Jump to content
The Wifcon Forums and Blogs

Recommended Posts

Has anyone heard of paying for Mobile Hotspot devices and service using a contracts ODC CLIN? The customer says they use the WiFi to conduct development testing because the base AFNET WiFi blocks the sites they need to get to in order to test. The contract they want to charge it on is an A&AS program office support contract.

I do NOT see how this fits the definition of an Other Direct Cost.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps you can provide additional info. Does "customer" mean contractor. Are you a Government employee. Did the "customer" state they were going to bill the ODC CLIN? Did you ask the customer to provide its company financial system definition of ODC? What type contract is it...FFP, cost type, etc. What is the dollar value involved? Is it true about AFNET Wifi inability? Do you agree that the sites are needed to perform the test? What, if anything does the contract state about the test? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Customer means the program office. I am a PCO. No ODCs were identified at RFP release. FFP contract $27M task order. Contract states there will be assistance needed with the testing events but nothing about WiFi AT ALL. There is a totally different development contract that they support with testing. The Air Force networks blocks certain sites they feel aren’t needed or appropriate. The sites are actual testing sites but out COMM department blocks them. 

My issue is that the WiFi service on the existing contract is billed by Verizon to one of the contractor employees credit cards and they in turn are billing the contract for reimbursement. None of this to me fits any definition of ODC.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If it doesn't fit "ODC" then where would you expect it to go?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The contractor should have thought about this cost when they provided their price proposal.  This is a FFP task order.  To me this is a Other Direct Cost only if the WiFi is being use solely on this task order.

Was the AF blocking known by the Govt at the time the solicitation was issued?  Should that information have been part of the solicitation?  Is utilizing WiFi the only way to do the testing event or is there another way?  Did the solicitation include any specifics on this?

Now, having said all of that, the contractor could come back with a claim or an REA  - I'm not sure if they would if the cost is minimal.  The claim may cost them more than the actual reimbursement.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, here_2_help said:

If it doesn't fit "ODC" then where would you expect it to go?

I would expect them to utilize the AF BPAs that are in place to purchase cellular services. These BPAs provide resellers that have been approved at cheaper pricing for these types of things.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, leo1102 said:

The contractor should have thought about this cost when they provided their price proposal.  This is a FFP task order.  To me this is a Other Direct Cost only if the WiFi is being use solely on this task order.

Was the AF blocking known by the Govt at the time the solicitation was issued?  Should that information have been part of the solicitation?  Is utilizing WiFi the only way to do the testing event or is there another way?  Did the solicitation include any specifics on this?

Now, having said all of that, the contractor could come back with a claim or an REA  - I'm not sure if they would if the cost is minimal.  The claim may cost them more than the actual reimbursement.

The contractor is not requesting the devices, the program office is. Contractors other than those on this contract use the WiFi. I was not the CO for this one, I just awarded the follow-on.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. It sounds like the program office may have induced, requested or approved the matter.

2. What is the total cost for the service? It may not be worth a CO's pay scale to spend much time with this. If you think it is fraud, ask for a DCAA audit.

3. It is not clear to me that the contractor is permitted to purchase under AF BPA's.

4. It sounds like it could have been an emergency while the test was in progress. Stopping the test support to obtain bids for cell service and/or research and obtain permission to use the AF BPA may not have supported the test or your program office.  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, Jenkins83 said:

Has anyone heard of paying for Mobile Hotspot devices and service using a contracts ODC CLIN?

Yes.  Doing so depends on what the contract says and/or contractor pricing.

Further response based on the dribbling of facts -

If the FFP contract does not provide for the mobile hot spot devices and does not provide for ODCs and does explicitly provide that  the government WiFi  will be used yet  the program office believes the devices are necessary to access other than government WiFi do the following.   Either 1)Get an authorization from the program office to modify the contract to add them into the pricing; and amend the contract to allow the contractor to purchase the devices off of the government BPA but only if the BPA provides that contractors can use the BPA otherwise just let the contractor get the devices as they see fit; or 1(a)) Provide the devices as GFP and modify the contract accordingly if GFP is not indicated in it; 3) Deny reimbursement on the basis that the contractor should have known the devices were going to be needed in the FFP arrangement and sit back and wait for the request to possibly be converted to a claim.

