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A somewhat lively discussion recently took place in the contracting office. Here is what happened: The agency was operating in a sole source environment with a contractor (as authorized by statute). The agency had a contract for commercial services that was terminating at the end of the month. The agency issued an RFP to the contractor for an additional six months of services. At month’s end, the contractor (and now the offeror) submitted its proposal to the agency. The offer contained proposed changes to the RFP's terms. Discussions were held with the offeror, and revised terms were agreed upon. However, there was no time for the offeror to submit a final proposal revision, and the Contracting Officer could not sign the original offer (due to the proposed changes in terms that were unacceptable to the government). The Contracting Officer then issued a unilateral purchase order to the offeror, in the amount of $450,000.00. This purchase order incorporated the previously agreed upon changes in terms. The Contracting Officer’s decision came under fire immediately, and he was told that he could not simply send out a unilateral purchase order; he had to send out an unsigned contract (forgive the oxymoron), and allow the offeror to sign first. The Contracting Officer countered, stating that regardless of the issuance of the prior sole source RFP and any discussions held with the offeror, he was not prohibited from issuing a unilateral purchase order. He acknowledged that the incumbent contractor was free to reject the purchase order (i.e. the government’s offer to buy future services), but reasserted that there was no prohibition on the issuance of the order. He further stated that performance by the contractor (at the start of the next month) would constitute acceptance, and that a bi-laterally signed SF1449 was desirable, but not required to form a contract. Was this Contracting Officer in the wrong?