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Everything posted by leo1102

  1. "Otherwise one could issue a task order with a base period of one year and 40 one year options. : )" This statement may not be accurate across the Federal acquisition landscape. In DOD, knowledge based service aquisitions can not exceed 3 years and non-knowledge based service or supply (material) acquisitions can not exceed 5 years (base and options included). This applies to orders under the GSA FSS schedule, open-market and sole source requirements. Please check with your agency guidelines.
  2. Is the contract FFP or Cost-Reimbursement? Work with your Contractor and do a bi-lateral modification to the contract. If the services required to be performed under the contract require the contracted employee to obtain certain training or maintain certain credentials, then that is the responsibility of the Contractor. Since this training was unanticipated at the start of this contract and since it is within-scope, then modify the PWS, and negotiate a price instructing the Contractor not to exceed the JTR reimbursement rates. The Contractor is well within his right to negotiate G&A and profit on costs incurred. That is why the Government should want to negotiate the cost.
  3. As a GPC Card Holder I have a follow-up question: Is each toll charge billed separately or is it all billed monthly together on the same invoice? If the sum of all tolls are billed on a single invoice and if that invoice is recurring on a monthly basis, then this is a recurring procurement and should not be paid using a GPC. The issue is the recurring nature of the charges, not the amount. You should look into entering into a BPA with the toll company.
  4. A warranted contracting officer obligates funding - even if that funding is being obligated between agencies. See OMB Guidance dated June 2008 regardig Interagency Acquisitions. If you are in the DoD, please see the DoD Financial Management Regulation 7000.14R, 11a_03 and DoD Instruction 4000-19 dated 9 Aug 95. Also, see FAR Part 17.504(d)(3) - statutory authority for contractual actions - a contracting officer has statutory authority up to their warrant amount. If you are interested more in IAs, send me an e-mail separately and I can send you what I have.
  5. The contractor is required to invoice IAW the contract CLINS and instructions in the Contract. Unless the contract specifically states that the Contractor is required to provide supporting documentation for each submitted invoice, he/she is not required to do so. Do you trust the COR to work within his appointment instructions? From my experience - KOs to not get involved with accepting or rejecting invoices - that is the job of the receiving authority or COR. If you have no proof of fraud, why are thinking there may be some?
  6. SBs are not required to submit a SB Subcontracting plan. See 52.219-9(a).
  7. Under a FFP contract, the contractor is owed all monies obligated under that contract. However, there are instances where the contractor invoices for less and the money can be deobligated in a bi-lateral modification. My suggestion is if the contractor has submitted his final invoice, and once that invoice is paid, issue a bilateral modification to deobligate remaining funds prior to closeout.
  8. You can take graduate degree courses from American Graduate University or Websters or other DAU affiliated schools and earn CLPs
  9. Assuming the inside safety lock is engaged - First - Don't respond to the knocking. Second - Call the front desk and get security. Third - Don't open the door. Fourth - Don't answer the phone. They teach us this in our antiterrorism training on an annual basis.
  10. Trenches aside, I like doing the day to day work. I am a retired US Army SFC - that may explain why I enjoy actually working for a living (a joke people!!). I have moved around - perhaps not as much as some but I have worked at several different offices learning much from each. Funny you mentioned Patton and 3d Army - I was in 3d Army 1990 - 1993 (yep - Desert Shield/Desert Storm). BTW - I'm not a "he". While I have had to document my contract files on several occasions when I did not agree with a KO, I will not do so here. The entire back and forth is in e-mail traffic. After yesterday's WIFCON discussion, I went back to my "chain" and asked that he reconsider his decision not to use the provisions, even though they are now plainly in the DFARS. He, once again, and this time with attitude, told me to wait until "policy" came down with implementation instructions. Other people were on that e-mail and they have read his instruction. Are KOs so afraid to act on their own knowledge that they must wait until someone above them tells them what to do? I think Don is correct - I should not have asked and just started using the provisions.
  11. Vern and Don - Absolutely correct in both of your responses. Frustration is often the product of the slow and encumbered process when various levels of review and application weigh in. What get's me riled up is that if, as of 29 Jun 12, we are not incorporating those provisions and procedures into our solicitations as applicable, we are in violation of the DFAR, and will be so assessed when we are inspected. I don't think I will ever be in charge that high up the acquisition chain - nor do think I want to be. I like being in the trenches doing the work, dealing with people and issues.
