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Desparado

Contract Level CO Responsibility

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Situation:  A CO at a headquarters contracting office awards multiple award IDIQ contracts for a service.  There are multiple offices across the US that have contracting officers that will place task orders against these contracts.  The task order level COs are fully warranted for an amount that covers the task orders they will be awarding/administering.  The HQ CO has no supervisory responsibility over the task order COs whatsoever.  In fact, there is no "hard line" supervisory responsibility between the HQ contracting office and the field contracting offices.

Questions: What responsibility, if any, does the contract level CO (at HQ) have in oversight of the task order contracting officers and their ordering/administration of their task orders?  If it is found later that the task order level COs have done things improperly (not unethical, just wrong... like not following ordering procedures, etc), what liability does the HQ CO face, if any?

I have an opinion but would like to hear yours first as I don't want to bias any comments. 

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Excellent question... No, more in terms of internal reviews/audits.  How much could the contract level CO be held responsible for the actions of the others?  Do they have any responsibility?  Do they have to do any oversight as the contract level CO?

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I think a good starting point in looking for answers would be the contract level CO's PD and the contract.  There does not seem to be any inherent obligations to manage the TO level COS by the contract level CO.

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1 hour ago, Desparado said:

How much could the contract level CO be held responsible for the actions of the others?  Do they have any responsibility?  Do they have to do any oversight as the contract level CO?

Not the exact answer you are looking for but "not following procedures" could lead to possible breach of contract issues.  I say this without all the details but in the end the contract level CO could find themselves in a real bind trying to work out of potential breach issues.    The hammer in my view is held by the contract level CO in that they could simply provide that an ordering CO's ability to place an order is removed by the contract level CO if the issues are so serious that it makes sense to do so.

 

 

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On 11/17/2018 at 3:54 AM, Desparado said:

Questions: What responsibility, if any, does the contract level CO (at HQ) have in oversight of the task order contracting officers and their ordering/administration of their task orders? 

If it is found later that the task order level COs have done things improperly (not unethical, just wrong... like not following ordering procedures, etc), what liability does the HQ CO face, if any?

The CO and their COR (if assigned) have some responsibilities outlined in FAR 1.602-2 and 1.604. (Also, FAR 16.505( b )(8) establishes a requirement for a Task-Order Ombudsman ... "The ombudsman must review complaints from contractors and ensure they are afforded a fair opportunity to be considered, consistent with the procedures in the contract." Might ask the Ombudsman and the IDIQ CO's leadership what is expected.)

If the IDIQ CO finds out the ordering offices are misusing the contract they may have a responsibility to act related to or arisng from the Task-Order Contract. If there is a dispute, the disputes clause may apply (see also, Ombudsman). What liability, if any, the IDIQ CO could face for unauthorized commitments, etc. of the ordering activity is not known to me.

*FAR Subparts 8.4 and 16.5 seem to place a lot of responsibility for compliance with the ordering activities; GSA has a program in place to monitor compliance of their MAS'; presumably each agencies IG, Agency Head and their delegates have inspection programs and reviews that would consider and manage the risk of noncompliance.

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