Jump to content
The Wifcon Forums and Blogs
ANNA L HERNANDEZ

Delegation of CO Authority to Agency Attorney

Recommended Posts

To the degree that an agency prohibits its contracting officers from doing anything without first getting an agency attorney's approval, aren't those attorneys are already acting as de facto contracting officers?  There is no need for a delegation in such a case, as the real decision-making authority rests with the attorney and the contracting officer merely signs whatever the attorney says to sign.

This is not how things should work, but maybe this is a reasonable description of how things actually work in some agencies?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, here is the situation. Micro- independent agency in the process of being phased out.  CO with only warrant  in the Agency who is ready to retire.  Need to lay out options to the Agency Head. Have an in-house Attorney with excellent credentials and experience. Can the Director delegate obligation and signature authority to this Attorney for any remaining contracts that may come after CO retires or does it have to be a warranted federal contracts person? Is the alternative to find another federal agency willing to provide these services?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, ANNA L HERNANDEZ said:

Can the Director delegate obligation and signature authority to this Attorney for any remaining contracts that may come after CO retires or does it have to be a warranted federal contracts person?

How would the Director delegate authority to the attorney other than through issuing the attorney a warrant?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Some hold contracting authority because of a warrant.  Some hold contracting authority by virtue of their position.  Many agency heads hold contracting authority by virtue of their position.  Does yours?  If so, maybe he or she can sign whatever the attorney recommends?

Otherwise, hiring a replacement or looking for another agency might make sense.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
26 minutes ago, ANNA L HERNANDEZ said:

So, the question should be does the Director  have the authority to issue a warrant to an in-house Attorney?

Can your well-experienced and well-credentialed attorney answer this question?  He or she will want to pay attention to FAR subpart 1.6 and whatever outside documents it references, such as an OFPP policy memo.

I have been in agencies where non-1102s could hold limited warrants for specialty purchases, like fuel and medicines.  They could make purchases, but could not do everything such as deciding claims.  These were also limited in dollar amount.  But unlimited warrants for non1102s might run afoul of FAC-C certification requirements and so forth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All CO delegations flow from the Head of the Contracting Activity, correct?  Who is the HCA?  

1 hour ago, ANNA L HERNANDEZ said:

Micro- independent agency in the process of being phased out.

If it's not an Executive Branch agency, the Director can pretty much do whatever they want regarding CO warrants.  I was granted one by the Judicial Branch with no questions asked. Good thing I was a DAWIA Level III going in, eh?

1 hour ago, ANNA L HERNANDEZ said:

does it have to be a warranted federal contracts person?

I assume because we are talking about the granting of warrants that you meant "certified federal contracts person"?

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, ANNA L HERNANDEZ said:

Micro- independent agency in the process of being phased out. 

Is your agency subject to the FAR?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

1. Who can issue the warrant?

From this reference, it looks like maybe the Commissioner of the Office of Navajo and Hopi Indian Relocation has authority to issue the warrant.

https://www.onhir.gov/N-H-Settlement-Act-titled.pdf

If the Office instead uses contracting authority (and authority to issue warrants) from somewhere else, such as through the Bureau of Indian Affairs or the Department of Interior, then get them to issue the warrant.

Here's a thought. Who issued your warrant? Get that person to also issue this warrant.

2. Does it matter if the warrant is issued to an "in-house attorney"?

If the person getting the warrant is also an attorney, then the person is a contracting officer who happens to be an attorney. If the person is also a CPA accountant, then the person is a contracting officer who happens to be a CPA accountant. A better question is "Can the in-house attorney properly execute the duties of both a contracting officer and the in-house attorney?" "Will the attorney review his own work for legal sufficiency?" "Who will the contracting officer contact for legal advice, himself?" 

3. You need to contact a larger agency with more resources, such as Department of Interior or Bureau of Indian Affairs. Getting advice for something like this from an online forum is questionable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

4. Whatever you decide, write and sign a memorandum of what you did and why you did it. Do not include Wifcon or voices from the Internet in your list of references. Get more than one person to sign the memorandum. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your attorney candidate ought to be able to answer all of the questions you  and the others here asked. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Since you posted this under “contract administration, rather than the “contracting workforce” category, are you really looking for an “administrative contracting officer” to administer contracts? The Head of the Agency ought to be able to award contracts and decide claims, if you need an ACO with limited modification authority to administer and close out contracts. The ACO would still halve to be issued a KO warrant. 

Your lawyer can also reseach that option. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...