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Can anyone provide information regarding risks related to a Government employee signing a timecard (as if the Government employee were a supervisor)?  I'm finding instances where Contracting Officer's Representatives (CORs) have been signing timecards for doctors or related contractor-provided personnel (whether they are an employee of the contractor, or acting as a subcontractor).  The then-signed timecards are then sent to the company by the contractor employee.  I'm concerned about risk, but I'm not finding any significant supporting information about the does-and-don'ts about this practice.

Thanks in advance for any assistance.

Mike

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Guest Vern Edwards

Why is the COR signing? Does the contract require that the COR sign time cards? 

What is the label of the box or at the space in which the COR signs?

What is the COR's signature supposed to signify?

 

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One of the most significant risks would be exposing the government to liability as if the contractor employee were a government employee. A court would look at the totality of the circumstances in determining if a contractor employee should be treated as a government employee in a labor related litigation matter. All of Vern's questions are relevant. See Harris v. Attorney General of the United States, D.D.C. Civil Action No. 04-220-3. 

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Vern - no, the contract doesn't require to sign time cards.  The label is shown in the attached.  The companies are essentially requesting the Government perform their administrative/supervision/payroll function from what I observe.

Retreadfed - they are non-personal, as stated in the award documents.

PTaylor - my position is that the signature obligates the signer to verification of time.  But worse, in my opinion, it eliminates Government ability to argue if outside observers, i.e. other physicians, etc., make claim on non-attendance.  Additionally, my position is that the signing in itself "receives" the services prior to a demand for payment.  Further, it opens the door to conflict of interest.  And, how can I trust my COR at this point?  I'll check out that action.  Thank you.

I'll take any further advice anyone has.  Thx - Mike

Copy of Requested Signature.pdf

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Guest Vern Edwards
19 minutes ago, p5tMike said:

I'll take any further advice anyone has.  Thx - Mike

Quote

The label is shown in the attached.

Oh. My. God.

Tell the COR, in writing, to stop signing the timecards. Immediately..Send a copy of that direction to the COR's boss. Notify the contractor, in writing, that government personnel will no longer sign its employees' timecards.

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I concur with Vern. That process creates the appearance of an employer/employee relationship with contractor personnel. The government contracts for the overall service, not with individual contractor personnel. When individual contractor personnel have their time cards signed by the COR rather than the government reviewing and approving the contractors invoice in its totality, it gives the appearance of an improper personal services contract.

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Thank you Vern, PTaylor and BowtechDan - each of you confirmed my position on the practice.  Now, to make such a widespread practice stop - it won't be an easy tasking at all.

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Guest Vern Edwards

Start with saying something about it in COR appointment letters. What may a COR sign in his or her capacity as a COR?

Receipt of services?

Inspection reports?

Acceptance of services?

Edited by Vern Edwards
To add examples.

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A typical delegation includes a statement saying "the COR CANNOT "make any agreement with the contractor requiring the obligation of public funds......." and ", or in any way obligate payment of funds by the Government"".  I interpret that signing time cards are inconsistent with both of those 2 stipulations.

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Mike, I am not going to say your interpretation is wrong, but to me, the quoted language does not prohibit the signing of time cards. If you do not want the COR to do something, be clear in regard to what is prohibited.  Vague and ambiguous terms are not effective.  BTW, how is the contract in question priced (T&M, FFP, cost reimbursement etc.)? 

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Guest Vern Edwards
40 minutes ago, p5tMike said:

A typical delegation includes..

p5tMike: In the context of your inquiry, what does anyone care what a "typical" COR delegation includes?

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It's FFP type Retreadfed, and correct, the language doesn't specifically state the issue;  and Vern - you are correct  I was quoting some standard verbiage from delegation formats.

Thanks all for the information.  I think I have enough to rely on now regarding the matter.  Again, thank you all.

Mike

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Why are they concerned with fixed price?  My guess is OIG or some other audit agency thinks we need to make deductions because they don't understand contracting.   Our agency has hundreds of professional services contractors who are from many companies and scattered through the offices all on labor hour task orders or contracts.  There is usually a COR for the contract but all the contractors are on task orders, one or two per order.  The Government FTE who they support is responsible for tracking if they were on the job and makes sure the COR responsible for invoicing knows.  The easiest way to accomplish this is to "concur" on timesheets.  The time sheets all get submitted with the invoice so the COR knows how many hours were not worked.  If invoices get paid without a Government FTE concurring with the timesheet, our OIG and internal financial auditors say we don't have a legitimate receiving document.  We could create a receiving document, reenter the hours and waste more hours sending them forward but concurring on invoices works and is the easiest way for the COR approving the invoices to know if a contractor cut out an hour early or took the day off on leave.  Might not be ideal but has worked for years. 

 

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1 hour ago, Boof said:

The easiest way to accomplish this is to "concur" on timesheets.  The time sheets all get submitted with the invoice so the COR knows how many hours were not worked.  If invoices get paid without a Government FTE concurring with the timesheet, our OIG and internal financial auditors say we don't have a legitimate receiving document.  We could create a receiving document, reenter the hours and waste more hours sending them forward but concurring on invoices works and is the easiest way for the COR approving the invoices to know if a contractor cut out an hour early or took the day off on leave.

(Emphasis added.)

I'm confused. How does the Government FTE "concur" on a timesheet? What is the mechanism? Is it a signature? If so, what does the signature signify, from a legal/contractual point of view?

Further, are your personnel concurring on contractor timesheets or on contractor invoices? Or both?

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Well I wasn't but now I am...........

I would like to see the entire contract or at least the publically issued solicitation please before I respond further.  I know, pipe dream but all the same I have seen several threads like this that always do not provide all the facts.

Is this a new requirement or a contract that has been in place for lets say several years?   Not saying right or wrong yet but if for some reason what is occurring has been so then maybe, just maybe, there is a legit reason why it is so.

And no ill will intended p5tMike but exactly what is your position in the acquisition hierarchy.   CO, contract specialist, inspector, interested program person, new to the procurement, been seeing this for days, months, years, or contractor employee as I am not sure what you mean by "my COR"?

Overall from my point of view it seems there is a lot missing to provide a reasoned response.   I can guess like others and my guess might be good advice and might be the same as others but then there is......oh well I can only dream!

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