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A solicitation stated in Section L that offerors with no "Corporate" PP could submit, if they wanted to, "Key Personnel" PP. Section L further instructed that such KP PP references who filled out the PPQ's had to be a person who had "direct oversight" over that KP.

Several offerors who are incumbents submitted KP PP. However, the POC reference they list is the agency CO who is the CO for the current recompete solicitation. For some reason, the offerors did not list the COR/COTR folks.

The CO believes himself to have had no "direct oversight" over the KP, which is true, and in fact, he has never even met most, if any, of these people, except some email communications for contract administrative purposes.

QUESTION:

Can the CO choose to not fill out the PPQs? Or must the CO fill out the PPQ because this would be considered "too close at hand" information?

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I will leave it to others to answer in detail but my first thought is REALLY! A CO who has delegated their authority is going to claim they have no direct oversight....what no work status reports, no advice and direction to the COR/COTR on contract matters, no evaluation of performance, or in other words once the CO has awarded the contract and a assigned a COR/COTR they do not care about the contract? Again REALLY!

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Yes, a CO can choose not to fill out the past performance questionnaires. It seems to me that a contractor employee's "direct oversight" comes from his or her own supervisor in the contractor organization.

I'm a contracting officer, but I don't claim "direct oversight" responsibility over or even visibility into contractor employees. I care about the contractor's performance of the contract, not the strengths or weaknesses of individual contractor employees.

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Guest Vern Edwards

Oh, come on!

The COR/COTR represents the CO. If the COR/COTR has info on key personnel past performance the CO can fill out the forms based on their inputs or let them fill out the forms for him.

Really is right. Let's not be stupid.

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C Culham Post #2:

Well, the CO can certainly be a reference for a vendor's CORPORATE PP, but KEY PERSONNEL PP is different. The CO does not truly have "direct oversight" over the vendor's KP, and so really cannot be a reference for them.

Vern Edwards Post #4:

Upon further reflection, I don't believe the COR/COTR has "direct oversight" over the vendor's KP either. It really depends on what kind of contract is involved. For purposes of my question, it is services going on in a state far away from where the CO and COTR/COR are. They receive certain types of "reports," which are deliverables under the contract, at specified intervals. But they really don't have "direct oversight" over these KP.

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The original poster's question was "Can the CO choose to not fill out the PPQs? Or must the CO fill out the PPQ...?"

The answer is that the contracting officer can choose not to fill out the questionnaires.

Of course, he or she could also choose to fill out the questionnaires, but that wasn't the question.

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ji & govt

Yes CO can do what ever they want but to not respond is a cop out in my book. A CO is responsible for rating performance of a contractor, with assistance from the COR and the whole of the acquisition team, in the following areas: (FAR 42.1501)

(1) Conforming to requirements and to standards of good workmanship;

(2) Forecasting and controlling costs;

(3) Adherence to schedules, including the administrative aspects of performance;

(4) Reasonable and cooperative behavior and commitment to customer satisfaction;

(5) Reporting into databases (see subpart 4.14, and reporting requirements in the solicitation provisions and clauses referenced in 9.104-7);

(6) Integrity and business ethics; and

(7) Business-like concern for the interest of the customer.

To me if rating such areas gives no consideration to "key personnel" then why the heck did the agency and ultimately the CO demand in a solicitation/contract key personnel in the first place? And to my reference of cop out it would seem to me that a CO who wants to find reason to not respond to a PPQ to the best of their ability is not fulfilling his or her duties (ref: FAR 42.3, FAR 2.101, and FAR 1.602-2).

To nit pick over such terms as "direct oversight" "too close at hand" is rubbish.

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Guest Vern Edwards

The Government has said that offerors can submit references for the key personnel on forms. The forms must be completed by people who can personally attest to the performance of the personnel in question. "Direct oversight" could mean direct supervision or direct observation.

