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  2. Nearly 90% of women-owned small business sole source contracts reviewed by the SBA Office of Inspector General were improper, according to a startling report issued yesterday. In the study, the SBA OIG concluded that because of pervasive flaws in the award of WOSB and EDWOSB sole source contracts, “there was no assurance that these contracts were awarded to firms that were eligible to receive sole-source awards under the Program.” And if that wasn’t enough, the SBA OIG reiterated its position that, as a legal matter, it is improper to award any WOSB or EDWOSB sole source contract to a self-certified company. The SBA OIG studied 56 WOSB and EDWOSB sole source contracts awarded between January 1, 2016 and April 30, 2017. This pool “represented 81 percent of the Program’s contracts awarded on a sole-source basis for this time period.” The results were startling: SBA OIG determined that “Federal agencies’ contracting officers and firms did not comply with Federal regulations for 50 of the 56 Program sole-source contracts, valued at $52.2 million.” As a result, there was no assurance that these contracts were awarded to eligible WOSBs and EDWOSBs. Before awarding a WOSB or EDWOSB contract (whether set-aside or sole source), the Contracting Officer is required to confirm that the WOSB or EDWOSB has provided certain supporting documentation to the certify.sba.gov portal. But SBA OIG found that “contracting officers awarded 18 contracts, valued at $11.7 million, on a sole-source basis” to companies with no documentation in the system. Thirty-two sole source contracts were awarded to companies with incomplete documentation in the system. “Awarding contracts to potentially ineligible firms eliminates contracting opportunities for eligible businesses,” the SBA OIG wrote. “Further, the results associated with the Federal Government’s goals for contracting with WOSBs may be overstated, and the public and Congress may not know to which the Program has addressed underrepresentation.” The SBA OIG pointed out that the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, which allowed WOSBs to receive sole source contracts, also required the SBA to implement a formal certification program for WOSBs and EDWOSBs. However, although the SBA implemented the sole source authority in October 2015, “SBA has not issued regulations pertaining to a certification progress for the Program.” An SBA official interviewed by the SBA OIG “estimated that it will take at least another year to actually implement a certification process.” Citing the plain language of the 2015 NDAA, SBA OIG repeated an opinion it has previously expressed–that it is against the law to award WOSB or EDWOSB sole source contracts to self-certified companies. “OIG firmly contends that the enabling legislation limited eligibility for sole-source contracts to certified entities,” the SBA OIG wrote. The SBA OIG report notes that the SBA’s government contracting leadership disagrees with this conclusion, but doesn’t explain the leadership’s legal rationale for doing so. This isn’t the first time that an oversight body has questioned whether WOSB and EDWOSB self-certification may be causing ineligible companies to win set-aside and sole source contracts. Just last summer, the GAO concluded that WOSB and EDWOSB self-certification may allow “potentially ineligible businesses” to receive contracts. In a 2015 report, the SBA OIG found that 15 of 34 WOSB set-aside awards were improper. The same year, the SBA OIG pushed the SBA to quickly implement a formal certification program, stating that self-certification “exposes the program to abuse.” Two years earlier, the NASA Inspector General issued a report suggesting that incorrect WOSB self-certifications may be pervasive. The 2015 NDAA became law on December 19, 2014. We’re approaching four years since Congress eliminated WOSB self-certification. But despite repeated pushes from watchdogs like GAO and SBA OIG, the SBA has yet to even propose regulations to implement a government-wide WOSB and EDWOSB certification program. I cut the SBA some slack early on, because there’s no doubt that implementing a brand new certification program is a complex process, requiring careful thought and a thorough understanding of potential options and resources. But enough is enough. At this point, I can only conclude that despite repeated reports about pervasive problems with self-certification, implementing the WOSB certification program simply isn’t a priority for the SBA. That’s a shame because reports like the one the SBA OIG issued yesterday make clear that WOSB self-certification just isn’t working well. A cynic might wonder if the SBA is dragging its feet because requiring WOSB certification could torpedo the Government’s already-low WOSB goaling achievements. I