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bob7947

Different Titles for Contracting Officer's Representative

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Many years ago, I tried to standardize the title of a Contracting Officer's Representative (COR) but couldn't get it done.  I just noticed a topic about CORs and it reminded me of the various titles for a COR I encountered.  I'm going to list a number of the names and acronyms that I remember with the agency that uses or used them.  Feel free to correct the ones that I post since some of mine date back to the 1980s and may no longer be used.  If the titles for COR's have been standardized by some government rule or regulation, mention that also.  I don't remember it happening.

If you are a government employee, please list the ones you have heard that agencies currently use.  If you are outside of the government, please list the ones you have encountered while you worked in the private sector.

  1. Contracting Officer's Technical Representative (COTR) - various agencies.
  2. Contracting Officer's Representatives (COR) - various agencies
  3. Government Technical Representative (GTR), Government Technical Monitor (GTM) - HUD.
  4. Project Officer - DHHS  

 

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bob - I am taking the easy route with little research other than that which I can lay my hands on quickly.

See FAR part 2 which at some point included the definition of COR.  I did not wade through all supplements but the DoD carried the definition forward in the DFARS at part 202.  DHHS also carries the COR definition in HHSAR at part 302.   Interestingly in the HUDAR at part 2402 HUD retained  the GTR to mean the COR.   As note I did not do the research to go back and see when this definition was added to the FAR. 

FAI then reinforced the title COR, at least for the civilian side with this  2011 memo on certification - https://www.fai.gov/drupal/pdfs/FAC-COR_20Sep2011.pdf

Edit - I also just ran across this in doing some additional research, which is one DoD agency's take on the use of the COR term.

From the "Army Sustainment Command Contracting Officers Representative (COR) Handbook" at page 11.

"Personnel appointed by the Contracting Officer to assist in contract administration shall be identified as a Contracting Officer Representative (COR).  No other title is authorized by ASC."

 

 

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While the FAR definition of COR includes a reference to COTR, the term COTR does not appear anywhere else in the FAR, just COR.  I suspect the term was left in the definition since there were already COTRs in place and they didn't want some people to think they were two different roles.  The term COR was not added to section 1.602-2 and the definition of COR at 2.101 until FAC 2005-50 dated 3/6/2011.

The only thing that I recall seeing that changed the term COTR to COR was related to the certification program managed by FAI.  See the link to a September 2011 OFPP letter below.  That letter cites the aforementioned change to the FAR.

https://www.fai.gov/drupal/pdfs/FAC-COR_20Sep2011.pdf 

USDA uses the term COR.  Prior to the 2011 OFPP letter the term COTR was used in internal policy.

 

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I've seen a few in DoD. I think it really comes down to what their roles and responsibilities are in the appointment letter. A COR is a representative of the KO and performs the functions needed. If the appointee is going to work a contract and face contractor's, they "should" have the same type training IMO. But offices like to change the person's title as something different than "COR" to bypass the DoDI minimum training and use of CORT.

- Technical Monitor (TM)

- Technical Inspector (TI)

- Quality Assurance Representative/Specialist (QAR/QAS)

- Property Administrator (PA)

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When a COR was not appointed, two titles I would come across were PATR (Procuring Activity Technical Representative) (DoD) and TPOC (Technical Point of Contact).(non-DoD).

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Guest Vern Edwards

Keep in mind the concept of "contracting officer's representative" as defined in FAR 2.101. A true COR has authority to act on behalf of the CO as appointed by the CO. Other "officials" do not. See the definition of "contracting officer" in FAR 2.101.

Contractually speaking, the title is not what counts. It's the authority.

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At least one of the civilian agencies (Labor, Agriculture?) previously referred to them as the Government Authorized Representative (GAR).  I haven’t seen that used recently, though.

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25 minutes ago, awhinton said:

At least one of the civilian agencies (Labor, Agriculture?) previously referred to them as the Government Authorized Representative (GAR).  I haven’t seen that used recently, though.

