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Everything posted by policyguy

  1. I believe the Federal acquisition system is complex. I have read and heard for many years that the Federal Government should run like a business but I think this is incorrect. I believe reformers should look not at business but other Governments. What do other Governments, for instance countries in the European Union, and their acquisition system, do or not do, that could be used to improve the US Federal acquisition system?
  2. Here is a GAO decision that you may want to research: GAO Decision B-318046, Library of Congress—Obligation of Guaranteed Minimums for Indefinite-Delivery, Indefinite-Quantity Contracts under the FEDLINK Program, July 7, 2009, https://www.gao.gov/assets/b-318046.pdf
  3. From the article it does not appear he has much of a background in Federal Procurement. If the past is prologue with recent OFPP Administrators I don't think he will be in the position very long.
  4. I noticed in the decision reference to several different dictionaries such as Oxford English Dictionary, Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, Random House Dictionary of the English Language, etc. I would take from this that when considering the use of a word you may need to research several different dictionaries.
  5. You may want to check NCMA and or Bloomberg Government as a source. I found a report by NCMA and Bloomberg Government on 2013 Government Contracting that contained data on 1102 work force "Total Number of 1102s, 1998–2013" and "Average Number of Contract Dollars Obligated Per 1102" and they may have better data in a more recent report. Here's the link for reference: https://www.govexec.com/media/gbc/docs/pdfs_edit/061914cc3.pdf
  6. I would check within your Department/Agency for new supervisor training. When I became a supervisor for the first time I found I had the technical knowledge and experience but very little when it came to being a supervisor. Leadership is nice but if you have a subordinate that needs to be placed on a Performance Improvement Plan do you, as the supervisor, know what that entails and how to do it? For reference below is a link from OPM on Supervisory Leadership Development: https://www.opm.gov/wiki/training/Supervisory-Leadership-Development/Print.aspx In light of the Pandemic there are new HR polices in place with more coming in areas like: Excused Leave for Dependent Care/Caregiving; additional leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) During the COVID-19 Pandemic; a new Paid Parental Leave Program; policies concerning teleworking, etc. Much of these polices fall on the supervisor to know, implement, approve/disapprove for subordinates, etc. In sum try and get as much training about this part of the job e.g. being a supervisor as you can. Good luck!
  7. Department of Commerce website has information on DPAS that may be useful to you: https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/other-areas/strategic-industries-and-economic-security-sies/defense-priorities-a-allocations-system-program-dpas
  8. The DOD office that you can contact for DPAS assistance is the Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Industrial Policy. They are delegated authority from the Dept. of Commerce (DOC) that administers the Defense Production Act and related Executive Orders. The DOC website has a briefing package for Industry. The link is as follows: https://www.bis.doc.gov/index.php/other-areas/strategic-industries-and-economic-security-sies/defense-priorities-a-allocations-system-program-dpas From the slide deck: "In the event of a problem a person should immediately contact the contract administration officer for guidance or assistance"
  9. See FAR Subpart 33.1 Protests for information on protest to the Agency, to GAO, and to US Court of Federal Claims. Per GAO: "In general, a protest challenging the terms of a solicitation must be filed before the time for receipt of initial proposals. A protest challenging the award of a contract must be filed within 10 days of when a protester knows or should know of the basis of the protest (a special case applies where, under certain circumstances, the protester receives a required debriefing). Please be aware that the regulations regarding the timely filing of protests depend on the circumstances of each case and are strictly enforced. For more information, see our Bid Protest Regulations (4 C.F.R. § 21.2) and Bid Protests at GAO: a Descriptive Guide." https://www.gao.gov/legal/bid-protests/faqs
  10. Have you looked at Defense Acquisition University "Ask a Professor" website? If not you may find it helpful. Here's the link: https://www.dau.edu/aap/Pages/home.aspx Another resource you may want to check is the National Contract Management Association. Here's the link: https://www.ncmahq.org/
  11. I would suggest you consider submitting an REA. If that is denied than you can pursue a claim. Here's an interesting read that is on REA vs. Claim: REA or Claim (2).doc
  12. In addition to the eCFR I would also suggest you use the General Services Administration web site Acquisition.gov https://www.acquisition.gov/ This site has the FAR and links to Department/Agency FAR supplements. In addition you can sign up for email alerts when proposed/final rules for FAR changes are issued.