doubt that’s the case–I bet the SBA’s hesitance is probably more about the significant time and resources and time needed to implement the certification program. I’m also not sure that the Small Business Act, as amended by the 2015 NDAA, requires the government to discontinue counting self-certified WOSBs for goaling purposes. As I read it, the statute very clearly prohibits set-aside and sole source contracts from being awarded to self-certified companies, but doesn’t necessarily preclude the government from counting self-certified companies toward its annual goals. It will be interesting to see what the SBA’s lawyers make of it. I’ve long predicted that a formal certification program ultimately will increase WOSB awards. If I were a Contracting Officer, I’d be tempted to skimp on WOSB contracts because of the added administrative burden involved in checking for supporting documents, as well as a lack of confidence that self-certified bidders truly qualify. A formal certification program will eliminate the additional administrative requirement while giving Contracting Officers much-needed assurances their WOSB awardees really are eligible. View the full article
  3. Today
  4. I didn't know this. Do you mean SB or 8(a)? Are you basing this on anecdotal evidence, or are there statistics on this?
  5. I think the question of SB's contribution to the economy, etc., is irrelevant to the issue of Part 19 and socioeconomic contracting programs in general. This belief is based on the fact that federal contracting is not, and never has been, solely about obtaining the lowest price, which is the implication behind saying LB's are more efficient, innovative, etc. If efficiency was the metric for who receives Federal contracts, there would be exactly 3 contractors receiving all Federal procurement dollars (gotta' get your 3 prices after all). The issue is the equitable distribution of taxpayer funds. The fact is that regardless of their objective merit, SB's exist in large numbers in this country, and there is no justification for them not receiving some of the public monies spent in the commercial marketplace. Hence the 'socio' prefix before 'economic'. Do SB programs in general achieve their stated goal of growing SB's into stable, successful, going business concerns? Probably not, because as we all know, they tend to rely on their SB status until they graduate, at which point they wander around the open-market contracting wilderness, threadbare and clueless, until they stumble off a cliff. But when has effectiveness ever mattered in government?
  6. Oy, Well, it's only fair that I take some blame here. When I wrote my initial post, I assumed everyone knew that cut-off dates made perfect sense for industry. The question should have been: "Why does a cut-off date make sense for the Government?*" and then, "*'Earlier Award Date' is not an acceptable answer." I would include this caveat because the price for that earlier award date probably isn't worth it. If I was a contractor and the Government agreed to a cut-off date, my first thought would be, "I guess I'm in the market for yachts now?!" Perhaps that's why Mr. Edwards is promoting this idea? Do you need a yacht to fit in with all your contractor friends, sir? I mean, I have heard that people collect exotic animals to keep up with the extravagant purchases of their peers, so why not yachts? Or, maybe you have your eye on a certain, special giraffe? Random Thought: If the business practices of private industry are as efficient as everyone says they are, I am surprised that lag times pose such a huge problem. I know, I don't understand what industry is like, do I? I cannot even begin to imagine how hard it is to be a business in the U.S., especially those that work with the DoD. Is it the cash flow? Is the financing too good? The Government certainly doesn't do enough to accommodate industry, that's for sure. What's your concern, Contractor Vern? The memo is toothless. Contractors aren't going to start certifying within five business days. However, the memo, flawed as it is, draws attention to an issue that can have a huge impact on schedule to award. The attention given to the issue in this memo has allowed my program to begin having constructive conversations with our contractors on how data sweep timelines can be reduced. Maybe you're mad DPAP stated that maybe, just maybe, industry is responsible for some schedule delays? That schedule slips aren't always the Government's fault? Is that the problem? The outrageous idea that industry can have a negative impact on schedule, just like the Government? I wonder. You are an interesting fellow, Vern. Oh, and you spelled snarky wrong. There is no "e" in the word. Ha, I'm just joking around with you Vern... I hope you know this. You're awesome and I had a lot of fun.
  7. REA'n Maker