I've only worked for the USDA for the 7 years, but have not seen that term used since then.  However, the USDA agency I work for used the term Government Representative (GR) to refer to the technical person from our agency that was the point of contact for recipients of Federal cooperative agreements that used the funds to award construction contracts.  The GR didn't act as a COR for the contract though since it wasn't a Federal contract, but instead worked with the recipient on the administration of their contract.

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Oh what a tangled web we weave and should be support to bob that while he and even the FAR attempted to standardize the term Contracting Officer Representative such an attempt within the Federal government will never happen.  Good, bad, indifferent who knows but as this thread indicates its not what the title is, it is the authority formally vested in someone that would count in the end.

As to USDA, based on experience the term GAR was/is used by the USDA-Forest Service in documents such as specifications published by the agency for road construction and the like.  GAR was a catch all term for a inspector rather than a COR.   By example a 2014 standard road specification for the Eldorado National Forest - https://www.fs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/fseprd556548.pdf .  

Other thoughts on GAR –

USDOL Office of  the Assistant Secretary for Administration  and Management (OASAM), Procurement Related Department of Labor Management Series (dlms), Chapter 870 which is no longer in print.

Government authorized representative (GAR) is the program manager designated by the contracting or grant officer to act as the contracting or grant officer's representative in overseeing technical performance and providing liaison between the contractor or recipient and the DOL. (In the various Agencies of the DOL, the GAR may also be called the "project officer", "contracting officer's representative (COR) ," "contracting officer's technical representative (COTR) ," or "Federal Representative (FR).").

And now the DOLAR at part 2902 - Contracting Officer's Technical Representative means the individual appointed by the contracting officer to represent the Department of Labor's programmatic interests on a Department of Labor contract, task order, or delivery order. This individual is responsible to the contracting officer for overseeing receipt and acceptance of goods/services by the Government, reporting on the contractor's performance, and approving/disapproving payment to the contractor. Authority is otherwise limited to giving technical direction to the contractor within the framework of the contract (see 2901.603-71). This position may go by other titles, such as: a technical point of contact (TPOC) or Contacting Officer's Representative (COR).

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I've added Government Technical Monitor (GTM) to HUD in my original post.  The HUDAR defines the GTM as an assistant to the GTR.  I remembered GTM this morning.

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For Department of State we have CORs and GTMs.  They both have the same training requirements for the same level of COR duties  (FAC COR I, II, or III).  The GTM is intended to designate that they work for the COR and not directly for the KO.  The KO delegates some of the COR duties to the GTM which could hold a lower COR level depending on duties assigned.  Many times the COR will be in the program office in Washington while having GTMs at sites around thee world.  The Bureaus sometimes insist we appoint an "Alternate COR" which is not in our DOSAR.  This person is usually someone who works in the office of the COR who fills all the same duties when the COR is TDY or on leave.  We have a lot of long overseas TDYS.  Since the training and experience is met, we usually don't argue and just appoint the Alternate. 

Our big problem with CORs is not their meeting training requirements but experience requirements.  The Government is becoming a revolving door and Bureaus can't find personnel with contracts experience and many do not have technical experience either.   With contractors filling our technical positions, the FTEs are sometimes managers from Foreign Service or other career fields and do not  know what to look for in performance.  We just appoint the best available Government Employee offered by the program office and they can get the experience on the job.  

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Carl:

Part 2 of the FAR includes this definition:  “Contracting officer’s representative (COR)” means an individual, including a contracting officer’s technical representative (COTR), designated and authorized in writing by the contracting officer to perform specific technical or administrative functions.

The OFPP document  from 2011 stated:   The term "COTR" is being changed to "COR" to align with the Federal Acquisition Regulation which now incorporates a definition for  Contracting Officers Representative andf includes designation of a COR as part of a Contracting Officer's responsibilities. 

