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formerfed

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Everything posted by formerfed

  1. All so true. As a nation we don’t want to get personally involved in meaningful ways. We listen to slanted news coverage, whether it’s CNN, MSNBC, Fox, or whatever and take what is said as gospel. We vigorously argue our views in online forums and news source comments page when we don’t agree. I wonder if anyone in those forums really think they can change the views of another? But in terms of active involvement, everyone stays back so they can complain after the fact not realizing they turn the ruling over to others.
  2. Relocation is not longer a financial hardship. I know of dozens of 1102s that did this and weren’t harmed financially. https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/pay-leave/recruitment-relocation-retention-incentives/fact-sheets/relocation-incentives/ Of course this doesn’t negate family issues, especially children, that involve moving to a new geographical area
  3. Sorry for the slightly off topic response but this hits upon one of my sensitive areas. Why wouldn’t the agency do something other than accept an unsatisfactory rating without doing something? I assume this is just the only source of information they have like from a CPARS report or a survey response. Why not ask the agency giving the unsatisfactory response some information? Why not seek additional information from other customers? I don’t understand why COs aren’t more proactive is obtaining past performance information. They have the latitude. Plus the CO can always ask the offeror to explain the rating unless that’s already occurred.
  4. @Jamaal Valentine I agree. Contracting folks do indeed adhere to what’s modeled for them. “Cut and paste” from other documents, templates and approved samples endorsed by management, office checklists, etc. Creativity and ingenuity often doesn’t exist. So many 1102s just go through the motions with the objective of making a timely award without protests It’s amazing also how the same process gets done so many ways across offices. Some are good practices while others are wrong. Things like requirements for negotiation memorandums, source selection decisions, and even FAR 5.2 announcements differ widely. Just look at the recent thread here on synopsizing for simplified acquisitions over $25,000 in value. Comments about changing jobs to get broader exposure are spot on. So many offices have common practices that are just flat out wrong. They are perpetuated by staff that haven’t worked anyplace else. Plus offices that do all kinds of contracting just don’t exist. Changing jobs to learn new things and obtaining broader exposure in our field is very beneficial. Plus being subjected to new things, new people, and no processes is self-challenging and motivational. Despite how good someone is in their job, people get content and bored with the status quo. Having to start new and prove yourself all over again can be rejuvenating in someone’s career.
  5. Maybe the OFPP Administrator can’t fix everything but if I was in that position I would be screaming for change. I would be sending up flags to the contracting workforce, Congress, and the rest of government. The current process is drastically outdated and broke. Congress and the Administration need to push for change. I don’t think China, North Korea, and other potential adversaries wait months and sometimes years to get contracts in place. Our acquisition workforce is risk adverse. People are afraid to do anything new or different. They need several layers of management and approval for every action they take. Policy people that review actions and lawyers take the conservative route. So many contract specialists when faced with a new procurement cut and paste from prior examples. They do this even when the fit is lacking. I’ve said before that if changes don’t happen and 1102’s don’t demonstrate value and prompt support to agency programs, program managers will be given procurement authority. We need new policies, new laws, new people, and new training and grooming recent hires.
  6. Vern, I agree. But firing someone just isn’t likely in the government. I started browsing the history of OFPP Administrators and surprised to see Lesley Field as number 16. With the exception of Steve Kelman none have any long lasting notable accomplishments. Most are placed in the job to promote whatever the current Administration’s goals are. It seems as if they aren’t supposed to do anything more. What’s needed is an Administrator that can go to Congress and sell them with feasible concepts to improve the process. But does any President and Congress really want that? Certainly recruitment and retention of the workforce is important. And new blood with fresh ideas and motivation is key to the success of any organization. But the current HR process doesn’t support that. It’s antiquated and geared towards personnel practices of the 1970s. I don’t see Lesley Field doing much despite the rhetoric.
  7. Just more alarmist talk and no action to me. This situation has been around for years and nothing of substance is done to change things. Every time some reasonable approach is mentioned for change, multiple factions oppose.
  8. The question with the limited information provided is definitely confusing. My take is the contractor proposed a certain staffing level which the government used to form the price to provide service. Then the contractor starts work but isn’t meeting the contract performance standard, likely because they are providing fewer people than proposed.
  9. The homeowners association in the community I live went out for proposals for the exact services. They did a selection on a technical/price trade off. They considered past performance, technical approach and price. The technical factor for mowing involved assessing the type of equipment offerors used for mowing, blowing and trimming. They felt it was important that mowing be done quickly to minimize disruption to homeowners so larger and faster equipment was a plus. They also wanted to know how offerors would service irrigation lines. Some companies installed sensing equipment to spot leaks and blockages. Some companies replace bad lines while others patch bad sections. They looked for companies that found problems and fixed before homeowners submitted reports. I understand your point and this example is a rarity but there might be good reasons for a TEP.
  10. Yes. Don’t make this unnecessarily complex. You get quotes, evaluate, select, and issue a purchase order. Probably two people can do it - a tech/program person and CO (or KO if DoD)
  11. Why not? It’s obvious the Biden Administration doesn’t know what they want out of procurement. Why not select someone to maintain the status quo and not disrupt anything.
  12. CPARS ratings are mostly a joke. Even though it’s four years old, a study showed 97% of companies received satisfactory or better. The concept of using past performance as a factor in source selection is good, agencies implementation is poor and often meaningless. That’s because it’s typically based on CPARS reports and surveys sent to offeror references. A TfC can reflect a performance problem. All too often agencies contemplate a TfD but when the contractor rebuts and legal counsel gets involved, a lot turn into termination for convenience - government lacks data, government didn’t timely act, government actions/lack of actions contributed, etc. If I were a CO and saw a TfC, I would find out the reasons why just like I would do any past performance examination. Call up and talk with responsible government officials, ask questions, gather facts, and make a decision. Certainly not just rely on a CPARS report.