    Negotiation Skills and Tactics

    It's quite simple, really: deception is only acceptable to those who approach a negotiation as a transaction, rather than part and parcel of a professional business relationship. You only get to deceive once, because once you do it, you have destroyed the relationship, and therefore, any potential for future equitable negotiations between the parties is gone. Deception is short-sighted, destructive to your reputation, and not in the government's best interests because it demonstrates bad faith. synonyms: deceit, deceitfulness, duplicity, double-dealing, fraud, cheating, trickery, chicanery, deviousness, lying, pretense, treachery; informal crookedness, Yes, Virginia, there is a difference between a used car lot and a government contract negotiation. (For REA'n Maker's small-brained old yellow coots only: If my grandmother has wheels, does that make her a bicycle? 😋)
  8. Retreadfed

    SCA

    Lotus, in regard to scenario 2 is the contract a definitized contract or a letter contract?
  9. Vern Edwards

    SCA

    It has everything to do with it in the scenarios that lotus gave us. You have described a different set of facts than lotus described. In both of lotus's scenarios there is no discussion/negotiation of conformance classifications before contract award. Conformance and referral to DoL begins after contract award and is thus governed by the clause. Those were the scenarios on which I based my analysis. It seems to me that those scenarios are the bases on which we should discuss this, but you have chosen a different course. The wording you used to describe what you would do confuses me a little, but I think I get the general idea. You appear to have described a sole source acquisition. The parties would negotiate an agreement about price adjustment prior to contract award and an agreement on price adjustment terms pertaining to the outcome of the conformance process. I presume that the parties would negotiate a special clause to implement their agreement. That might work, it's just not what lotus presented us with. If I were a reviewer I'd ask why you want to agree to such an adjustment when FAR and 52.222-41 do not provide for it. I suppose you'd say something about "fairness." If the acquisition were competitive, then what you propose might work if you described your procedure in the solicitation and did the same with all offerors in the competitive range. I'm sure that the offerors would welcome it. The risk is that you might get an outside-the-scope-of-the competition protest when you modified the winner's contract to adjust the price if the adjustment changed the winner's price standing and raised an issue about the technical/price tradeoff on which the decision were based.
  10. lotus

    SCA

    Thanks for the opinions, guys. Reading through this my reactions are 1. Who would ever bid on SCA work. since it appears the Govt can retroactively demand that higher wages be paid without a price adjustment. 2. I can see why some companies run, not walk, away from SCA work. 3. The contractor is in a no win situation.
  11. C Culham

    SCA

    So what does the clause 52.222-41 have to do with it? Nothing I say. Contractor at negotiation says that she will need to conform. CO and contractor agree and understand its DOLs call on a conformed rate. CO and contractor agree to a CLIN using the closest stated wage (the clerk1) which they hope DOL will accept and also add a T&M optional labor category via a CLIN, priced, in case they might be wrong on the rate that contractor is proposing and CO agrees with. The optional rate/CLIN is based on mutual agreement at negotiation table that DOL might go two bucks higher in the worst case. Option is conditioned that option will only be taken pursuant to DOL none acceptance of proposed rate. All the other stuff happens and contractor (either as sole source or competitive that allows for negotiation) is selected for award. Contractor submits 1444 prior to contract performance (after award) to CO who due to negotiations agrees with proposed wage rate. CO sends to DOL who has their say. Option exercised or not. In this example it is a negotiated stipulation with regard to an optional T&M labor category available on the contract. Option Clause will be stated on the SF30 exercising the option. Pulling in FAR 52.222-41 has nothing to do with it because it's not a price adjustment its exercising an option. I believe this way of handling could work even with using an unpriced option, it just makes the evaluation process for award when negotiations are allowed a little more complicated.
  12. By Heather Mims Currently, an unsuccessful offeror may file a protest with the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) and, if the protest is denied, file suit at the United States Court of Federal Claims (“COFC”). However, the Department of Defense (“DOD”) sought to change that. On April 3, 2018, the DOD submitted its Fourth Package of Legislative Proposals Sent to Congress for Inclusion in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019. Of particular interest to contractors, DOD sought to amend the Tucker Act to impose timeliness rules at the COFC (“COFC”) where no specifical timeliness rules have existed. Specifically, DOD sought to impose timeliness rules that mirror those of the GAO, which would mean that a contractor would have to file a protest at the COFC within ten days of when it knew or should have known of its protest ground. Therefore, a contractor would be forced to choose its venue and file its bid protest within these initial ten days. In fact, DOD’s proposal specifically modifies the Tucker Act to state that under no circumstances will the COFC consider a protest that is untimely because it was first filed at the GAO. However, the DOD’s proposal does not limit agency-level protests. As such, a contractor could still submit a protest to the agency and, if denied, either file a protest at the GAO or submit a claim at the COFC within ten days of the agency’s denial. While the Senate’s proposed National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2019 did not include this suggested change, it does require the Secretary of Defense to carry out a study of the frequency and effects of bid protests involving the same DOD contract award or proposed award that have been filed at both the GAO and the COFC. It also requires the Secretary to establish a data collection system to better track and analyze bid protest trends in the future. This decision comes after Fiscal Year 2017’s NDAA required “a comprehensive study on the prevalence and impact of bid protests on Department of Defense acquisitions, including protests filed with contracting agencies, the Government Accountability Office, and the Court of Federal Claims.” The RAND Corporation was commissioned to provide this study; its report, provided to Congress in December 2017, found that the number of COFC cases that previously appeared at the GAO may be increasing but “this potential trend needs further research.” Thus, it appears that Congress is seriously considering DOD’s proposal as it has requested further research on this topic. Don’t be surprised if you see DOD propose this legislative change again next year! About the Author: Heather Mims Associate Attorney Heather Mims is an associate attorney at Centre Law & Consulting. Her practice is primarily focused on government contracts law, employment law, and litigation. Heather graduated magna cum laude from the George Mason School of Law where she was the Senior Research Editor for the Law Review and a Writing Fellow. The post DOD Attempted to Drastically Shorten Bid Protest Deadline at Court of Federal Claims appeared first on Centre Law & Consulting. View the full article
  13. Vern Edwards