Consider the legal concept of constructive change as you work through what option you want to pursue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks everyone for the input. My stance has always been this is not ODC. I’m just curious if anyone has allowed it to be. The contractor would not order off the BPA, the program office would be. The contractor knows nothing about the need for WiFi which my other point. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jenkins83,

You keep using the term "ODC" but I'm not sure you are using it correctly. If your question is whether the program office should have acquired hotspot services via an already existing BPA versus asking the contractor to provide, then the answer does NOT turn on what you or the contractor call the hotspot services. Totally separate issue.

However, if you have concluded that it is appropriate to ask the contractor to provide hotspot services, then you may reasonably ask how the contractor should account for the cost of the services and bill them to the government. If that is the question before you, then what you are asking encompasses questions about the contractor's disclosed or established cost accounting practices. For example, you could reasonably ask how the contractor has accounted for such services in the past, when charged directly to a government contract. Does the contractor consistently treat hotspot services, when charged direct, as a "subcontract" or as a material item or as an "ODC"? Those are reasonable questions that the contractor should be able to easily answer.

So which is it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
9 minutes ago, here_2_help said:

Jenkins83,

You keep using the term "ODC" but I'm not sure you are using it correctly. If your question is whether the program office should have acquired hotspot services via an already existing BPA versus asking the contractor to provide, then the answer does NOT turn on what you or the contractor call the hotspot services. Totally separate issue.

However, if you have concluded that it is appropriate to ask the contractor to provide hotspot services, then you may reasonably ask how the contractor should account for the cost of the services and bill them to the government. If that is the question before you, then what you are asking encompasses questions about the contractor's disclosed or established cost accounting practices. For example, you could reasonably ask how the contractor has accounted for such services in the past, when charged directly to a government contract. Does the contractor consistently treat hotspot services, when charged direct, as a "subcontract" or as a material item or as an "ODC"? Those are reasonable questions that the contractor should be able to easily answer.

So which is it?

My question was had anyone out there allowed the charging of WiFi services via an ODC CLIN. I’m not trying to get into their accounting system because I’m not allowing them to do it on MY contract (follow on). They’re currently charging it (at the governments request) on the existing contract. 

I was inquiring about the experience of others not necessarily the logistics of how it should be done.

The government should absolutely have used the BPA to procure these services.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
12 hours ago, Jenkins83 said:

My question was had anyone out there allowed the charging of WiFi services via an ODC CLIN.

So as I follow the thread my question back to you is what does it matter if anyone has or has not?  

I say this noting that you are clear that you are not going to allow it as an ODC even if a contractor could show you through their accounting system that they in fact make such devices a direct cost rather than covering it in  general and administrative in their accounting structure.  You want the government to provide this service pure and simple.

Seems like an answer to your question does not make a difference in what you want to do so I am lost as to why you are even asking it!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jenkins83,

Thank you for your service and I really do wish you well. You might ask yourself some questions: 1) Am I looking for a solution or am I dug in? and 2) Have I noticed others offering ways to fill in the hole and help me (and the customer) move on?...and why would they do that? 

Its not personal...and It’s a bigger issue to DoD...one of the biggest; Look, we are not immune from the effect of dysfunctional relationships; why should we think we are? We see examples where scarcity problems (turf wars among them) and administrative inertia are liable to chase away many a good solution and leave us in the weeds.

I no of no lasting solution to this problem that would avoid focusing on the individual;  Each one of us would do well to ask as often as need be,  questions fitting two themes: “What is my part in this chase for solutions?” and “How am I doing?” The exact questions and insightful answers to these questions will probably change some each and every day, but the self assessment need never stop.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is no such thing!

A CLIN is for specifying deliverable supplies, services or construction. Costs are not deliverable supplies, services, or construction. You do not establish a CLIN for a cost. You establish CLINs for deliverable work products.

If the wifi cost will be incurred by the contractor, why was it not  not estimated and included in the firm-fixed-price? If the cost will be incurred by the program office, why would you include it in the contract?

ODC is a cost category for proposal purposes. As a cost, the cost of wifi hotspots used for contract performance strikes me as falling into the other direct cost category. What the heck else would it be?

Are you with DOD?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
35 minutes ago, Vern Edwards said:

There is no such thing!

A CLIN is for specifying deliverable supplies, services or construction. Costs are not deliverable supplies, services, or construction. You do not establish a CLIN for a cost. You establish CLINs for deliverable work products.

If the wifi cost will be incurred by the contractor, why was it not  not estimated and included in the firm-fixed-price? If the cost will be incurred by the program office, why would you include it in the contract?