  13. If you are a Government subcontractor your company is required to have a written code of business ethics and conduct and should have information on how to disclose violations - see FAR Subpart 3.10 - Contractor Code of Business Ethics and Conduct. I would refer to this code and follow what it says for reporting your issue.
  14. IAW FAR 15.506 (d)(2) a debriefing shall include the overall evaluated cost or price (including unit prices) and technical rating, if applicable, of the successful offeror and the debriefed offeror, and past performance information on the debriefed offeror.
  15. An agency may modify a contract without running afoul of the Competition in Contracting Act, so long as the the modification is deemed “in scope.” An “out of scope” modification, on the other hand, is improper–and may be protested at GAO. GAO states that the Competition in Contracting Act ordinarily requires “the use of competitive procedures” to award government work. However, “[o]nce a contract is awarded…[it] will generally not review modifications to the contract because such matters are related to contract administration and are beyond the scope of [its] bid protest function.” While a modification that changes the contract’s scope of work is an exception to this rule, such a modification is only objectionable where there is a “material difference” between the modified contract and the original contract. A material difference exists when “a contract is so substantially changed by the modification that the original and modified contracts are essentially and materially different.” A material difference typically arises when an agency enlarges a contract’s scope of work, the relaxation of contract requirements post-award can also be a material difference. In assessing whether there is a material difference, GAO will look to: “[T]he extent of any changes in the type of work, performance period, and costs between the modification and the original contract, as well as whether the original solicitation adequately advised offerors of the potential for the change or whether the change was the type that reasonably could have been anticipated, and whether the modification materially changed the field of competition for the requirement.” One GAO decision that you can read more about this is Zodiac of North America, Inc., B-414260 (Mar. 28, 2017). You should probably check with your Legal Office for assistance on whether a contract modification or a new contract action is the way forward.
  16. Many years ago Vern Edwards provided tips for contractors. I have found this advice valuable throughout my career and they may be valuable to the OP so I provide them as follows: "...Here are 14 tips for the Truly Clueless Would-Be Government Contractors who think that winning a government contract is the yellow brick road to riches: 1. If you are thinking of competing for a government contract, hire good professional help to negotiate and manage the contract, and listen to them. 2. Your technical and marketing employees are the ones who are going to get you into trouble on a government contract. Keep them on a leash. 3. Buy first-rate training for all of the people who will be involved with government contracts. If you will not invest in training you have no business doing business with the government. 4. Don’t compete for a government contract if you are not sure that you can do the job to the government’s satisfaction. Make sure that you know what it will take to satisfy the government before you submit a bid or proposal. 5. Don’t assume that the government’s representatives know what they’re talking about when they explain rules, specifications, and the contract clauses. In my experience, most of them don’t. 6. READ THE SOLICITATION. THE WHOLE THING. 7. If you win the contract, take a firm, formal, arm’s-length, businesslike approach to all aspects of the deal. Comply strictly with all contract terms and insist that the government do the same. Know all of your contractual deadlines and meet them. Know all of the government’s contractual deadlines and notify them in writing the moment that they are late. The very moment. Neither ask for nor grant exceptions except through formal processes, such as engineering change proposals, formal waivers, and change orders. Know your obligations and fulfill them. Know your rights and insist upon them. When you truly believe that the government owes you something, ask for it in writing. If you don't get favorable action within a reasonable period of time, submit a claim in accordance with the contract Disputes clause and FAR Subpart 31.2. If the contracting officer does not make a decision within the deadlines set by the Disputes clause, hire an attorney and appeal to a board of contract appeals or to the Court of Federal Claims, unless you are willing to let the government keep what you think is yours. 