictions, but I was too lazy/ poor to pursue it, because I thought my only protection was in FAR 15.6. This tidbit of information is worth a lot more than what I pay in dues to participate here. Thanks also to Bob. .
  3. . If AFGE had smarter leadership, they would organize these PSC's to get them the federal civil service retirement benefits they have earned. .
  4. . Duke, I'm not the sharpest person that lurks here. Many are far smarter. But none of them have responded, so I'll tell you straight up: I don't understand enough about your situation to answer. You would have to add 5 or 6 key bits of info for me to even understand your dilemma, let alone offer any insight. .
  5. . The current system has evolved over a long time, adapting to each new type of fraudulent activity that creative people can think up. Internal controls depend on a separation of duties: *** one person develops the statement of what it is that must be acquired; *** another person certifies that funds are available, and commits them; *** yet another person makes the actual purchase; *** someone else (maybe the original requisitioner) certifies receipt. Having seen the depths of depravity and corruption in JCC-I, the predecessor organization to where you are now, Ashley, I cannot recommend that you or your coworkers simply make your buy from one of the three "quotes" that the requiring activity sends you. In your original question you yourself indicate at least a suspicion of corruption (that's the technical term for "the customer who obtains these 3 quotes regularly go to high contractors (in order to obtain more funds) ..." To help you decide how much of your authority and reputation you should leave in the hands of people you suspect are corrupt, I suggest that you go read some of the write-ups of JCC-I. ps: how can you even consider these "quotes" to be a basis for anything, even mere "market research," if they are not tied to a specific requirement ? Do you suspect that the requiring activity is describing the requirement differently to the Quoters than they are describing it to you ? If they are also the ones doing acceptance, I would guess that the actual requirement being performed includes stuff that you never contemplated. .
  6. . In an SBSA, the offeror has to certify that they are small in that NAICS code. In your example, no, the ANC would not be considered small. Maybe I'm picking nits, but a large ANC doesn't get to join the 8(a) set-aside program. They have to create a daughter corp that is small. .
  7. . GAO is very clear that it will not consider a protest that an unsuccessful offeror didn't get a debriefing, regardless of whether it was timely requested. You don't have time to prepare for a debriefing. Get back to work. .
  8. . here's a short, incomplete list: Post Hoc Extensions, GEO-Seis Helicopters 1 case, 2 different decisions .
  9. . Jose, find someone you trust who understands government contracts, and ask them to read your contract and tell you what it says. If it was truly for a lump sum to install/migrate the software, and if you were kept from complying due to the Government's actions or inactions, then you may be able to get full payment. In such a situation, I would expect the contract to state a monthly amount, or a single lump sum amount, not an hourly amount. On the other hand, if you have a contract for services at an hourly rate, and you work as the government orders those services, and if that "lump sum" is really a maximum amount, not an estimated amount or a total amount, the contract may have been executed just as it reads. But I don't understand you not getting paid in full for the software. If you delivered, you should have invoiced and got paid. anyway, there's an expert on government contracts in every town. If you told the CO when you first signed the contract that the terms were not what you agreed to, but you signed it anyway, guess what ? you agreed to the terms in the document you signed, regardless of any other verbal agreement. Mee-ahn-eh-yo. Sorry 'bout that. Maybe you should have that someone who understands contracts read your next one before you sign it. There's no shame in not being an expert in every field. It's just smart to hire expertise in fields where you are lacking. .
  10. . Jed, whenever I see "Sources Sought," two things come to mind. Maybe the contracting office is looking to do a Sole Source, and wants to give industry a heads-up early on, rather than getting blindsided after they write their J&A by the dozens of firms that can do the job faster, better and cheaper than the "sole source." or Maybe they are looking to do something unrestricted, but want to give Small Businesses, or other categories of preference-eligible SB's, a chance to let them know of their capabilities. Truth be told, if the CS or CO is good at market research and Google, they can find a large business who will do just about anything, if there's a buck to be made. So I don't think that "Sources Sought" notices are looking for responses from BAH or GE; they are looking for the niche operator. .
  11. . In addition to needing a fully built, equipped and staffed hospital in 2012, when you go "live," I think there are intervening milestones that are also bona fide needs. For example, way before you hire all the staff, you gotta get accreditation. For that, you've got to have all the major equipment and procedures and protocols in place. That might make any particular piece of equipment a bona fide need in 2011. Also, even though your hospital won't be done for 2 years, your agency mission for health care delivery is not being met today, presumably (why else the new hospital ?) So, even though some of the pieces won't be in place for a while, the need for the facility, with all its furnishings, is a need that has existed last year, exists this year, and will exist when the hospital finally opens. .