The FAR's definition of Contracting Officer is:  “Contracting officer” means a person with the authority to enter into, administer, and/or terminate contracts and make related determinations and findings. The term includes certain authorized representatives of the contracting officer acting within the limits of their authority as delegated by the contracting officer.  (emphasis added by me)

So a COR or COTR, might become a CO, if the individual is acting within the limits of their authority.  Maybe we need another acronym, say CARP-CO, for "certain authorized representatives of the contracting officer acting within the limits of their authority as delegated by the contracting officer. " so as not to get anyone confused.

What do you think?

Carl:

I just saw you included the acronym: GAR which is also a type of fish.  I am seeing real possibilities for my suggested acronym CARP-CO.

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Bob 

Can't say that I have swallowed your logic hook, line and sinker, but you have lured me in.  As in most cases CARP require no license to engage with would your new acronym also require a certification or could they just swim on their own?

GAR was a throw back (catch and release) so I am concerned that CARP may be looked at the same.

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Guest Vern Edwards
5 hours ago, bob7947 said:

The FAR's definition of Contracting Officer is:  “Contracting officer” means a person with the authority to enter into, administer, and/or terminate contracts and make related determinations and findings. The term includes certain authorized representatives of the contracting officer acting within the limits of their authority as delegated by the contracting officer.  (emphasis added by me)

So a COR or COTR, might become a CO, if the individual is acting within the limits of their authority.  Maybe we need another acronym, say CARP-CO, for "certain authorized representatives of the contracting officer acting within the limits of their authority as delegated by the contracting officer. " so as not to get anyone confused.

You won't be confused by the terminology if you understand the concepts.

The definition of contracting officer in FAR 2.101 is based on policy, case law, and the Contract Disputes Act of 1978. See 41 USC § 7101:

Quote

(6)Contracting officer.—The term “contracting officer”—

(A) means an individual who, by appointment in accordance with applicable regulations, has the authority to make and administer contracts and to make determinations and findings with respect to contracts; and

(B) includes an authorized representative of the contracting officer, acting within the limits of the representative’s authority.

The CDA and the FAR definition simply reflect long-standing case law to the effect that the government will be bound by the authorized act of a COR as though the act by been done by the formally appointed CO. The COR does not "become" a formally appointed CO.

The term COR, as used in FAR, refers to someone who is authorized by the CO to act on his or her behalf with respect to specified matters. It doesn't matter what the person's job title is, what matters is whether he or she was authorized by the CO, in accordance with regulations, to act on the CO's behalf.

See Cibinic, Nash, and Yukins, Formation of Government Contracts 4th ed., pp. 92-96 or Cibinic, Nash, and Nagle, Administration of Government Contracts 5th, pp. 36-41. See also Nash, "Contracting Officer Authority: A Strict Requirement," The Nash & Cibinic Report (November 2007), and the "postscripts" that followed. The authority of an "authorized representative of the of contracting officer" was severely restricted by the decision of the Federal Circuit in Winter v. Cath-dr/Balti Joint Venture, 497 F.3d 1339 (2007).

By focusing on job titles, this thread misses the mark. The real questions are (1) what if any authorities do the various government personnel interacting with the contractor really have, regardless of their job titles, and (2) what does the contract say about who can do what on behalf of the government.

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Quote

You won't be confused by the terminology if you understand the concepts.

The definition of contracting officer in FAR 2.101 is based on policy, case law, and the Contract Disputes Act of 1978. See 41 USC § 7101:

Yes, I know. 

Quote

The CDA and the FAR definition simply reflect long-standing case law to the effect that the government will be bound by the authorized act of a COR as though the act by been done by the formally appointed CO. The COR does not "become" a formally appointed CO.

The term COR, as used in FAR, refers to someone who is authorized by the CO to act on his or her behalf with respect to specified matters. It doesn't matter what the person's job title is, what matters is whether he or she was authorized by the CO, in accordance with regulations, to act on the CO's behalf.