8. Never yield to threats from a contracting officer or a contracting officer's representative. If you do, things will only get worse. When you insist upon your rights and the contracting officer’s representative says: That cuts both ways, just say: Yes, and we can live with that. 9. Don’t rely on personal relationships with government personnel. Good personal relations are important and desirable; but, in the end, it’s a dog-eat-dog world. Never consider a government representative to be your “friend.” Remember that government personnel are not business persons. They are government officials with limited authority, limited knowledge, a heavy workload, and lots of people looking over their shoulders. They will not (and should not) stick their necks out for you(emphasis added). If they do they are either stupid or dishonest and cannot be trusted. Some will make an extra effort for you, which is okay, but many will not. Assume from day one that you are on your own. 10. Keep good records. Document every telephone call and meeting. EACH AND EVERY ONE. Write down who, what, when, where, why, and how, and make your people do it as well. Check to see that they do. File every email and letter. EACH AND EVERY ONE. He or she who does not document or who skimps on documentation is a fool. 11. Promptly follow up on oral understandings and agreements in writing. Send crucially important communications by certified mail, return receipt requested, including confirmation of emailed and oral understandings and agreements. 12. It's business, not personal. When speaking with and corresponding with government personnel, always be calm and polite, no matter how badly they have behaved or how angry about it you are, but always be determined and firm. 13. Remember the 999/1,000 rule: You can do things wrongly 999 times out of 1,000 and nothing bad will happen. It’s the 1,000th time that will do you in. 14. Make sure that you have the telephone number, email address, and street address of a good government contracts attorney and a good government contracts accountant. If you can't afford that kind of help, stay away from government contracts(emphasis added). Now, I know that many readers will consider some of the above to be impractical. Business people are risk takers, and many will consider what I suggest to be too formal and stern. In their experience, business doesn’t work well when there is too much formality and insistence upon strict contractual compliance. So be it. I bow and yield to your superior wisdom. I have to admit that as a government contractor I have not always followed all of my own advice. So if you don't follow my advice and things go badly for you, the good Vern will not say I told you so, but the bad Vern will laugh."
  17. To determine if a clause or provision should be full text or incorporated by reference see the policy at FAR 52.102 Incorporating provisions and clauses. To determine if a clause or provision should be in a solicitation or contract you need to review the prescription for each clause or provision to determine whether or not it should be included. I have not worked by the adage that a clause is self deleting. If a clause in a contract does not apply then it should have not been included in the first place or it should be removed by contract modification. I hope this helps.
  18. When I first started out I was given an Individual Development Plan (IDP) that I was to follow for the first two years. It listed the formal training (class room and online) and on the job training I was to achieve over those first two years. The on the job training started with small purchases, small dollar single source negotiated actions thru closeout actions. Here's a link for further research on IDP: https://www.opm.gov/WIKI/training/Individual-Development-Plans.ashx If your organization does not use or have an IDP then I would suggest that when you meet with your supervisor you develop an IDP or something similar.
  19. You may be able to rent a backhoe from GSA and use the GPC to make the payment. Here's the GSA Short Term Rentals (STR) website for further research: https://www.gsa.gov/buying-selling/products-services/transportation-logistics-services/vehicle-leasing/fleet-solutions/short-term-rentals-str
  20. As far as I am aware all contracts to which the Federal Government is a party must be governed by Federal law under the Supremacy Clause, Article VI, Clause 2, of the United States Constitution and principles of sovereign immunity.
  21. Obligate the total estimated costs including fixed fee (see DoD Financial Management Regulation 7000.14-R, Volume 3, Chapter 8, paragraph 080403).
  22. If you haven't already see FAR Subpart 42.9-Bankruptcy and clause 52.242-13 for policy. Also, as it states in the FAR and if you haven't already, you need to contact your legal office right away.
  23. FAR 32.702 - "32.702 Policy. No officer or employee of the Government may create or authorize an obligation in excess of the funds available, or in advance of appropriations (Anti-Deficiency Act, 31 U.S.C. 1341), unless otherwise authorized by law. Before executing any contract, the contracting officer shall— (a) Obtain written assurance from responsible fiscal authority that adequate funds are available or (b) Expressly condition the contract upon availability of funds in accordance with 32.703-2."
  24. There is a concern within DOD about the shrinking of the industrial base. Here's an example of one of those articles for reference: "American exodus? 17,000 US defense suppliers may have left the defense sector" https://www.defensenews.com/breaking-news/2017/12/14/american-exodus-17000-us-defense-suppliers-may-have-left-the-defense-sector/
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