  12. . Whoa. Slow down. I said to ASK if it was too late to withdraw your bid. I didn't say to actually withdraw it. I'm recommending jerking around the person who's jerking you around, but if you desperately need that PO, don't slit your own throat. Obviously, up to the point of award, and sometimes even after that, you can withdraw your bid. Just say you forgot to include insurance costs or whatever. My suggestion was based on the assumption that the CO thinks that all bidders would suck up any imaginable indignity in order to curry favor with her, in the hope it would help win a contract, even if the contractor was sure to lose money on it. CO's generally think that it is a great honor for a Contractor to have an opportunity to grovel before them. If you throw out the idea of withdrawing your bid, and you aren't in line for award anyway, you won't raise an eyebrow. But if you ARE in line for award, she will be caught off guard and gasp. That's why you gotta do this in person or over the phone. Gasps are not something that gets communicated in an email. If her contractor who is in line for award withdraws their bid, she now has to go back to the customer and ask for more money to cover the price of the next low bidder. She already had to ask for more than was certified on the Purchase Request to meet your price because the Government Estimate was unrealistically low (happens about 30-40% of the time on small buys that are not reprocurements.) Friend of Buddy, there are some really smart folks here on this site for contracting advice. I'm not one of them. Take anything I say with a grain of salt. .
  13. . The Army's Contracting Center of Excellence (used to be DSS-W) acquires the services of portrait artists regularly through FBO.gov. I've seen these at the Army's asfi site, but it looks like that site is being phased out. Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs and Secretaries of Defense are all painted. I don't know who else. C.f., https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&amp...re&_cview=1 look at the "Interested Vendors" Tab. These can run into 6 figures, and require multiple sittings. .
  14. . A Clinician might call this "Projection." I am projecting myself into this scenario. As I read it, Buddy's companion operates a small business. Pretty small: going after a 1 FTE contract. Been there, done that. He's not asking, "Can we, the Government, do this ?" He's asking, "Why doesn't the Government tell me, a bidder, what's going on with my bid ?" First and foremost, Government Contracting officials have been conditioned to not do anything that might clue in a disappointed bidder that they were treated unfairly. Having worked more than 10 years in various contracting offices of federal agencies, I believe that there is regular arbitrary or capricious abuse of discretion, and only tight lips keep officials from being found out. That's my anecdotal experience. The bad eggs are a minority, but circling the wagons is well-imbued in the culture, especially at higher levels. While Contracting officials may believe that such an attitude minimizes risk, by covering up those abuses the culture just gets more perverse. Seen that, got the T shirt. News flash: I have rarely heard of a Government contracting officer engage in actual negotiations on any acquisition valued in the ballpark of 1 FTE, and then only if it wasn't competitive, where there was no possible disappointed other bidder who might get their feelings hurt. The old hands here are welcome to dispel that notion, if wrong. The key consideration for many on the Government side is not to get the best deal for both parties, it's to avoid a protest. Government folks seem not to get that protests are good. Protests usually provide clarity. They really aren't about punishment or anger, they are about fairness and consistency and the integrity of the procurement system. Well, maybe I'm too optimistic. But as long as a significant number of Contracting officials put more effort into avoiding accountability and openness than into reaching good, fair business deals, we will all, on both sides of the table, benefit from more protests. . Specifically addressing the Question about "Why can't they let us know, so we can bid on other year-end opportunities without over-extending ourselves," which I project is the Question you really meant to ask, from the Government's POV, EVERY BIDDER needs to train up a person who is ready to step into that job with only a couple minutes' notice. To them, that's part of the bidder's costs in bidding. Even when 60 days pass between bid submission and award. Expect award to be made Thursday at 5 PM, and performance to start at Friday at 7:30 AM. But here's the thing: the Government may have already given notice, indirectly, to the one who is in line for award. Has the CO contacted you to ask you to verify your bid ? If not, you may not need to have someone immediately available to fill that position. My anecdotal experience, in more than half of the awards that I won I was asked exactly that. But then, I have also been asked the same thing when my price was 5 times the Government Estimate. If you really, really need to know, contact the CO and ask if it's too late to withdraw your bid. If you are low, and she has already asked for funds in the amount of your bid, you will probably figure that out by her reaction. .
