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bigred

A&AS Trash Collection

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My company is currently performing under a DOD contract under which we provide Financial Management Services. The organization we are supporting maintains multiple Recycle/Shred bins throughout their facility for the disposal of sensitive information. Every week a truck shows up to pick up and dispose of the material in the shred bins. To accomplish this, personnel in the building must wheel these large/heavy bins down the hall to the loading docks where the content of the bins are emptied into the disposal truck. Our Government client has decided the burden of hauling the bins to the truck should be shared across the organization. As a result, they have created a schedule for who is responsible for hauling the bins each week. This schedule contains Government and Contractor personnel.

The hauling of trash is clearly not part of the scope of our contract to provide Financial Management Services as an A&AS contractor. I need to tactfully push back with my client on this requirement so that he won’t feel we are not “Team Players”.

Any advice on what Regulations I can hang my hat on so that my folks do not get into the garbage business? Does this tasking cross the line into the Personal Services arena?

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Here's another way to look at it...

The contractor is being given free office space and free electricity and free long distance telephones and free janitorial services and free copiers and free internet access. The contractor is using the building's recycle/shred bins. The building manager thinks it is reasonable for all the building occupants to do their fair share.

Does the contractor go outside during the fire drill? Does the contractor come to the informal birthday party and the formal safety briefing? Does the contractor clean up after itself in the breakroom and the restroom? These are not specified in the contract, either, but the contractor does them as an exercise of good citizenship.

Not knowing much except what I have read above, my first thought is not to make a big deal about it but to carry one's own weight as a citizen and neighbor in the building. Wasn't there a thought about presenting oneself as being "team players"?

If the contractor doesn't want to be a team player, all it has to do is inform the contracting officer that it has been given a task that it feels is outside the scope of the contract and ask the contracting officer to validate it as a change order.

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I do not totally disagree with your assessment, and I know how I personally would handle it if I was the person on-site. However, accepting an invitation and attending an office birthday celebration is a little bit different than being directed by Government personnel to perform manual labor when you have been hired for your expertise in Financial Management.

I do appreciate your input.

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I agree with ji20874's conclusion - contact the CO and let them know you've been asked to do work outside of the scope of work and inquire if the CO is planning a modification to the contract.

But ji20874's commentary on office space, and birthday parties seems off base.

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The contractor is being given free office space and free electricity and free long distance telephones and free janitorial services and free copiers and free internet access. The contractor is using the building's recycle/shred bins. The building manager thinks it is reasonable for all the building occupants to do their fair share.

I'm sorry, but ji20874 is dead wrong and waaaay off base. The government is providing those things because if it didn't it would have to pay for them, plus overhead and profit. It's providing those things because it's convenient for the government and in the government's best interests to do so. The contractor is not getting anything for free.

If the government had wanted the contractor to help carry out recycle bins it should have put that in the contract. The contractor has no obligation to do it unless the government issues a change order, in which case it would have to pay for it. The building manager be damned. And anybody who thinks it's not a big deal must be one of Mr. Romney's 47 percent, because if you run a business and employ people you know that making them push "large/heavy" recycling bins has potential consequences.

Come on, you're supposed to be contracts people and think contractually. Snap out of it. The government is reneging on the deal.

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I would echo Mr. Edwards on this. I would also point out that from the Government's perspective there needs to be clear delineation of contractor responsibilities when the contractor is in a federal workplace. Being a "team player" or "us versus them" has nothing to do with it. Among both contractor and government personnel, there needs to be mutual respect for the contract.

I know it sounds mean-spirited, but a contractor's personnel are not the government's staff and they are not government employees; and cannot be treated as if they are.

ji20874 - Unless the government contract authorizes to attend comaraderie type events (and it does not), you create an unauthorized expenditure of an appropriation when you have your contractor's on-site employees invited to those office birthdays.

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I know it sounds mean-spirited, but a contractor's personnel are not the government's staff and they are not government employees; and cannot be treated as if they are.

It does not sound mean-spirited. it sounds professional.

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I'm the one who first said "all [the contractor] has to do is inform the contracting officer that it has been given a task that it feels is outside the scope of the contract and ask the contracting officer to validate it as a change order."