    SCA

    So you have a time-and-materials service contract with a number of service employees who must be paid at least the wage specified in a wage determination. Suppose that the contractor decides to conform certain of those employees to the classification "General Clerk 1." The wage rate/hourly rate for that classification is $16 per hour. The CO agrees to that classification and forwards SF 1444, Request for Authorization of Additional Classification and Rate, to Department of Labor (DOL) for review. DOL rejects the conformance and determines that a classification with a wage rate of $20 is applicable. The question is whether the contractor can get an upward adjustment of its hourly rates. FAR 52.222-41 specifies the conformance procedure. The CO's agreement to a conformance, as indicated by signature on SF 1444, is not a contract price agreement. It is just an classification agreement between the parties that is subject to DOL approval. The parties hope, but do not know, that DOL will approve. The Service Contract Act clauses, FAR 52.222-41 and, as mentioned by bremen, FAR 52.222-43, prescribe the conformance procedure and make no provision for a contract price adjustment in the event DOL rejects a conformance agreement and imposes a different classification with a higher wage rate. In the case of the scenario described in my first paragraph, suppose that the contractor asks for a price adjustment. Can the CO agree, as proposed by Carl: Presuming that the contractor read the contract, it knows what the conformance procedure is to be and that there is no provision for an adjustment in the clause that prescribes the procedure. A wage determination does not specify the contract price for an employee's work. No standard contract clause conditions the contract price upon DOL approval of the proposed conformance. The CO's signature on SF 1444 does not indicate that the contract price is conditioned upon DOL approval. Thus, contractually, the government is not obligated to agree to an adjustment. So, even assuming that the CO has authority to agree to such an adjustment, the CO would have to get consideration from the contractor in return. The CO couldn't just agree to an adjustment out of the goodness of his or her heart. He or she would have to get something in exchange. But I question the CO's authority to agree to such an adjustment. The CO would, in effect, be making policy, and I think it would be a FAR deviation, because FAR addresses conformance and makes no provision for an adjustment in the event of DOL disapproval. If I were a reviewer or an approving official, I would reject any agreement to an adjustment. I have not consulted the Service Contract Act literature or case law, and I don't know that I'm right on the basis of rules or past decisions. I'm just thinking out loud, so to speak.
  14. Vern Edwards

    SCA

    Here's lotus's 1st scenario: Note: 1. "No requests for SCA wage conformance are made." 2. "Questions about the proper wage arise. Eventually the decision is made by DoL and hence the contracting officer that $20.00 per hour is appropriate." I don't understand 2. It does not appear that the WD was wrong. It appears that the contractor's link between its workers and the appropriate wage rate was wrong. If that's true, then the contractor is "hosed." lotus's second scenario, seems to be what Carl was addressing. There is a wage conformance, but DOL disagrees with it. I still think the contractor is "hosed," even if the CO agreed with the contractor's conformance.
  15. joel hoffman

    SCA

    Vern, I was apparently mistaken as to Carl’s scenario, of which I was responding to. I interpreted his scenario as one where the parties were negotiating the contract price, based upon using wage rates from the government provided wage decision. In lotus’s scenario, it appeared to me that the wage decision used the wrong classification for all 200 employees. If both parties were negotiating the price based upon what they thought was the correct classification, subject to DOL determination, then the price could be based upon a mutual mistake. However, it now appears to be a situation where the firm proposed a wage rate that wasn’t listed in the wage decision and initiated a conforming process, proposing an alternate wage and fringe rate for all the employees. So my assumed scenario isn’t applicable.
  16. Yesterday
  17. bremen