  12. I pulled the final rule from the Federal Register on 29 Jun 12 and furnished it to my supervisory contracting officers asking if we should implement it by adding the provisions IAW the prescriptions. I was told emphatically that until our HQ told us what to do, that we were not to take any action prescribed in the final rule. I find this amazing. The final rule is a final rule - the DFARS has been updated. We are a DoD agency. Now we have to wait until our HQ tells us to do what the DFAR update already tells us to do and until then, we are operating without the directions prescribed by the new provisions.
  13. I pulled the final rule from the Federal Register on 29 Jun 12 and furnished it to my supervisory contracting officers asking if we should implement it by adding the provisions IAW the prescriptions. I was told emphatically that until our HQ told us what to do, that we were not to take any action prescribed in the final rule. I find this amazing. The final rule is a final rule - the DFARS has been updated. We are a DoD agency. Now we have to wait until our HQ tells us to do what the DFAR update already tells us to do and until then, we are operating without the directions prescribed by the new provisions.
  14. Are you referring to FAR Clause 52.222-41 or 42 or 43? Try checking the wording of these clauses and their perscriptions in FAR Part 22.1006? Then make a determination whether to flow them down or not. I would flow them down whether mandatory or not. David-Bacon Wage Rates cover construction, not SCA.
  15. Thank you all for your input. Yes - we at USACE have to pay DCAA for audits. That is one of the reasons we were looking at contracting it out. The contractor has filed numerous claims against the contract - that is why we are requesting an audit. I agree - no clause is required. I love this forum - so much info to consider.
  16. Thanks to all. We are not looking to audit a proposal - we are looking for an audit on a FFP construction contract.
  17. Have you contacted your directorate of information management or your contracting office or your installation management office? The utility companies may have a monopoly on your installation (like a single phone, cable, electricity, or water provider).
  18. Does "No separate contract audit organization independent of DCAA shall be established in the Department of Defense" mean that we can not contract with a commercial entity in support of USACE DoD. We are not creating an audit organization "in the DoD". We are considering contracting with a commercial entity to provide contract audit services. I found the same info you all did - I find it ambiguous at best. I am unable to locate a clear answer to whether we can contract out audit services or not. Unless, of course, I am not reading the material as it is meant to be read.
  19. Most contractors have their Reps and Certs in ORCA.
  20. We are not negotiating a new contract - we already have the FFP construction contract. I was wondering if we require a waiver from DCAA to get an outside agency to do an audit.
  21. BLUF: Can we contract with a private company to perform an audit on a FFP construction contract greater than $10M? We (USACE - DOD) have a FFP construction contract greater than $10M on which we want an audit performed. We requested an audit from DCAA on 11 Jun 2010. We received a Risk Assessment working paper B on 31 May 2011. We received nothing else. The DCAA website states that they "shall perform all necessary contract audits for the DOD". Do we need a waiver to contract out the audit and, if so, what is the process for requesting one? Thanks.
  22. Nathan - Welcome to the fold. A wise man (smile) once put these to items on WIFCON and they are posted at my desk as a constant reminder - not sure they are still on here so I will post them again with much respect for the author: Here are some of the traits that I think makes for an "effective" KO, which is a minimal standard. (I have higher standards for expert, excellent, superb, brilliant, etc.) Vernon Edwards, 29 Jan 11 1. Pride in competence, but not in title or position. 2. Deep knowledge of the rules. That means mastery of the regulations that govern the specific work that you do. For example, if you conduct source selections, then you should know FAR Part 15 and your agency supplement and any internal policy and guidance like the back of your hand. It also means that you have an educated layman's familiarity with and understanding of the relevant case law. A KO with deep knowledge does not run to the legal office to ask what the rules are. 3. Deep background knowledge. That means, for example, that if you conduct source selections you have studied at least one good text about organizational decision-making; if you price non-commercial contracts you are familiar with cost accounting, the cost accounting standards, the contract cost principles, and profit policy; if you buy commercial items you are familiar with commercial pricing practices and strategies. When I say "familiar with," I mean that as a layman you could engage in conversation with a professional and not make a fool of yourself. 4. Procedural mastery and commitment to procedural efficiency. That means that you know how to do things properly and that you consistently do so successfully and with the least possible expenditure of human and capital resources. You don't spend resources unnecessarily just to avoid criticism. 5. The ability to reason logically and to reach conclusions that are both valid and true, to evaluate the conclusions of others, to write well, and to speak to a group confidently, clearly, and persuasively. 