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Everything posted by formerfed

  1. Since you are quoting me, I think the comment “your proposed fix” is referring to me. If so, I never proposed a fix. I said that’s what many agencies do. It happened very frequently a couple years ago with consolidation of schedules. I haven’t heard any criticism either. It’s a situation where an exact answer isn’t apparent or not worth the effort digging further. The OP can do a limited source justification if he’s uncomfortable. Also my “it’s not that simple” referred to asking the GSA CO - nothing more
  2. It's not that simple. There are 12 different Schedules and each has huge numbers of awards. For example the IT has nearly 5,000 contractors. While there’s a single CO for a solicitation, the thousands of responses get assigned to a large number of contract specialists. A contract specialist also may or may not be the CO for the offer that are evaluating and negotiating. It depends upon the estimated dollar value of the award and the CS/COs warrant. In addition COs concentrate on getting contracts out. Probably many don’t know that much about BPAs and the specific question asked here. Even if you somehow found the CO assigned contract responsibility, do you ask the CO of the expiring contract or the CO of the new contract. You may get two different answers. Some of the typical questions agencies ask about placing orders are beyond COs expertise. Details of how the Price Reduction clause operates is a prime example. GSA does have groups that are set up to answer these type issues but it’s a completely different part of the organization.
  3. The most common way of handling this is simply modify the BPA to show a switch from the old to the new contract number. That’s what most agencies do in similar circumstances. I’m not saying it’s proper or not but I haven’t heard criticism from any source. It’s a relatively frequent occurrence especially with the GSA merger and consolidation of Schedules over the past few years. Another approach is prepare a Limited Sources Justification, do the BPA action, and then post in FedBizOpps for the required time period.
  4. This situation is not that uncommon. Agencies often neglect close-outs for years. Then they tackle the tasks in a mass effort or use a contractor. Lots of companies go out of business during that time contract performance occurred and getting to the close-out. The way it’s generally handled is document the efforts to unsuccessfully locate and communicate with the contractor. All the tasks that don’t require contractor input are done like verifying financial data. Then the files are packed up and sent to the Records Retention Center.
  5. Reminds me of an old comment from a senior Treasury official years ago - before DHS was established. He said Customs could contract for a mainframe computer, have it installed, and fully operational before IRS could finish assembling their planning committee.
  6. A lot of misunderstanding exists across the government of IFF and “best rates.” In reality the IFF is nominal at 0.75% of the order amount. Compare that against the administrative time and expense for doing an open market procurement. GSA negotiates prices generally by comparison of discounts from price lists. They usually seek discounts equal to or better than the offerors most favored customer. Exceptions include situations where the most favored customer buys substantially more over a year such as Amazon or provides some value added services. However the GSA discount price the government pays covers some very small orders as well as larger ones. If an agency has a large and immediate requirement, GSA expects that agency to seek more favorable prices.
  7. @KeithB18 That is a major problem especially when a lot of the acquisitions involve major IT. A couple of agencies partially solved that by creating organizations intermediate between CIO and Contracts. The CIO office funded a few positions. Some of those are IT specialists that take user requirements and convert to documents supporting the acquisition process. Other positions are contract savvy people that have some IT knowledge.
  8. When you get down to it, acquisition is a function that supports mission. If a program office struggles for a year putting together a requisition package and PALT takes 120 days, is contracting successful?
  9. @Vern Edwards Your response got me thinking why the system evolved the way it has. Three thoughts immediately came to mind. One is government wants the system to serve too many constituent groups. The subject of this discussion for example results from attempts to satisfy organized labor. Then we have the complexity from efforts to support small and all the related subsets of small businesses and other organizations. Recently the Administration decided that contractor employees must be vaccinated. Every year the appropriation bills require agencies to do things and spend money for things relatively meaningless for the specific agencies. It’s almost like using acquisition to support mission accomplishment is a side purpose. We take good ideas and “Federalize” them where they often are not worth doing. Past performance evaluations, use of IDIQ contracts, strategic sourcing, and simplified acquisitions are examples. Finally there are so many “controls” in place because government contracting personnel just can’t or don’t know how to apply rules.
