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Everything posted by Jenius

  1. All- I desperately need help in amassing some data that I believe exists out there, but prior to my time. I am working as director of policy for a contracting shop whose commanding officer recently decided that it made no sense to keep the contracting office functionally aligned but rather that it should be mission aligned, and proceeded with effecting just such a reorganization with very little notice to the contracting shop. Despite being pointed towards the Wynn "functional independence" memorandum of August 27, 2008 ( and similar language in DODI 5000.66), the commanding officer has pressed forward with this reorganization using the rationale that utilizing the CCO chain for "policy and evaluations" of 1102 personnel without being the direct supervisor or resource manager of the personnel constitutes "functional independence," and the intent of the Wynn memo is therefore met. My personal understanding of the intent of the Wynn memorandum is that placed and 1102/1105 under the control of a non-1102/1105 (with the exception of the CCO) for all hope of promotion, personnel recognition, or even whether a particular office or piece of equipment is merited for performance of the job, inserts a "separation of functions" risk into the process that has previously been determined to be an unacceptable level of risk (hence the issuance of the memorandum). I suspect that the thought process is that following the prescribed processes in the regulations, which are often counterintuitive to "normal" (or personal) procurements, is suddenly much less attractive to 1102s and/or 1105s when the person controlling their next promotion is the person requesting or requiring the product/service. I *believe* that there was a point in history (prior to my own entry into the acquisition workforce in 1996) where contracting personnel were not functionally aligned and that something caused this to be revised DoD-wide. The reason I believe this is that I have heard more than one person speaking of this "event" from two separate commands and even agencies. Are there any readers out there who can provide me with some history on this "event?" Alternative to that, I'm looking for stronger ammunition than the "Wynn" memorandum to fly up the chain. I have already notified the LCE and the HCA in question, but believe that there is a great deal of dithering presently going on due to various political issues. (i.e. nobody wants to tell a flag officer that this is not a good idea). To be honest, I really don't have a problem telling a flag officer that this is not a good idea (and that specific flag officer will actually be conducting a site visit to our organization in two days), but I feel like I need to present something more concrete than just my "hunches" or my own interpretations of the Wynn memo- particularly when others have clearly already interpreted the Wynn memorandum differently. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Okay- I'm feeling much better now (after a good night's sleep). I'm not really as pathetic as I sounded earlier- just maybe half as pathetic. In any case, I am appreciated by my immediate management and by the HCA as well- so it's just an awkward situation where the "middle" management, who happen to be the ones that control resources, are not as appreciative. I think it's because they just don't know very much about contracts and are under the impression that it's largely a paper pushing job of little to no complexity or value. In their defense, that's what it has turned into in this organization- which is exactly why we're on the cusp of losing our procurement authority. But just because a function isn't working properly doesn't mean the entire function is worthless, and "fixing" the function without knowing anything about it by a reorganization that splinters the organization into smaller segments and moves them under direct control of mid-level officers who also don't know anything about procurement isn't really a prudent move. (At least not in my opinion). I think I must have an addictive personality and what I'm addicted to is work and "fixing" things, so this organization is like a siren song for me- I keep thinking that if I can just get this policy in place, or give that training, or hire that person then things will magically get better. Of course things have gotten substantially better, and the work I have soaked into this organization has been working. But I think I need Steve (the interventionist from the show Intervention) to come stage an intervention on my behalf so I don't drive myself crazy trying to make a difference. Thanks for the words of encouragement- they are helpful. For the moment anyway I'm going to keep on plugging away (with perhaps less personal time dedicated to the effort) and hope that I can continue to keep things moving in the right direction.
  3. I don't know, maybe I'm blowing it all out of proportion. It's very hard to tell since I've spent the last eight months working 10-12 hour days, weekends and holidays (on my own time as well)- and am frankly ready to throw in the towel. This organization is on the cusp of losing it's procurement authority, and I've spent all of that time laying plans, attempting to train and implementing policies that should resolve the issues- and frankly, not only resolve them, but actually turn them clear around. So under the circumstances I'm likely to see any realignment that I didn't personally suggest as a complete travesty. I was purposefully being vague earlier since I didn't want to reveal the actual location since I thought the situation was really "wrong." But the reality is that it's probably a misnomer to state that the realignment is concurrent with a mission (seeing as how contracting is actually a specific mission in this organization (in and of itself)), but rather the realignment is regional. This particular procurement shop is spread across seven different countries, and does hardly anything but SAP work- and is, in fact, one that Vern is likely quite familiar with having visited it several times when he was well acquainted with a prior director of acquisition. And frankly, the organization appears to have been on a steady downhill slide since that person left- until it reached the pit of noncompliance that I appear to have walked into. The pressure is on the personnel in these locations to skip almost every appropriate procurement process and just "do it." In fact, that's why we're on the cusp of losing our procurement authority, because people have been just "doing it." Sole sourcing to whomever without any documentation, awarding contracts without any documentation, awarding contracts in some cases months after the services were performed, and I could go on and on. The reality is that this realignment has removed every single training resource I had at my hands (zero budget now), and it has removed all accountability for any sort of compliance to the CCO. As such, the people who I have so desperately been trying to get to do things properly now are directly accountable to regional coordinators who just want to "get it done"- in fact, since the realignment has taken place I have already encountered several instances of the new supervisors explicitly directing procurement personnel to disregard the rules that we have previously been written up for. And I strongly believe that in our next review we will lose our procurement authority- because the only thing that was working in holding people to the "rules" was a strong accountability chain. The reorg has essentially eliminated that. So essentially the last eight months of my life were just wasted. A prepaid vacation of $2K that I gave up and spent working procurement issues, my annual leave for the entire past year, all of it- gone. So I guess I'm prone to feeling overly sensitive about this particular situation- I was only doing it to try and "fix" the problems. I wasn't looking for promotions, or even accolades. But I wasn't looking to have the rug pulled out from under me entirely in the middle of a turnaround. We can't even get supplies (as in paper) approved for our own purchase because the regional director in this location's case is focused on his mission and really wants nothing to do with contracts. I realize that one of my many weaknesses is failing to recognize the validity of other people's opinions when they differ from my own, and I've been working to remedy that. I can see that mission alignment of contracting personnel (in lieu of functional alignment) could be productive assuming that the mission personnel were relatively sophisticated in procurement processes and didn't actively encourage contracting personnel to disregard the rules or, maybe even worse, just ignore them and hope they'll go away. Another weakness is working too much and taking things far too seriously. It's funny because I specifically took this job in a concerted effort to work much less than I had been- and yet I find myself once again in a frenzy of work hoping that I can make a difference- however small it may be. When I left DAU I thought I had made a difference, but now I feel like so much of what I had worked for has been undone. Though I will personally take credit for two things which I believe will have a profound impact in the future- which is talking Don into coming to work at DAU and insisting that he be made the CON 090 course manager. Okay, I'm done whining now. I'm just feeling really discouraged over everything right now and had hoped for some wifcon- "hey, here's some citations where you can point out that this is wrong" support in lieu of the "hey, your CO is dead on with this reorg" replies. But I will adjust my expectations accordingly and figure out my next move. (Which may well be out of the government... ugh.) Thanks for the help and opinions. And in case you're wondering I'm also well aware that another weakness of mine is too much verbosity as well as trickling out additional information when I don't get the opinion I like to hear. I think all three times I've posted a question on here Vern has blasted me for doing that, so I apologize for that- and please feel free to blast me a fourth time for the same mistake.
  4. OK- You've inspired me to get active on wifcon again. (Well "active" is debatable...) But I established an account. And I thought I might consider you a "friend."