6. The exercise of sound judgment when advising and representing clients. ("Client" is the proper word. True professionals don't say "customers" and don't treat the people they support like customers. They treat them like clients. That means that you are committed to the best possible outcome for them, but that you do not treat them like they are always right.) 7. The exercise of professional caution when offering professional advice and opinions to peers. Honesty, frankness, and courage when dealing with superiors. 8. A commitment to do good work and to reject shoddy work from subordinates. The Ideal Contract Specialist Posted by Vern Edwards, Today, 12:39 PM Sometimes, when I’m teaching a class, and after I’ve had a couple of days with the students and know them a little, I play a game with myself. I pretend that I’ve been asked to assemble a small, elite contracting office to do demanding work under pressure. I then look over the students and ask myself which of them I would choose. Here, in no particular order of importance, is an incomplete list of the qualities, skills, and knowledge that my ideal contract specialist candidate would possess. Personal Qualities. It may be that people are born with these qualities to some extent, but I think that you can develop them in yourself if you work at it. An energetic and inquiring mind. I want someone who is never content to simply follow instructions, but wants to know the why of everything and won’t accept “Because I said so,” or “Because that’s the best (usual, standard, generally accepted) way to do it.” I want someone who is not content to be told, but who wants to figure things out and to understand. I want someone who would not ask me (or a co-worker) what a word means or what the rule is, but who would at least try to look it up first. Feistiness. The ideal candidate will stand up for what he or she believes, but knows the difference between standing up and arguing for the sake of arguing or out of bullheadedness. I want someone who is willing to fight, but who knows when the fight is over and will shake hands, win or lose. No grudges, please. Please don't apply if, when you lose an argument with the boss, you complain to others about how unreasonable the boss is. Independence. The ideal candidate does not have to be handheld through every step in a process. On the first night of the Invasion of Normandy in WWII, American paratroopers knew that they would land behind enemy lines in the dark and might find themselves alone, lost, and surrounded. But they knew that they were expected to seek the objective anyway, or find Germans to fight, not wait until someone showed up to tell them where to go and what to do. I don’t want someone who shows up at the boss’s door every five minutes to ask what to do next. Diligence. I want a person who does what needs to be done when it needs to be done without having to be reminded or prodded, and who persists until its done and done right. Discretion. Discretion is more than “common sense.” Discretion includes tact, good judgment, caution, modesty, and self-restraint. It includes knowing when to act without instructions and when to seek instructions before acting, and knowing when to talk and about what, and when to keep quiet. Honesty. The ideal candidate knows that it's just as important to be honest with oneself as it is to be honest with others. Integrity. The ideal candidate sticks to principles, even at personal expense, but isn't a blockhead about it. I want someone who insists on doing the right thing, but not someone who dials the IG hotline when anyone disagrees with his or her notion of what the right thing is. A person with real integrity knows the difference between an objectively ironclad principle (all bribes are wrong) and a subjectively debatable principle (the proper standard for unusual and compelling urgency). Self-confidence and mental toughness. This is the sine qua non of a contract negotiator. I want someone who not only doesn’t get upset when put on the spot, but who actually gets a kick out of it⎯someone who is not only willing to take the heat, but who even enjoys it. There’s no crying in contracting. Humor. The ideal candidate laughs at herself as easily or more easily than she laughs at others. I want someone who can see the humor in a desperate situation, but not someone who makes a joke out of everything. Sly, dry wit is welcome, if used with restraint, but not ostentatiously dry wit, which is tiresome. Funny and sarcastic are not the same thing. The trick is to make the person at whom you are laughing laugh at himself. Acquired Skills. All of the following are things that a person can learn to do. For interns I have provided some references to books about some of the skills. The ability to reason logically. We all do that more or less naturally, but the ideal candidate is self-conscious about it and strives to be rational, to develop valid arguments, and to evaluate arguments based on logical principles. See Informal Logic: A Pragmatic Approach, 2d ed., by Douglas Walton (Cambridge, 2008) and Logic and Its Limits, 2d ed., by Patrick Shaw (Oxford University Press, 1997). The ability to read analytically. Reading, interpreting, and applying the Federal Acquisition Regulation is not as easy as most people seem to think it is, yet a contract specialist must be able to do it and do it well. The level of of FAR reading difficulty falls somewhere between a college political science textbook, which almost everyone can understand, and Hegel’s The Phenomenology of Spirit, which hardly anyone can understand (no matter what they claim). My favorite difficult FAR passage: the cost principle at FAR 31.205-6, Compensation for Personal Services. If you can read that and pass a test about what it says and