    SCA

    Does the contract contain 52.222-43 Fair Labor Standards Act and Service Contract Labor Standards—Price Adjustment (Multiple Year and Option Contracts)? If so, that may offer a solution to the problem.
  18. Vern Edwards

    SCA

    I don't know. I don't necessarily think it would be a deviation. I'm just trying to consider every possible angle and anticipate any possible objection by staff upon review. FAR 52.222-41(c), Compensation, subparagraph (2) discusses the conformance procedure and makes no mention of an adjustment to the contract price if DOL rejects the conformance and requires a higher rate of pay. The only mention of price adjustment in the clause is in paragraph (c)(3), which says nothing about a price adjustment in such a case. FAR 1.102 does not say you can do anything as long as it's not prohibited. FAR 1.102(d) says: FAR 1.102-4(e) says: Well, FAR 52.222-41 does specifically address conformance, compensation, and price adjustment, provides for a price adjustment in a specific instance, which does not include cases such as the one presented by lotus. So how would you explain and justify such an adjustment if someone argued that it would deviate from the clause? I think a CO would want to be prepared to show that agreeing to such an adjustment was in the government's best interest. What would the CO cite as authority on the SF30 under which the adjustment is made. She couldn't cite FAR 52.222-41. It she wrote "mutual agreement," what would she cite for authority to make such an agreement. I'm not objecting to your idea. I'm just trying to think it through. You have to anticipate objections.
  19. C Culham

    SCA

    Never did it related to SCA but have regarding other issues of unknowns. Remember specifically using an added option to do so. Deviation, why? It's not changing anything the FAR says you cant do. It's a negotiated stipulation. Fits FAR 1.102(d) too.
  20. I agree that is the reasonable approach and interpretation of the clause. Thank you for your response. As a follow up to my original question related to records, our prime contract was recently updated to include the clause DEAR 970.5204-3 (Oct 2014), Access to and Ownership of Records. As required, we incorporated this clause into all subcontracts that contain the clause DEAR 952.223-71 (which is on our prime). My interpretation of the clause is that it imposes an obligation on the subcontractor to hold all government and contractor owned records generated in performance of the subcontract in accordance with 36 CFR Ch 12, Subpart B Records Management and the NARA approved disposition schedules. The NARA approved disposition schedules are significantly longer than the 3 year requirement. It seems to me to be completely unreasonable, for say a small business subcontractor, to have to follow a records retention requirement of 56 years for payroll records. Note the deviation has not been incorporated into our prime contract, which would allow the prime to take on the record retention requirements in lieu of the subcontractor. Thoughts? Am I interpreting this requirement correctly in terms of records retention?
  21. The prime contract clause doesn't answer your question, does it? That clause says "similar," not identical. So what makes sense? It seems to me that it makes sense to require the sub to retain records until three years after final payment on the subcontract. If you can't buy that, then ask the DOE contracting officer.
  22. Our prime contract contains the clause DEAR 970.5232-3 (June 2007) Alt 1 (Dec 2000), which in short requires the prime contractor to retain records for 3 years after final payment on the prime contract or as otherwise agreed to with the government. The flow down provision requires a "similar" clause be inserted into all subcontracts where costs incurred are a factor in determining the amount payable to the subcontractor. My question is should the flow down to subcontracts match the retention period of the prime? In other words, does this clause mandate subcontractors to retain records for 3 years after final payment on the prime contract or is 3 years after final payment on their subcontract compliant with the flow down requirement?
  23. Vern Edwards

