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physiocrat

Speaking of Incompetence...

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Check out this transcript from a FAI video tutorial on Protests entitled ALS: Strategies to Successfully Prevent and Defend Bid Protests http://www.fai.gov/drupal/training/bid-protests-transcript

8/5/14

NG: And following the solicitation can mean several things, as described in this chart. It means following the evaluation scheme. You establish an evaluation methodology and scheme in your solicitaiton, and you apply that accurately to all offerors, weigh the importance of the factors stated, evaluate price in the manner described, and utilize the stated basis for award -- best value or low price. These days, best value is very much in vogue. I had a recent example where I was talking to some contracting staff and they actually decided to go with a low price technically acceptable award, but they kept saying that they were going to do low-price technically acceptable in order to achieve best value, and I kept asking them, "why are you saying that when you are doing a low-price, not best value?", and it is a little confusing, but best value had become so ingrained in their brains as the main thing to do that it took a little bit of discussion with them to see the little problem with that, but we worked it out fortunately because they came and talked to their lawyers in advance.

I think NG should be fired immediately for failing to comprehend the meaning of best value as it is written in FAR 2 and FAR 15 or at a minimum for failure to read.

On the other hand maybe we should promote him to the Administrator for Federal Procurement Policy. What is the greater good? I certainly can't rest easy knowing that he may be advising actual clients in the private sector so let's keep him in the public sector where he can do the least damage.

I was remiss in not congratulating the contract folks, so congratulations, but what was the dynamic, hubris on the part of the attorney who was wrong but saw the little problem and resolved it because they talked to their lawyers in advance? I guess these folks wonder the same things I wonder, mainly why is he employed, and why would I ever need to contact him for procurement advice? (other than his access to relevant databases such as Westlaw) though I suspect he would mess that up also.

Compared to Miss Taylor's transgressions at the VA, I'd fire NG easy. What do you think?

I'll draft the complaint.

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I also lament the professional sloppiness, but it is all around us. For example, the following extract is from GAO Bid Protest Decision B-409189.3, A1C Partners, LLC--Costs, September 30, 2014:

A1C filed its initial protest against the agency’s award to Six3 on October 29, 2013, alleging that the agency improperly converted the solicitation’s award criteria from best value to lowest-priced technically acceptable (LPTA), and did not properly evaluate Six3’s price for realism, among other issues.

* * *

A1C then filed its second protest on April 21, alleging that the agency failed to correct errors identified in A1C’s initial protest, including the conversion of award criteria from best value to LPTA and the unreasonable evaluation of Six3’s price.

Maybe we should take the opportunity to teach correct principles? LPTA is a best value approach. Tradeoff is also a best value approach. See FAR 15.101.

For example, the following extract is from GAO Bid Protest Decision B-407605, Energy Engineering & Consulting Services, LLC, January 15, 2013:

The CO then conducted a price evaluation of the 8 technically acceptable offerors, and determined that Sebesta Blomberg’s quote represented the best value to the Government under the LPTA evaluation.

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One of my pet peeves is this very issue, people that do not understand the best value continuum concept. I work with one individual who has 20+ years experience in the USAF and even when I showed him the FAR 15 definition of best value, he still did not believe me that the concept included LPTA.

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So, fire Dr. Jacques Gansler, too? http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20110612/ADOP06/106120306/Shop-8216-best-value-not-8216-lowest-price-

Here is Dr. Gansler's background info: http://investing.businessweek.com/research/stocks/people/person.asp?personId=11077900&ticker=IRBT&previousCapId=544315&previousTitle=IROBOT%20CORP

I suggest selecting the link to read his entire background...

Many other examples where LPTA is distinguished from "best value" may be found through a GOOGLE Search.

I wonder who on the re-write team decided to include LPTA in the " Best Value Continuum" in the FAR Part 15 re-write in 1996. Vern or anyone else - do you know?

I guess that I can do some further searching...

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Joel, of course, given the chance, I would fire Mr. Gansler immediately though it appears his career is beyond that point. I suppose the only remedy against Mr. Gansler would be in the arena of the False Claims Act or similar claims though hardly probable, a case of 1st impression.

I take it that you disagree with the rewrite? I think it makes sense but happy to hear different, reasoned opinions.

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Physiocrat, I don't necessarily disagree with the "Best Value Continuum" in the Re-write. But when they decided to expand the Continuum to include LPTA, they diverged from the commonly understood usage in the commercial world that best value refers to some sort of trade-off between price and other considerations.

Many acquisition oldies never made the transition to the "new continuum", along with some other aspects of the Re-write. These acquisition types have passed on those particular procedures that were in Part 15 prior to the Re-write to the newer acquisition workforce. That is a subject for another discussion thread someday.

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I seldom shop for stuff that I buy for myself based upon lowest-priced technically acceptable criteria other than gasoline and some other generic type products. My shopping decisions usually involve some sort of trade-off between price and other considerations. However, price may be the most important factor in some of my purchases. Come to think of it, I often buy gasoline that way, too.

You see, we all use "best value trade-off" thought processes in our daily lives. When I mention that while teaching my design-build class, I get a lot of bewildered looks at first, then many nods after providing some examples.

It ain't that big of a mystery, when you think about it...

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