  10. I can see task order CLINS or line items breaking down work separately. That was my thinking about distinguishing between SCA and non-SCA. But never mind, I see the SCA applying at the task order level. The contract just has a huge listing of labor categories and a very broad Section C. It can’t possibly be so detailed to distinguish whether any or all work is SCA covered or not. That’s decided at the order level.
  11. I’m thinking in terms of GSA Schedule orders. You likely would have multiple CLINS because you wouldn’t categorize everyone at the same pay rate. Support or incidental staff will have a different rate. Those might be at SCA covered jobs. But if we are looking at the overall task as one effort, then incidental goes away.
  12. Then I think if the support nonprofessional personnel are other than incidental, then the SCA applies. The problem I have is interpreting that all services of a category are considered SCA covered because DOL has a labor classification for that job. I believe we need to look at the specifics of a task and decide.
  13. @Vern EdwardsExcept CuriousContractor_22 said “they believe all employees will be bona fide executive, administrative or professional employees.” Your scenario has the contractor paying nonprofessional in both situations. I think a fairer comparison is doing nonprofessional work in the first and professional work in the second task but using the same job title.
  14. @C Culham I’m not saying prices can sometimes be exempt or not. Pricing does include SCA coverage. What I am saying is that a given labor category pricing can be for work that is both SCA covered and not covered. It’s the nature of the work that counts. A task order defines a job that needs done. A contractor proposes pricing by labor category. Just because the rates for those categories are based on SCA coverage doesn’t mean the task order work is.
  15. Sure it can at least in the context discussed here. An ordering agency has a task order requirement. The agency decides the work involved. A contractor responds with a proposal that includes one or more labor categories and associated rates. It’s not the labor title that decides whether the work is exempt or not. This frequently happens with IT services. Several job titles such as system analysts, developers and programmers are covered by Wage Determinations. The exact nature of the work performed determines if the work is SCA covered and not the job title. The key thing is contractors are proposing using contract categories and rates and in response to an agency need.
  16. Check this out, particularly the section on “What is a GSA Sale.” https://vsc.gsa.gov/vsc/app-content-viewer/section/69
  17. What might be a worse situation than paying the IFF is violation of the price reduction clause. The extent of the damage, if any, depends upon what was provided GSA prior to award of the Schedule contract. https://www.acquisition.gov/content/538.272-mas-price-reductions.
  18. GSAs position is they have no idea what agency requirements are and what task orders might look like. Therefore they don’t know when and where the SCA applies to individual agency requirements. They decided the best approach is to establish rates for some labor categories assuming the SCA applies but also knowing those same labor categories might not apply in all situations. Their FSS contracts then are awarded on the basis of SCA coverage. That leaves agency contracting officers the latitude to decide if the required work is SCA based or not and how to proceed.
  19. @Vern Edwards I remembered something from a couple years. Labor responded to a GSA question on whether the SCA applied to a government wide IDIQ contract for telecommunication services. One of the exceptions of the SCA is services subject to the Communications Act. While not the same thing as discussed here, the interesting point is DOL said “…task orders are the ‘official contractual mechanism’ agencies use for ordering services…” https://interact.gsa.gov/sites/default/files/EIS Bulletin Volume 14 v1.0 (11.18.20).docx The response goes on the say agencies must evaluate applicability at the task order level. What’s funny is it took DOL a year to reply. GSA could do everyone, contractors included, a service if they simply were clear about these issues and address them in solicitations and contracts. I searched more and couldn’t find anything else.
  20. The GSA link I cited above covers this. It says while GSA includes the SCA clauses and wage determinations into the contract for various labor categories, the ordering contracting officer determines whether the SCA applies to the task order and labor categories when they place the order. I’m still using SCA out of habit instead of SCLS.
  21. This helps explain why GSA incorporates Wage Determinations under their contract. They don’t know specifics of what agencies will order. So task orders may or may not be subject to the SCA https://www.gsa.gov/cdnstatic/Service_Contract_Labor_Standards_and_GSA_Schedule_Orders.pdf
  22. It’s hard for anybody here to answer without seeing things like the ordering agency SOW. Perhaps the ordering agency contracting officer feels the nature of the work doesn’t utilize SCA covered employees? If you are uncomfortable with the issue, ask the CO. You could email and use the response to document your file. However it’s difficult to imagine categories like word processors, support staff, and clerks being anything other than SCA covered.
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