means, then you’re good. If you can read it, pass the test, and suggest other interpretations, then you’re my kind of contract specialist. The ability to write well. To test for this skill I’d give a candidate a problem in equitable price adjustment and tell him to determine the proper amount according to the facts and established case law. I’d then give the candidate one hour to type a one-page explanation of the basis for his determination. I’d evaluate the explanation for grammar and punctuation, and for the ability to write a coherent explanation of the answer given. Note: My model for good writing is George Orwell. See his essays Books v. Cigarettes (1946), The Complete Works of George Orwell, and Politics and the English Language (1946), The Complete Works of George Orwell, which are polemical, and The Moon Under Water (1946), Essays and Journalism which is a fine piece of imaginative descriptive literature. A fun piece is Some Thoughts on the Common Toad (1946), The Complete Works of George Orwell. If you can learn to write even half as clearly as Orwell you need never be unemployed. The ability is in very short supply. The ability to speak extemporaneously. A candidate must be able to stand up in front of strangers and people who are opposed to his or her point of view and speak clearly, coherently, confidently, and persuasively about something that he or she is supposed to know. The ability to listen actively. See Wikipedia. Listening actively saves a lot of time and may prevent needless disputes and litigation. The ability to negotiate. The ideal candidate can make a deal with a contractor or with other agency personnel. Anyone who has the qualities and skills listed above can learn to negotiate⎯to bargain, to haggle, to engage in a rational (or intentionally irrational) exchange of views in order to make a deal. Some people are better at it than others. There are hundreds of books about negotiating. Take your pick. They all have something useful to say. A reasonable facility with mathematics. Some contracting problems entail more than simple arithmetic. You might need simple statistics, but you probably won’t need trigonometry or calculus. Wouldn’t hurt, though. Library of Math The ability to design efficient and effective contracting processes. Some would say “the ability to innovate.” To me, it’s nothing more than the ability figure out how get things done without wasting time and resources. The ideal candidate, when confronted with an unreasonable request, says: Give me some time. I'll figure something out. Knowledge. A candidate must possess the level of basic knowledge that is necessary to work at the pay grade that he or she wants. I don’t believe in paying the salary while the person learns the basics of the job. (But time must be provided to learn the particulars.) A candidate must know the rules that govern the job that he or she has been hired to do. The rules include the FAR and other official “shall,” “shall not,” “may,” “may not,” “should,” and “should not” statements. When I say “know the rules,” I mean know what the rules say and what they mean, which, in some cases, requires familiarity with case law. The candidate must know other things as well, such as: How our government is organized and how it works, for example: (a) how laws are enacted and published, ( how regulations and policies are promulgated and published, (c ) how public and private controversies are settled or adjudicated, and (d) how funds are appropriated, managed, obligated, and expended. How government funds are appropriated, managed, and properly obligated. See Principles of Federal Appropriations Law, Government Accountability Office (GAO), GAO Redbook How the industries and firms that sell what is to be bought produce, price, and distribute their products and services. How the markets in which the buying is done are structured, regulated, and behave. So much for my game. Contract specialists who possess all of those qualities, abilities, and knowledge are hard to come by. In fact, I don't always qualify. If you're a boss and you find such persons, someone will try to take them away from you, so you had better offer interesting and challenging work, interesting coworkers, and a decent place to work. Of course, if you think that contracting is about sitting in a small cubicle, staring at a monitor, and klacking away at a keyboard, just ignore me.
  23. I agree with everything said so far. I would like to add that there is a BIG difference contracting at military installation levels, at higher HQ levels, at civilian agencies, etc. There is a difference contracting for supplies or services or construction or R&D or A&E. There is a difference contracting using 1 year funds, 5 year funds and non-expiring funds. There is a difference between working pre-award and post-award administration. Talk to people. Get a feel for the type of contracting at each agency at each level and determine your interest. Remember - 1102 is a very mobile field at this time - employment opportunities are all over the globe. You can start in one agency, move to another, and keep on growing until you find your nitch. Some find multiple areas of contracting that they enjoy. I love my career and the work I do. It took me 6 years and 3 offices to find where I want to stay. USAJobs has the listing for 1102 jobs open to both the public. Good luck.
  24. MATOC is often used for services. We have at least 6 MATOCs here for services ranging from materials testing services to cultural resources services to repair services to meeting facilitation services. We also have several for construction and dredging. MATOCs for services is common.
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