ODC is a cost category for proposal purposes. As a cost, the cost of wifi hotspots used for contract performance strikes me as falling into the other direct cost category. What the heck else would it be?

Are you with DOD?

I am not sure if you all read all of each post I’ve submitted. Yes I’m DoD. I have stated multiple times that I do not plan to allow this charge. 

As it relates to an ODC CLIN that absolutely is a thing, just as a travel CLIN is a such thing. 

My question was had anyone ever heard of this being done, that keeps being missed.  I am not seeking ways to do it as I don’t agree with the cost. There are BPA in place for these services.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know that you have said you are not going to do it. But I'm surprised that you asked if anyone has heard of anyone doing it. So what if someone has heard of it. It's not the right thing to do.

If you're with DOD, then you must be familiar with DFARS 204.7103-1, which is the rule setting the criteria for establishing a CLIN. DOD does not (or is not supposed to) establish CLINS for costs, direct, indirect, or otherwise. And that includes the cost of travel. CLINs describe supplies or services that the government is supposed to receive from the contractor. The government does not receive travel. It does not inspect or accept travel. Travel is something the contractor does when performing work.

See also PGI 204.7103.

I'm glad that you're not going to do it, but I'm confused by your explanation for why you're not going to do it.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You have said twice that the wifi cost does not fit the definition of ODC. To what definition are you referring?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

To provide more regulatory support for Vern’s point, FAR 2.101 defines “line item” as “the basic structural element in a procurement instrument that describes and organizes the required product or service for pricing, delivery, inspection, acceptance, invoicing, and payment.”  Just as Vern described, line items are for the required end item or service, and require inspection and acceptance.  ODCs are not the required end items or service, they are costs associated with providing the product or service. They do not require inspection and acceptance. If you have made/seen ODC CLINs in the past, I hope that you will not in the future.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/1/2018 at 7:39 AM, C Culham said:

So as I follow the thread my question back to you is what does it matter if anyone has or has not?  

I say this noting that you are clear that you are not going to allow it as an ODC even if a contractor could show you through their accounting system that they in fact make such devices a direct cost rather than covering it in  general and administrative in their accounting structure.  You want the government to provide this service pure and simple.

Seems like an answer to your question does not make a difference in what you want to do so I am lost as to why you are even asking it!

 

I mistakenly thought this forum was a place to ask questions and seek opinions of others. I am NEVER about to get into a spar war with anyone. As a PCO I often like to see what other people at different agencies think about certain things. Not that it will change my outcome but sometimes it does. I never want to be that person with my heels dug I’m so far as to not see other options or a way of looking at things. The rude and sarcastic comments are a bit much. Carry on if you like but that is not my character so I will not join in.

 

thanks.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/1/2018 at 1:41 PM, Vern Edwards said:

I know that you have said you are not going to do it. But I'm surprised that you asked if anyone has heard of anyone doing it. So what if someone has heard of it. It's not the right thing to do.

If you're with DOD, then you must be familiar with DFARS 204.7103-1, which is the rule setting the criteria for establishing a CLIN. DOD does not (or is not supposed to) establish CLINS for costs, direct, indirect, or otherwise. And that includes the cost of travel. CLINs describe supplies or services that the government is supposed to receive from the contractor. The government does not receive travel. It does not inspect or accept travel. Travel is something the contractor does when performing work.

See also PGI 204.7103.

I'm glad that you're not going to do it, but I'm confused by your explanation for why you're not going to do it.

 

This is very interesting. I just responded to someone that I am always open to seeing things differently or other than the way I’ve been taught. I’m pushing pause on this one until I look into it more as to why we’re doing it if it’s not proper.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/1/2018 at 2:38 PM, snydra said:

To provide more regulatory support for Vern’s point, FAR 2.101 defines “line item” as “the basic structural element in a procurement instrument that describes and organizes the required product or service for pricing, delivery, inspection, acceptance, invoicing, and payment.”  Just as Vern described, line items are for the required end item or service, and require inspection and acceptance.  ODCs are not the required end items or service, they are costs associated with providing the product or service. They do not require inspection and acceptance. If you have made/seen ODC CLINs in the past, I hope that you will not in the future.

This is all true and I can’t negate any of it. I’m now wanting to dig further as I’ve been an 1102 for 8 years and a CO for 3 and I must say my organization has always established line items for travel and other direct costs hmmm.....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×