Yes, I know. 

Quote

By focusing on job titles, this thread misses the mark. 

No it doesn't it does exactly what I wanted it to do.  

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The Department of Commerce has a Task Order Manager (TOM), who is delegated authority over specifically-enumerated TOs, usually in conjunction with multi-award IDVs (COR delegation is at the IDV level).  Bonus points are awarded if you are a TOM whose given name is "Tom".

Related question: Does a  CO who has COR responsibilities require a delegation from the contract CO? (e.g., a CO-COR who has oversight of contractors in a government procurement shop).   I say 'yes' as a matter of administrative clarity, but *some* on my team have argued that such a delegation is redundant and unnecessary.  

The main difference in my mind is that the CO would not be required to be certified as a COR, assuming their FAC-C/DAWIA certification was valid.

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Guest Vern Edwards
26 minutes ago, bob7947 said:

No it doesn't it does exactly what I wanted it to do.  

And what was that? Please remind me.

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18 minutes ago, REA'n Maker said:

Related question: Does a warrant-holding CO who has COR responsibilities require a delegation from the contract CO? (e.g., a CO who has oversight of contractors performing Specialist duties in a government procurement shop).   I say 'yes' as a matter of administrative clarity, but *some* on my team have argued that such a delegation is redundant and unnecessary.  

The main difference in my mind is that the CO would not be required to be certified as a COR, assuming their FAC-C/DAWIA certification was valid.

When I found myself in this situation as a FAC-C Level III CO with an unlimited warrant, I was appointed (in writing) as a COR on a contract and of course did not serve as the CO for the contract.  Because policy requires all CORs to be FAC-COR certified, I obtained my Level I FAC-COR certification.  They way I view it, just because I'm a CO, doesn't mean I have unlimited authority to change other CO's contracts anytime I want.  If I'm appointed as a COR, my possession of a FAC-C certification and warrant is irrelevant.  I must follow the policies applicable to CORs.  Besides, obtaining the certification should take an hour, if not minutes.  A CO should be able to quickly click through 8 hours of online training and ace the test (what is required in my agency for a Level I COR).

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Guest Vern Edwards
20 minutes ago, REA'n Maker said:

Does a  CO who has COR responsibilities require a delegation from the contract CO? (e.g., a CO-COR who has oversight of contractors in a government procurement shop).   I say 'yes' as a matter of administrative clarity, but *some* on my team have argued that such a delegation is redundant and unnecessary.

Does FAR 42.202 answer your question?

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Guest Vern Edwards
11 minutes ago, Todd Davis said:

Because policy requires all CORs to be FAC-COR certified, I obtained my Level I FAC-COR certification.

Silly. The requirement should be considered unnecessary or be waived for any FAC-C Level III CO. You could have signed the contract, but you had to get additional certification to administer the contract as a representative of a CO such as yourself? Eight wasted hours. How many pages in a good book on contracting could you have read in that time?

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16 minutes ago, Vern Edwards said:

Silly. The requirement should be considered unnecessary or be waived for any FAC-C Level III CO. You could have signed the contract, but you had to get additional certification to administer the contract as a representative of a CO such as yourself? Eight wasted hours. How many pages in a good book on contracting could you have read in that time?

At the time I didn't think of the option of being delegated certain ACO responsibilities which I believe you may be referring to at FAR 42.202.  That makes more sense than appointing a CO as a COR. 

Also, even if a CO were appointed as a COR, I agree that having to obtain the certification should be waived as being unnecessary.  I obtained mine so as not to be found out of compliance with a policy that applies to individuals appointed as CORs.  In hindsight, I could have argued that the requirement should not apply to an individual who is already a CO.  Fortunately, I didn't waste 8 hours and was able to apply continuous learning from my FAC-C certification maintenance to obtain the COR certification.

 

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