  15. I don't know how serious the legal complications might be, but you might be trolling for a GAO Protest. I am assuming that you work for a federal agency, and as I understand it you want to serve notice that the agency wants to award to a Prime that does not have a bunch of entangling alliances with affiliates and partners. I'm trying to guess why you want to do that, and again assuming more than you've written, I'm guessing that you hope to avoid dealing with firms that claim to be small, but really aren't, and conceal that fact through a web of daughter and sister entities. OK. If I've misunderstood, then you can disregard what follows. I am a firm believer in the GAO Protest as a way for the disappointed bidder to find out what happened. Government contracting officials sometimes refuse to say who won a contract, or why, and the Comptroller General will demand release of that information, if the protest isn't dismissed before the production of an Agency Report. I also believe that the GAO Protest is a critical fulcrum for disappointed bidders to leverage Agency contracting officials into abiding by what's in a solicitation, and for maintaining the integrity of the procurement system, acting as "private attorneys general." Well, with this power comes responsibility. If an award is made in a set-aside to a business that may not really be small, then it is up to the disappointed bidders to ferret that out. The language in the federal government about "small business" is really phony. A business can be huge and still qualify as "small," under SBA Regs. Figure that over 98% of all businesses are "small." I once lost out on a bid to a company with annual revenues exceeding $50 Million on an SBSA. I'm a Sole Prop. So if your intent, Slammee, is to protect a $30 Million company from the predations of a $50 Million company, good luck. .
  16. FSCO, my advice above was based on the assumption that these were quite small, and the construction was closely related to the rest of the contract. Bad assumptions yield bad advice. Sorry.
  17. Vern, unless I've missed my guess about where FSCO works, most of these 15 or so Primes have developed at least some basic in-house expertise in construction management. This is how this agency has done pretty much all construction over the last 40 years. All construction is ancillary to a larger related service implementation. Also, I've never seen a construction project for them over $1 Million, and they are usually under $150K. FSCO, is that right ? .
  18. . If I've guessed your agency correctly, you use the same 15 Prime Contractors/ Implementing Partners for almost everything, and they sub out all their construction. If you incorporate a requirement in your prime contracts about the Government approving subs based on some objective measure like Past Performance, that should ensure consistently competent subs. Seems to me, if you split the construction off from the other services, then you would get endless fingerpointing over who is to blame when outcomes fall short. .
  19. . also, DOL maintains a list on-line for pre-approved contractors. You can see who is on that list among those in your Competitive Range. .
  20. I'm not up to date on the relevant regulatory requirement, but I CAN tell you how the Army's ECC is handling Amendments after the close of the bid acceptance period. Everyone who is still in the Competitive Range gets the Amendments by email. I have received 2 that way in the past month. They never appeared on asfi or FBO. . In response to your comment elsewhere that the two bidders whose prices were still higher that the Government Estimate, even after Discussions: you concluded that they didn't understand the requirement. It may be nit-picking, but what they didn't understand was really the Government's expectations regarding price. They wouldn't have been kept in the Competitive Range if they didn't understand the requirement, would they ? .
  21. . Note first that I know NOTHING about cost reimbursement. That said, I would think that the Government is only on the hook for allowable, allocable and reasonable costs. Those costs are specified in the Bid Schedule. Any premium paid by the Contractor over "costs" are a voluntary distribution of profits, aren't they ? The Government is not obliged to reimburse distributed profits. You've apparently got a bunch of fraudulent claims to deal with. Why would you negotiate down the rates you are being billed ? Ignore them. Refer to the rates in the contract, and reject any invoices that use higher rates. .
  22. . I must be one bitter, old unprofessional curmudgeon. NY Giants 20 retired from the Air Force, I'm guessing, where she or he did the work of an 1102. And yet they do not seem to understand the distinctions between a Government employee and a contractor employee. How did they ever get hired by CACI, I'm guessing, or Stanley, for a job to perform "Contracting support ?" Also, there are only two employees of that contractor providing support in that specific office. NYG 20 wants the flex schedule; the only other employee DOES NOT. Where does coverage come from on NYG 20's flex day off, so that the Customer has consistent support ? Does the Employer/ Contractor hire a 3rd employee ? Is the 2nd employee forced to go flex against their will ? .
  23. . I don't have any special insight as to what's behind this, but I'd like to share my guess: When I think it would be helpful to see the current contract for something that's being recompeted, I'm most interested in the Bid Schedule and any Orders or Mods that may have changed quantities, delivery, descriptions or prices. I assume that's what this initiative is meant to disclose. I think whoever thought this up assumed that the Government could simply add a paragraph to 52.212-1 or the non-Commercial Item 52.215-1 "Instructions to Offerors," putting potential offerors on notice that their pricing would be made public, at the CLIN or sub-CLIN level, and folks would salute and carry on. If that does happen, I expect there to be a lot of feedback from industry on how Bid Schedules should be structured. In fact, I think it will become commonplace to negotiate this structure. As a result, I think that Bid Schedules will become much shorter and provide less insight into costs and prices. .
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