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Guest Vern Edwards
Good Morning,

Is there any regulation, statue, case law, etc., that prohibits a Contracting Officer from being part of the technical evaluation team on source selection acquisitions?

There is no such prohibition in statute, FAR, or in case law. I know of no such prohibition in any agency FAR supplement. I suppose it is possible that there is an agency-specific policy somewhere that prohibits a contracting officer from being a part of the technical evaluation team, I very much doubt it. I have never heard of any such prohibition in 30 years of teaching source selection, so if anybody knows of one I'd be very interested.

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Vern - Don't you think it might actually be helpful in some cases to have the KO be part of or at least an observer to the proceedings? Esp in cases where there is a large variance in price and the KO is the one who has to document the trade-off analysis. Since our Tech team knows nothing about the price proposal until after they've completed their evals, having KO there to prompt for better explanations of why x is so good or y presents a bigger risk can be helpful. If the KO assigned to the procurement can't be there, maybe a CS or even a different KO to give that focus?

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Vern - Don't you think it might actually be helpful in some cases to have the KO be part of or at least an observer to the proceedings? Esp in cases where there is a large variance in price and the KO is the one who has to document the trade-off analysis. Since our Tech team knows nothing about the price proposal until after they've completed their evals, having KO there to prompt for better explanations of why x is so good or y presents a bigger risk can be helpful. If the KO assigned to the procurement can't be there, maybe a CS or even a different KO to give that focus?

woops85,

What you described should be normal practices. Most technical evaluation teams are composed of either people that haven't done evalutions before or it's been so long, they forgot how. The KO and/or CS should provide training in the process and then sit and observe as well as ask/answer questions.

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Guest Vern Edwards
Vern - Don't you think it might actually be helpful in some cases to have the KO be part of or at least an observer to the proceedings? Esp in cases where there is a large variance in price and the KO is the one who has to document the trade-off analysis. Since our Tech team knows nothing about the price proposal until after they've completed their evals, having KO there to prompt for better explanations of why x is so good or y presents a bigger risk can be helpful. If the KO assigned to the procurement can't be there, maybe a CS or even a different KO to give that focus?

I don't understand some of the things that you have said. Ordinarily, the CO is in overall charge of all aspects of a source selection. What "proceedings" are you talking about? What do you mean by "having the KO there"? What "there" are you talking about?

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woops85,

What you described should be normal practices. Most technical evaluation teams are composed of either people that haven't done evalutions before or it's been so long, they forgot how. The KO and/or CS should provide training in the process and then sit and observe as well as ask/answer questions.

I wish it was that easy. I've sat in on the entire evaluation process, and I've had the CS sit in, and as the KO, I was present for the "reporting out" of each offeror's proposal.

Our stakeholders are in DC, or in other regional offices. The KO/CS doesn't know who things are going until the stakeholder sends the TEP report. The only thing the stakeholder asks is "When can I have the cost proposal?" It would be interesting to know if they're evaluating a contractor one at a time, or doing a "comparision" of all the offerors. The quality of the TEP reports would improve if the KO was more involved in the process. Now, you get - pretty much- trash reports, and you're spending time working w/the TEP, JAG, cleaning up the report. Maybe DOD KOs are move involved in the entire source selection process, than civilian agencies, or some agencies respect the integrity of the process more than other agencies.

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In our process the TEB Chair runs the technical evaluation and provides all the training beforehand. The KO is involved in the development of the training and its presentation but is generally not in the room during the consensus discussions after individual evaluations have been completed.

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Guest Vern Edwards
I wish it was that easy. I've sat in on the entire evaluation process, and I've had the CS sit in, and as the KO, I was present for the "reporting out" of each offeror's proposal.

Our stakeholders are in DC, or in other regional offices. The KO/CS doesn't know who things are going until the stakeholder sends the TEP report. The only thing the stakeholder asks is "When can I have the cost proposal?" It would be interesting to know if they're evaluating a contractor one at a time, or doing a "comparision" of all the offerors. The quality of the TEP reports would improve if the KO was more involved in the process. Now, you get - pretty much- trash reports, and you're spending time working w/the TEP, JAG, cleaning up the report. Maybe DOD KOs are move involved in the entire source selection process, than civilian agencies, or some agencies respect the integrity of the process more than other agencies.

I wish I could say something that would be of help to you, but I can't. Take care.

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I know of no prohibition to a having a CO be part of the TEB. I've worked for DOD and a civilian agency and over the years, I have participated in the evalution process in a variety of roles, from voting member to an non-voting advisor and once I was even the TEB chair. Just like the rest of the TEB members, the decision on the role played by the CO/CS should be based on what's being evaluated and whether or not the CO has the expertise to evaluate the information provided in the proposals against the critieria. The one consistent aspect in all of the source selections is that I have always been a active participant. Even when I was not a member of the TEB, I read the proposals and sat in on the discussions to ensure that evaluations were conducted consistently with the FAR requirements and the evaluation plan.

You should conduct training prior to beginning evaluations, but there are always additional questions that come up during the evaluations. The CO/CS should be there to make sure that when questions come up about the process, that the guidance the TEB gets is correct.

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I wish I could say something that would be of help to you, but I can't. Take care.

Just a matter of having all parties undergo a paradigm shift in their thinking. And trying to convince 1102s that if you allow stakeholders to treat you like a glorified clerk, instead of the professional you should be, you'll be a glorfied clerk. But that's a different blog (ha, ha).

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  • 1 month later...
At the VA, the Contracting Officer is the source selection authority and does not chair the board. I was thrilled to find that out!

Yes, VA is surprising in that way. I know of a huge VA project valued at over $1 billion and the Contracting Officer was the selection authority.

I personally don't think that's a good idea on projects that significant. It's extremely rare for a GS-13 or 14 CO to be knowledgable enough about major programs to make those decisions.

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