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justin.wilson

Signing actions above warrant authority?

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I was drafting my post while someone  made an angry, insulting demand for me to justify how some "local office policy" could not deviate from DFARS 201.6,  Of course I couldn't respond to it. I didn't see it then and have no inclination to now.

I don't have to justify how a "local office" could not obtain a waiver from agency or government wide policy.  The OP already said that they didn't see any such agency policy.  

How about somebody showing me how a "local policy" waiver request would logically be approved for the reasons cited in the original post? 

 

 

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So I will say that my agency is non-DOD.  And I do know that other offices in my agency do not have this same policy.  That combined with not finding any policy regarding this practice from any level above the office tells me that there is not an agency level policy to do so. 

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9 hours ago, joel hoffman said:

I was drafting my post while someone  made an insulting demand for me to justify how some "local office"" policy" could not deviate from DFARS 201.6,  the issue in this thread.  Of course I couldn't respond to it. I didn't see it then and have no inclination to now.

I don't have to justify how a "local office" could not obtain a waiver from agency or government wide policy.  The OP already said that they didn't see any such agency policy.  

How about somebody showing me how a "local policy" waiver request would logically be approved for the reasons cited in the original post? 

Joel:

I apologize for insulting you. It was wrong of me to say "dammit," but I was, shall we say, exercised.

I'm not going to show you anything. I say that the procedures in FAR Subpart 1.6 (and DFARS Subpart 201.6) are subject to authorized deviation. That is demonstrably true from the plain language of the regulation. I don't argue for such a course of action, only for recognition that such a course of action is possible, so I am not going to make a mock argument on behalf of such a course of action. But I can think of reasons why delegating signature authority would be helpful and even necessary, which is why, with HCA approval, I delegated change order authority to certain field personnel while I was with DOE. While my agency was not subject to FAR, our own regulations included identical rules about selection and appointment of COs. The HCA, a knowledgeable and respected man, had no problem with the idea. Neither did HQ DOE. Colleagues were shocked when I did it. It worked wonderfully well.

You clearly don't like the idea and have raised several arguments against it. I don't mind that you don't like it, but you ought to at least acknowledge that it's not against the law. The acquisition workforce has been criticized for not thinking critically and creatively, and for not being innovative, and I agree with those criticisms. Innovation is not made easier by the bureaucratic reflex to reject unorthodox plans of action and to criticize those who proffer them. The reflexive "No" is the greatest force for the status quo in our business. Another is the tendency to confuse convention with command or with perfection. Yet another is the tortuous interpretation of regulations in search of a prohibition. I have been on the receiving end of all of that during my career. Fortunately, I was usually able to overcome it. I am not easily deterred by bureaucracy.

A final thought--if you go to work in a new place and can't live with the way they do things, leave as quickly as possible. I have done that, and it was a great relief, to me and to them.

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Joel, I am not sure I follow some of what you are writing.  Are you saying that for purposes of the definition of contracting officer in 2.101, the only person to whom a contracting officer can delegate some of his/her authority is  a COR?  If that is what you are saying, what is the basis for that statement?

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19 hours ago, Retreadfed said:

Joel, I am not sure I follow some of what you are writing.  Are you saying that for purposes of the definition of contracting officer in 2.101, the only person to whom a contracting officer can delegate some of his/her authority is  a COR?  If that is what you are saying, what is the basis for that statement?

No, I did not say that.  There are all sorts of personnel who perform functions and may interact with a contractor. 

It is explained very well in Formation of Government Contracts as well as Administration of Government Contracts. 

Keep in mind the context of the Original post as well a the title of the thread. It is a local office policy.  The HCA or Agency Head would likely be the authority to approve a deviation to allow a KO under a local office policy to delegate awards of contracts to someone because the non warranted person or warranted person awarding the contract above the limits of their warrant knows more about the action than the KO. We don't know what the Agency level appointment standards and procedures are. See also the OP's latest clarification of the situation.  They are unaware of any Agency level deviation. 

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On 3/3/2017 at 0:43 PM, Vern Edwards said:

...But I can think of reasons why delegating signature authority would be helpful and even necessary, which is why, with HCA approval, I delegated change order authority to certain field personnel while I was with DOE. While my agency was not subject to FAR, our own regulations included identical rules about selection and appointment of COs. The HCA, a knowledgeable and respected man, had no problem with the idea. Neither did HQ DOE. Colleagues were shocked when I did it. It worked wonderfully well.

You clearly don't like the idea and have raised several arguments against it. I don't mind that you don't like it, but you ought to at least acknowledge that it's not against the law.

Just to clarify, I love the idea of delegating change order (and other) authority to assigned warranted field office Administrative Contracting Officers (who are also engineers) on construction contracts.  The USACE has used ACO's Since FAR and used Resident Contracting Officers in the pre-FAR days.

 I was an ACO. Before, during and after that, I negotiated new contracts, changes, claims, terminations and takeover agreements, evaluated entitlement and merit of claims, etc. for KO's and for ACO's.  

Besides having to be Registered Professional Engineers or Registered Architects, ACO's have to meet the DAWIA educational and experience prerequisites.  They must take the required DAWIA training. They must complete bi-yearly continuing education, yearly ethics and appropriation law refreshers.

To maintain their P.E. or R.A. Licenses, they must complete yearly continuing education requirements.

Many are also supervisors, so must take required supervisory training and refreshers. 

As a consulting engineer in private industry, I designed, wrote and administered construction contracts.

I've negotiated REA's and claims since retirement.

I also led or supervised the source selection process for all construction and design-build contracts and for several service contracts in a large USACE District office for about 8 years, working directly for the KOs, who were the source selection authority. 

I love the idea! 

 

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On ‎3‎/‎3‎/‎2017 at 10:43 AM, Vern Edwards said:

While my agency was not subject to FAR, our own regulations included identical rules about selection and appointment of COs.

It was not then and is not now a regulation, it was and is a policy and from my experienced view policy is more easily manipulated to make the viewed impossible a possibility.    Seems using such a statement to support why an alternative to a process embedded in regulation, specifically the CFR, could be  possible is like comparing apples and oranges.

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I didn't mean to re-open the original debate. I was just clarifying that I'm not against the idea of the KO delegating some contractual signature authority to on-site field personnel.  The USACE has done it for years.  

Vern is absolutely correct that it works wonderfully well and that there are reasons why it is helpful and necessary.

I remember some NAVFAC personnel who also attended the first USACE contract administration class that I took in 1981. Among other comparisons between the two engineering and construction agencies,  they were bemoaning the fact that the Navy didn't use Resident Contracting Officers.  They said each and every modification had to go back to their HDQTRS at the Navy Yard in DC for the KO to issue.  There were no FEDEX, UPS, etc., email, internet or other electronic correspondence methods available to them other than Western Union, Telex, etc. 

They stated a wish that they could also have Resident Contracting Officers to issue changes, negotiate , settle and and issue mods for (at that time) up to $10k or $25k, plus modify the completion date for no fault reasons or for compensatory time extensions within the RCO's dollar authority limit. In addition, the field office staffs generally negotiated most changes, including those above the RCO/ACO warrant level. Not everywhere but in most Districts. 

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