But the contractor needs to think about it before asking the question. How big a chore is it? What are the possible outcomes? The contracting officer might say no to a change order and the building manager might leave the the contractor off the duty roster (agreeable to the contractor's desires), but they might also require the contractor to start providing and servicing its own recycle bins, as the governing contract probably doesn't promise this. No contract is ever written tight enough to cover all these small details, so the parties have to work them out as best they can.

Can a building manager ask that the last one out turn off the lights? What if the last one out is a contractor employee? Or to ask the person who uses the last of the toilet paper to get another roll from the supply closet? I don't see much difference between turning off the lights and taking out the recycle bin. Here, I'm perhaps erroneously assuming it's not a big chore.

But again, I'm the one who first said "all [the contractor] has to do is inform the contracting officer that it has been given a task that it feels is outside the scope of the contract and ask the contracting officer to validate it as a change order." I'm all in favor of professionalism.

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"I don't see much difference between turning off the lights and taking out the recycle bin" - Really??? Come on.

ji20874 - I think you may be tired, and it would be best if you reconsidered your position in the morning.

You were the one who prefaced what the contractor could do with "If the contractor doesn't want to be a team player..."

Don't pretend you didn't start the dispute.

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There's no dispute about the facts. if the contractor doesn't want to take out the recycle bins, all it has to do is inform the contracting officer that is has been given a task that it feels is outside the scope of the contract and ask the contracting officer to validate it as a change order.

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That's right. However, you had to be called out about this:

The contractor is being given free office space and free electricity and free long distance telephones and free janitorial services and free copiers and free internet access. The contractor is using the building's recycle/shred bins. The building manager thinks it is reasonable for all the building occupants to do their fair share.

Does the contractor go outside during the fire drill? Does the contractor come to the informal birthday party and the formal safety briefing? Does the contractor clean up after itself in the breakroom and the restroom? These are not specified in the contract, either, but the contractor does them as an exercise of good citizenship.

That's not sound contractual reasoning from a pro like you, ji20874.

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I would recommend that even though everyone is busy it is a good idea to attend annual ethics training (even if you do not have to file an OGE 450) and if you work in industry see if your organization has something comparable to govenment ethics training. It is good to get a refresher on what one can and cannot do in the "blended workforce" office. Each year in ehtics training that I have attended this seems to be a point of emphasis concerning office parties, gift giving, and other scenarios though not the one discussed here. It's not only contract issues but ethics laws and regulations that one needs to keep abrest of.

I would say that having just completed my annual ethics training this was a most timely discussion topic!

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The problem to guard against is the development of a sense of non-contractual entitlement on the part of either party. What to the building manager is simple common sense and a practical solution, to the contractor is a potential employee relations or even collective bargaining issue.

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"if the contractor doesn't want to take out the recycle bins, all it has to do is inform the contracting officer that is has been given a task that it feels is outside the scope of the contract and ask the contracting officer to validate it as a change order."

Not to gang-up, but I don't believe that is right. Work outside of the scope cannot be added via a change order. This contract is for "Financial Management Services." The contractor doesn't want to take out the recycle bins, whether or not the government agrees to pay them a fair and reasonable price. The government client needs to come up with a better plan. I'd expect the government employees to take exception to this new duty, too. I've seen where employees of the comapnies that do the shredding collect the bins for shredding and return them when they have been emptied--maybe that's a fix for the client.

bigred, as others have advised, I recommend that you explain to the KO that the client is assigning tasks that are not in your contract/order. I suggest you let the KO handle it. There will be the risk that the client feels that you are not a team player.

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"Not to gang-up, but I don't believe that is right. Work outside of the scope cannot be added via a change order."

If the contract provides for the contractor to work in a government facility there is probably some kind of clause or something in the SOW concerning the support the government will provide. Changing that to reflect requirements on recycle/shred is probably within the scope.

PS: Vern, how do you do that little quotey thing?

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wvanpup:

When you are in the text box writing your post, highlight the text you want to put in the quotey thing. Then look at the bottom line of buttons above the text box and identify the one that looks like a cartoon speech balloon. Its on the bottom row toward the right. Click on the button and it will put the highlighted text in the quotey thing.

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What to the building manager is simple common sense and a practical solution, to the contractor is a potential employee relations or even collective bargaining issue.

Especially in terms of what happens if someone gets injured or strains their back when taking out the trash--who pays and who gets sued. I realize it may be just small carry bins-- but we have to report first aids and paper cuts here at our site :D

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