The incumbents are simply saying that the government itself is the reference for their key personnel. The CO is the government's representative. The COR/COTR represents the CO. The The question is not whether the CO can or should fill out a stupid form. The question is whether the CO, as representative of the government, can and should attest to the performance of the key personnel.

If the government -- the CO or the COR/COTR -- knows of the performance of the key personnel and refuses to attest to that performance, positively or negatively, using the form or plain bond paper, that refusal could be grounds for a protest that the government is ignoring information that is "too close at hand" to be ignored. The fact that the RFP said that the stupid forms must be completed by someone who had "direct oversight" is of no importance. What matters is that the CO/COR/COTR can or cannot attest to the performance of those personnel.

The concerns reflected in the question reflect the kind of mental midgetry that makes COs look like idiots. If there is one thing that neither the GAO nor the Court of Federal Claims can stand, it's blockheadedness.

Although the OP put the question in terms of the CO's lack of "direct oversight," it is up to us to understand the problem and respond appropriately. Bottom line: Carl's response is on the mark. The CO would be a fool to get hung up over "direct oversight".

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C Culham and Vern,

I think everyone agrees that a contracting officer MAY complete the past performance questionnaire. Maybe even, in some cases, SHOULD.

But the original poster asked if the contracting officer MUST complete the past performance questionnaire, even when--

The CO believes himself to have had no "direct oversight" over the KP, which is true, and in fact, he has never even met most, if any, of these people, except some email communications for contract administrative purposes.

and

t is services going on in a state far away from where the CO and COTR/COR are. They receive certain types of "reports," which are deliverables under the contract, at specified intervals.

I think NO is a reasonable answer to that question. There is no mental midgetry in that answer. Insisting that the contracting officer MUST complete the questionnaire in the case of the original poster is troubling to me, but I'll stop short of figuratively characterizing that statement.

You know, it is entirely possible where a contractor's performance is excellent and is so rated in the CPARS but an individual's performance is unknown or marginal -- maybe the company itself and other employees compensate for a marginal employee and performance overall is excellent.

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Guest Vern Edwards

No is not a reasonable answer to the question.

The question was:

The CO believes himself to have had no "direct oversight" over the KP, which is true, and in fact, he has never even met most, if any, of these people, except some email communications for contract administrative purposes.

QUESTION:

Can the CO choose to not fill out the PPQs? Or must the CO fill out the PPQ because this would be considered "too close at hand" information?

Your response to the question is absurd.

The past performance questionnaire form was prepared so as to standardize responses from unknown persons. The idea is to elicit specific information and make assessment of it easy for evaluators. The proper response to govt2310 was to tell him that completion of the questionnaire is not the issue. The issue is whether it is necessary of the CO to provide a government assessment to the evaluators.

What he is really asking is whether the CO must provide past performance information, as the government's representative, even though he did not directly (personally) oversee the personnel. The proper answer to that is that if he has or can obtain information about it from the COR/COTR or other government personnel, then yes, he MUST provide it to the evaluators. It doesn't matter whether he provides it on the questionnaire or plain bond.

It is silly of you to focus on the narrow question of whether the CO must fill in the specific questionnaire form.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Here's a new twist: would it be an Ethics violation for a federal employee to give a KP PP reference for a contractor's employee? Specifically, would it be considered a prohibited "endorsement"?

See link to the Office of Government Ethics:

http://www.oge.gov/Topics/Use-of-Government-Position-and-Resources/Endorsing-Organizations,-Products,-or-Persons/

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Guest Vern Edwards

It would not be an ethical violation for a Federal employee to provide a factual statement about a contractor employee's past performance and to express a personal opinion about the employee's character and qualifications. That would not be a prohibited endorsement as described by the Office of Government Ethics. Not even close.

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Govt = I agree with Vern. The purpose of my previous post was the reference you provided stated that specific questions regarding "endorsement" should be referred to the ethics official. Reading into your post I concluded you were still trying to find a way to support a position that the assessment should not be provided, you have views from here so maybe an ethics person is your best bet, but do not count on it. As ji's last post noted the ball is in the CO's court.

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