  5. Don Acquisition- I thought I might get more active on wifcon again. I love your Avatar (and the photo is pretty good too).

  6. OK "Incentivize me" (though I would have liked something more clever- "Salwardfee" maybe?)... I'm going to have to agree with Vern on this. As we had previously discussed- whether or not there was actual damage done by the means of transmission appears to be a moot point. The board was focusing on the fact that an order that was issued outside of the terms of the contract becomes an "option"- which brings the strict compliance aspect of option exercises into play. So even though it appears to be a technicality the board is recognizing the unique power that the government holds over a contractor in cases of both option exercises and task/delivery order issuances. Since the board was focusing on the issuance of the order as the legal equivalent of an option the administrative change solution isn't really a solution- since (I don't believe) the government would ever attempt a unilateral change to any of the option clauses changing the terms for issuance of an option. Since an option is a "unilateral" right, changing the original terms and conditions under which they can be exercised "unilaterally" would definitely be construed as affecting a "substantive right" of at least one party. If the board allowed a unilateral change to a unilateral right in one instance then the government would end up trying to cite every possible reason to allow it in other instances. Or alternatively if the board allowed the government to blatantly disregard complying with the contract that it wrote that would be a terrible precedent to set. I agree that not issuing by paper v. e-mail seems like a triviality on the surface but given the government's conduct in this case I think the ruling by the board is rational and sound. I would like to see the Navy appeal it though- to see all the alternative arguments raised. All-in-all a pretty interesting foray into wifcon world for your first contribution though.