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Hi All, I'm a brand new contract specialist, and frankly I'm having second thoughts about this career choice. I'm working in a command that's very much a "don't ask questions" kind of place. For example, I was given permission to look at contracts to learn how they are structured, but was told in no uncertain terms right off the bat to not even try to look at one contract in particular, "or else," supposedly because my seeing the contract wold compromise the privacy of some on-site contractors. The contract is to procure their support services. This is not a classified or top-secret environment at all. We are buying very straightforward commercial, off-the-shelf supplies and services. Another thing is my CO does not like to publicize anything, and for actions over the SAT will go so far as to lie to reviewers in hopes of getting away with it. That looks really bad to me. I totally believe in being transparent. People in this organization were busted a few years ago for corruption. I would think my command should be bending over backwards to be transparent and demonstrate that they aren't corrupt. I'm just very uncomfortable with the vibe that I'm working in. They want me to be warranted sooner than later, but I feel like if I'm going to be personally and legally responsible, I should have way more trust and faith in my command than I do. Am I overreacting? Is it like this everywhere?
1. Must business development people (who have contingent fee arrangements supplementing their salary) be hired as W-2 employees? 2. Can their services be provided as 1099 independent contractors, or would their contingent fee arrangement violate statutes and regulations against such? 3. For violations of the prohibition on contingent fees: Is the dividing line whether the business development person is a "bona fide employee" versus an independent contractor of the federal contractor firm? Why should that matter? Background: FAR Subpart 3.4 restricts certain contingent fee arrangements for soliciting or obtaining federal contracts. The statutes and regulations "[p]ermit...contingent fee arrangements between contractors and bona fide employees or bona fide agencies" (FAR 3.402(b)). "Bona fide employee" is defined as "a person, employed by a contractor and subject to the contractor’s supervision and control as to time, place, and manner of performance, who neither exerts nor proposes to exert improper influence to solicit or obtain Government contracts nor holds out as being able to obtain any Government contract or contracts through improper influence" (FAR 3.401). The prescription clause for FAR 52.203-5 is FAR 3.404. The clause itself states, in part: "The Contractor warrants that no person or agency has been employed or retained to solicit or obtain this contract upon an agreement or understanding for a contingent fee, except a bona fide employee or agency." PepeTheFrog knows a common practice in government contracts is to create a contingent fee arrangement with business development people. Business development people are expected to find, secure, maintain, and solidify business and contractual relationships with federal clients. Some call them "rainmakers." These contingent fee arrangements for employees could be "you get this small salary $X and 1% of any new contracts under $X million, and 2% of any new contracts above $X million." These contingent fee arrangements for independent contractors could be similar, except instead of a salary, you get a small payment or no payment at all (other than the contingent fee).
As a long-time Government contractor for large and small businesses, my experience with Government contracting officers has been mostly positive. I have had a situation for the last couple of years however where I have encountered a very abusive contracting specialist that is relatively new to the government contracting arena. I don’t blame her completely as her contracting officer has left her mostly unsupervised and, when he did provide any guidance, it was usually wrong. That said, she has been continually NOT acting in good faith (although my lawyer, while agreeing, always stops short of actually using those words), driving small businesses nearly out of business, and costing the government a significant amount of money. I have several documented examples of her bad-faith and am disappointed that she (and her CO boss) are ruining an otherwise noble profession tasked with assuring the public trust. This young contract specialist is power-hungry, ambitious, and attempting to quickly advance her career. I have no doubt that she is, or soon will be, seeking promotion to a Contracting Officer. All that said, my questions are: 1. Where can I find out if/when this person is applying for a warrant to be entrusted as a contracting officer? 2. Is there some platform where I can provide input (including documented evidence) to the evaluating officials demonstrating that this individual has not acted in the Government’s best interest and cannot be considered as a trustworthy steward of the taxpayer dollars? I apologize that there is such a negative spin to this. I have provided references for individuals seeking licensure and/or certifications in many disciplines/careers over the last several decades. I’m now to the point that I feel it is my DUTY to prevent an individual that has repeatedly demonstrated such moral turpitude and questionable ethics from gaining any credibility to be granted a position in defense of the public trust. How do I go about this?