  13. @Vern Edwards I completely agree. OFPP has done literally nothing significant in the last 20+ years. Our contracting process is lacking in meeting government mission needs. Our military, homeland defense, health, and environment are dependent upon a strong and responsive procurement system. OFPP should be at the forefront leading the way to making changes for improvement. But I see comments like this Sustainable procurement is the biggest squandered opportunity? So how is buying green allow us to better compete with China?
  14. Guardian’s point highlights the disconnect I think in this thread. Just a guess but Ally may be pacing orders under GWACS, GSA Schedule, or some other IDIQ contract. Most of those say orders must be FFP, LH, or T&M
  15. Ally, Based on these responses what I would do is include a government estimate of the level of effort (labor categories and some estimate of hours) in the solicitation along with the SOW. Advise offerors they may propose using the governments model or some other estimate they feel appropriate. Require them to justify their proposed amounts. Then establish the ceiling at time of award using the approach C Culham described.
  16. Category management is another example of government leadership missing the boat. President Obama initiated it. The basic concept is the government consolidates certain commodities into established categories, establishes sources of supply for each, and the government saves money. The private sector had great success so why shouldn’t the government? Answer - someone at the top of a company mandates that all employees use the same supplies/services. Problem - every agency believes they are unique and their needs can’t be met by another agency. Results - lots of claimed savings which I doubt could be substantiated. Move on to President Trump. For the most part his administration left things alone. But he wanted category management to focus more on software and data centers (shared services). Again it slowly faded into the sunset because agencies don’t want to trust their IT services to be provided by another agency because they are unique. The private sector just mandates and it’s done. Finally we are at President Biden. He says category management is good but wants agencies to “review and adjust category management stewardship practices to boast contracting opportunities for small disadvantaged businesses (SDB) and other socioeconomic small business.” Commendable goals but how will SDBs be able to support category management requirements on a governmentwide basis? Maybe instead call it something else like consolidating agency or program needs but not category management through set-asides? But that’s not category management as originally envisioned. Again a failed attempt to leverage private sector practices to the government.
  17. I heard a speaker say his golf score reflects his job performance. He was a senior executive at a company and said his biggest duty was training and developing his subordinates. When he was confident he did a proper job, he took time off for golf. The more he delegated and more he taught, the more time he had for golf.
  18. Travel is crazy. My neighbor came back from Ireland recently. She went with a travel club and her husband didn’t want to go. The day before leaving everyone had to do a Covid test. She tested positive. They wouldn’t redo it. She did a self test that was negative and then took a taxi to Dublin for a doctors test that was also negative. They let her board with that. She was worried being stuck there by herself. Check-in and security delays are here too. A few weeks ago my wife and I ran into them in Miami. The only way we made our flight was I had a knee brace on and had handicapped assistance via a wheelchair. The attendant went around lines. I overheard a flight crew in line complaining by the wait. The Captain said the wait was going to cause their flight to be late and TSA didn’t care. Apparently the TSA person scheduled to staff the gate for flight crews didn’t show up and TSA didn’t have a replacement!
  19. I agree. Someone can be very knowledgable in contract laws, regulations, and policies at the governmentwide level. But put them into a new agency that they aren’t familiar with and they have a lot to learn. As far as basic contracting, everyplace has their unique ways of doing things. Every agency has automated systems and newbies are faced with learning that. Then there is acquiring an understanding of budget and finance procedures. There are people to meet you need to work with like lawyers, policy analysts, and oversight staff. Mentors are important in learning how to navigate all this but are few. I’ve heard several times from multiple procurement senior managers it takes 6-12 months to bring a new person up to speed.
  20. I think what matters is 1102s have a solid knowledge of what they buy and a collaborative working relationship with program office personnel. The organizational structure of a contracting office just needs to allow for this.
  21. @ContractJockey you allow offerors to meet with your team to seek additional information about their unique proposed approach. They ask questions which helps them gain insight on implementing their solution. Because the Q&As potentially involve offerors proprietary information, the discussions aren’t shared with competitors if they involve disclosure of trade secrets or competitive sensitive information.
  22. It’s been used a lot especially with performance based acquisition. Look at the SOO format in (c) https://www.acquisition.gov/far/37.602. Under operating constraints, include a statement with your budgetary ceiling. It’s important to provide offerors as much background information as practical. One means of doing that is an electronic reading room or a pre proposal conference. You may also want to consider one-on-one due diligence or discovery sessions with offerors after release of the solicitation so they may ask pertinent questions about their planned approaches. Don’t get hung up on performance metrics and measurements in reading about PBA unless that’s important. But spend time on evaluation criteria. Make sure your team knows how to distinguish among responses.
  23. Our operating environment is risk adverse by nature. Successful innovation is recognized by a pat on the back. Errors are punished mostly by blatant and open criticism. So practitioners revert to tried and proven. There are no rewards for pushing the envelop. The old saying of “keep a low profile” still rings true. So “cut and pasting” of successful actions is common even when the copied examples aren’t really best for the current situation
  24. One place I worked at early in my career had a policy of using confirming contracts throughout that section of the office. Contract modifications listed changes in detail and used replacement pages where parts of the contract changed. To avoid renumbering pages, replacement pages used suffixes with page numbers when pages got added or “reserved” when pages were removed. All modifications were done as supplemental agreements too.
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