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Customer Ethics Question

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KTR option is not extended. The service provided by original KTR is re-competed and awarded to new KTR. Customer who receives services from original KTR is extremely dissappointned. Customer does not provide new KTR opportunity too perform. Independent inspector sees no problem with services. Customer constantly advocactes for old KTR. Customer attempts to help original KTR and continues to communicate with original KTR.

Usually, in these types of situations, customer gets pissed off then gets over it as long as services are comparable. Anyhow are there any specific rules of ethics a customer must adhere to other than the FER? Has anyone dealt with this before? Any suggestions?

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Guest Vern Edwards

This happens. Such conduct is not only unethical, but it might breach the contractual obligation to act in good faith and cooperate, and might be the basis for a claim. If the problem is serious and you have done all that you can to develop a good relationship, then you should do at least the following: (1) perform in strict conformity with the terms of the contract, even bending over backwards, (2) document all contacts with the customer and events of note (document, document, document), (3) avoid altercations with the customer, (4) promptly notify the contracting officer in writing of all government behavior that you consider to be in in bad faith and inconsistent with the terms of the contract, and (5) consult an attorney. In discussing the problem with government officials, focus on your relationship with the customer and do not make unsubstantiated accusations about the relationship between the customer and the former contractor. It would be best to say nothing about that, except to your attorney.

Strict formality and courteous conduct on your part are a must in such circumstances, but you should be open to government attempts at amelioration.

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Guest carl r culham

charles - I started my post and then Vern's good advice was posted. I am unclear if you are government or private but if government I would add one other consideration.

Policy and regulation regarding conduct and ethics of a Federal employee are usually administered by Human Resources in most agencies or a separate Ethics Office. If the facts that you have at hand lead you to believe that the actions of the "customer" presents either the appearance of or actual violation of ethics and conduct regulations and policies you should refer the matter to the appropriate ethics official for further action. Having a discussion with the ethics official on matter is advisable as well much in the way that Vern suggest consulting an attorney.

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charles - I started my post and then Vern's good advice was posted. I am unclear if you are government or private but if government I would add one other consideration.

Policy and regulation regarding conduct and ethics of a Federal employee are usually administered by Human Resources in most agencies or a separate Ethics Office. If the facts that you have at hand lead you to believe that the actions of the "customer" presents either the appearance of or actual violation of ethics and conduct regulations and policies you should refer the matter to the appropriate ethics official for further action. Having a discussion with the ethics official on matter is advisable as well much in the way that Vern suggest consulting an attorney.

Thank you for the responses. I am representing the GOV not KTR. It just seems odd that a customer (the gov POC receiving services for their department) would be so bent for a particular contractor. I just dont know if they are violating any rules since their not in acqusition and their behavior is not so blatant that it is a clear violation of the FER. Will send to ethics dept. But still appreciate additional feedback.

Best

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Guest Vern Edwards

I would not treat this as an ethics problem just yet if I were you. Why not go to the customer, describe precisely what behavior they are engaging in that bothers you, and then ask them what is up? I would do that before I made an ethics complaint.

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I would not treat this as an ethics problem just yet if I were you. Why not go to the customer, describe precisely what behavior they are engaging in that bothers you, and then ask them what is up? I would do that before I made an ethics complaint.

I agree communication is important. KO has made several attempts to speak with end user. But, the behavior and attitude towards new contractor and requests to get back old contractor is still the same. This action is currently being addressed by the persons supervisor. But, I am wondering if there are specific ethic prohibitions on customers being too involved with KTRs.

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.

this sounds a little familiar.

Is the former incumbent the employer of the COR's spouse ?

.

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It just seems odd that a customer (the gov POC receiving services for their department) would be so bent for a particular contractor.

Best

This doesn't seem odd to me at all. In my experience with service contracts it is a common occurrence. The problem as I see it is that customers develop relationships with contractor employees, much as they do with their fellow civil service employees. They know about their families, their hobbies, etc. So when it comes time that their "fellow" employee is going to lose his or her job, then the customer obviously feels bad for that employee. Of course I am assuming that when you say the customer is disappointed with the new contractor the case is really the customer is actually disappointed with the new contractor's employee. I had a recent experience where a new contract was being awarded, and it looked like the new contractor was going to be bringing in a new employee. The customer had already determined before the new contract was even awarded that there was no way the new contractor (actually the new employee) was going to be able to do the job, and was asking how long after award they had to wait before requesting the contract be terminated. I have another contract ending this week where a new contractor will be taking over, and as of now it appears that they will be bringing in all new employees. So the customer is asking how we can keep the current employees because "they are good people".

In my experiences this has always been resolved by the new contractor hiring on the incumbent employees, even though it happened at the last minute. I would think this is common throughout government contracting with service contracts, which is probably the reason why the President signed the Executive Order giving incumbent employees right of first refusal.

Is your situation where one where the customer is truly biased against the new contractor as a company, or is it the new contractor brought in a new employee, and is that the real reason the customer is dissatisfied? If it is a case where the customer really is dissatisfied with the new contractor (company), with no obvious valid reason, then I certainly would question that customer?s relationship with that company.

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But, I am wondering if there are specific ethic prohibitions on customers being too involved with KTRs.

Normally each agency has their own ethics guidelines. For example, here's one for the Department of Commerce:

http://www.ogc.doc.gov/documents/written-2007-e.pdf

You can check and see if your agency has something similar.

The governmentwide guidance is here:

http://www.usoge.gov/laws_regs/compilation.aspx

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