    Negotiation Skills and Tactics

    From Kissinger the Negotiator, under the heading Genuine Empathy or Duplicity, pp. 219-222: But how should that inform us about negotiating government contracts?
  24. As Koprince Law attorneys have discussed in depth, GAO will in some instances award costs for a clearly meritorious protest where an agency does not take corrective action before the due date for the agency report. But what are the standards for a “clearly meritorious” protest? It’s instructive to look at a recent GAO decision that reviewed protest grounds dealing with past performance evaluation and a requirement that the Army be able to set up the proposed product within 60 seconds. In HESCO Bastion Ltd., B-415526.3, (April 3, 2018), GAO reviewed a request by HESCO Bastion Ltd. for reasonable costs after it protested an award to JSF Systems, LLC. Under the RFP, the Army sought HESCO brand name or equal earth-filled barriers conducted under FAR part 12 and part 13. The RFP sought the Lowest Price Technically Acceptable proposal. Proposals would be rated acceptable or unacceptable based on factors including prior experience and past performance. The prior experience factor required a demonstration of 2 years of experience, within the last 5 years, manufacturing earth-filled barriers for the government. For past performance, offerors had to show details about “recent and relevant contracts for the same or similar items.” The requested items had to be HESCO brand name or equal earth-filled barriers–CART and RAID configurations, as marketed by HESCO. To be an equal product, both products must be deployed in a maximum of 60 seconds, and the RAID product had to contain “uilt rails inside for easy deployment.” The Army made award to JSF, finding its proposed products met all requirements. HESCO protested award to JSF. After initially defending the protest by filing an agency report, the Army took corrective action. HESCO then requested reimbursement of its protest costs. The basic rule is that GAO can recommend that an agency reimburse protest costs where GAO decides “that the agency unduly delayed taking corrective action in the face of a clearly meritorious protest, thereby causing a protester to expend unnecessary time and resources to make further use of the protest process in order to obtain relief.” A clearly meritorious protest is one where, reasonably, the agency had no “defensible legal position.” Normally, corrective action is prompt if taken before the agency report’s due date. In this case, with respect to whether the protest was clearly meritorious, GAO looked at each of the three protest grounds in turn to see if the agency really had a leg to stand on. First, HESCO argued JSF did not have the necessary experience where the RFP required at least 2 years of experience within the last 5 years manufacturing earth-filled barriers for the government. The agency report argued that, because JSF had experience with “delivery of earth-filled barriers” and its subcontractor had manufacturing experience, JSF met the requirement. GAO was not persuaded, holding that delivery is not the same as manufacture and the subcontractor certification was expired on its face. Second, JSF’s past performance did not meet the requirement to provide “detailed information on the contracts” of subcontractors because the proposal didn’t include all required information and the subcontractor’s required certification was expired. Plus, the Army did not evaluate whether past performance for the offeror showed recent and relevant contracts. Third, with respect to JSF’s proposed products, the Army determined that both the CART and RAID or equal products, which similarly required a maximum 60 second deployment, were evaluated as “[r]apid deployment.” The Army also determined the RAID or equal product had built rails for easy deployment, because the proposal specification sheet described the offered product as “easy to deploy by pulling open, positioning and filling.” GAO held, in a less than shocking result, that “rapid” is not the same as 60 seconds, and “pulling open, positioning, and filling” is not the same as “built rails.” In sum, then, GAO held that the documents in the Army’s position “did not provide a legally defensible basis for the agency’s position.” GAO recommended the Army reimburse costs to HESCO. As the HESCO Bastion case demonstrates, “clearly meritorious” is a high (but not impossible) standard to meet. For the protester to recover costs, the agency’s position must be legally indefensible, that is, blatantly wrong. View the full article
  25. Matthew Fleharty

    Negotiation Skills and Tactics

    Is that so?
  26. Vern Edwards

    SCA

    Suppose you do that and lotus's scenario comes about. Would the record of negotiations enable the contractor to get a price adjustment? On the basis of what contract clause or legal doctrine could the contractor lay claim to a price adjustment?
  27. joel hoffman

    SCA

    How about documenting the basis of negotiation in the record of negotiations and in a “memorandum of agreement” (MOA) or a “memorandum of understanding” (MOU)? I’ve seen that idone and have done it, although not for the specific purpose mentioned here.
  28. Vern Edwards

    Negotiation Skills and Tactics

    I think some people are making a distinction between what is often true and what should be true, and I don't consider that to be a sign of naiveté. It's one thing to say that people do engage in deception. It is another thing entirely to say that they should. It seems to me that the question at this point ought not to be what people do, but what they should do in government contract negotiations. Does anyone think that people should engage in deception in government contract negotiations? Should contractors try to deceive contracting officers in pursuit of a favorable deal? Should contracting officers try to deceive contractors? If so, please explain what you mean by deception and what limits, if any, ought to apply. If you don't do this, the silly, pointless back and forth that you're having will continue ad nauseam. It's pretty much at that point now.
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