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DC02383

Service Contract

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Can a Notice to Proceed be issued on a Service contract?  If not, then would this be a Letter Contract?  The reason for the question is because our office had a requirement for lodging and meal for a covert training exercise for one of our military units that was deploying.  A Notice to Proceed was issued by the Contracting Officer, which is no longer with our office.  The dollar amount is $23K.  Funding was available, the funding document could be seen in the system and the funding document had been released.  The contractor had to update their information in the System of Award Management to reactivate their cage, which was verified with DLA.  However, the process that normally takes up to 7-10 business days took almost 2 months.  The current Contracting Officer is refusing to sign the contract claiming this must go up to the PARC, because it is over $10K and ratification must be completed.  Any advice would be appreciated. 

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Did the KO who ordered the services not have the authority to contract for them? 

If they did, then why is ratification necessary? 

"1.602-3 -- Ratification of Unauthorized Commitments.

(a) Definitions.

“Ratification,” as used in this subsection, means the act of approving an unauthorized commitment by an official who has the authority to do so.

“Unauthorized commitment,” as used in this subsection, means an agreement that is not binding solely because the Government representative who made it lacked the authority to enter into that agreement on behalf of the Government."

I hope that your military units never have to rely on the current KO in a pinch. 

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Have you read...

1.602-3 -- Ratification of Unauthorized Commitments.

(a) Definitions.

“Ratification,” as used in this subsection, means the act of approving an unauthorized commitment by an official who has the authority to do so.

“Unauthorized commitment,” as used in this subsection, means an agreement that is not binding solely because the Government representative who made it lacked the authority to enter into that agreement on behalf of the Government.

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On top of that the current KO is apparently going to waste the taxpayers money and waste the time and resources for anyone involved in the preparation, review and action for a ratification under the circumstances that the original poster described.  

Sheesh! 

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DC, did the contractor provide the services called for?  Also, what do you mean by service contract in this context?  Are you saying this is subject to the SCA?  Depending on the language of the NTP, it might constitute a contract.  Have you analyzed the issue from that perspective?

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Funny.  I'm wondering if the new KO didn't think the old KO had the authority to give the go-ahead without the firm being registered in SAM?  If so, I’d acknowledge that FAR 4.1102 does indicate that prospective contractors shall be registered in the SAM database prior to award of a contract but allows exceptions, including instances where contracts awarded by deployed contracting officers in the course of military operations and contracts to support unusual or compelling. 

Many automated systems these days will not allow an order through until the firm is registered in SAM, but that doesn’t stop a KO from properly exercising their authority.  A two month wait is not all that uncommon. 

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