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  1. Today
  2. If you noticed that the discussion board was offline a moment ago, it was because I was adding an upgrade to correct problems with the earlier upgrade.
  3. GAO just issued a thought provoking decision on this matter: https://www.gao.gov/products/B-417248?utm_campaign=usgao_email&utm_content=gcdecisions&utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery#mt=e-report
  4. Maybe I'm grossly misunderstanding this, but wouldn't RAM for servers typically fall under an exception for Section 508, specifically that at FAR 39.204(d): Given that understanding, I don't know why any HHS policies relevant to Section 508 would apply. But I have no experience with HHSAR.
  5. Are you asking if you can make direct charges under the CPFF contract for an employee who is not doing contract work?
  6. We have an employee who lives overseas in country A but also works in country A under our DOD prime contract and is eligible to receive HOLA, COLA & DBA under our CPFF contract. The employee has gone on short term disability and will soon go on long term disability. Can the Govt. still be invoiced for HOLA and COLA & DBA during both short and long term disability absences? or should we, as the prime contractor, pay these costs directly (and not expect reimbursement from the govt?). How should these allowances be handled and is there any specific guidance for these circumstances ?
  7. In a recent GAO bid protest, IBM Corp. accused a subcontractor of giving its proposal to a competitor. GAO dismissed the accusation, explaining that at its core, alleged corporate espionage is a disagreement between two parties, not a contractor and the federal government and therefore not an appropriate matter for resolution in a bid protest. The protest itself was over the Department of Homeland Security Transportation Security Administration’s task order award to Accenture Federal Services, LLC under the Enterprise Acquisition Gateway for Leading Edge Solutions (EAGLE) II contract. The task order award asked Accenture to supply information technology support services to the TSA. The issue, according to IBM—in this and a previous protest—was that an employee of one of IBM’s subcontractors had accessed a restricted TSA website and given IBM’s bid proposal to Accenture. IBM argued that this was a violation of the Procurement Integrity Act and that an adequate investigation would have eliminated Accenture from the competition. In response to IBM’s first protest, TSA took corrective action and agreed to conduct an investigation. The investigation included reviewing the contents of the employee’s laptop and comparing IBM’s proposal to Accenture’s to see if there was any evidence of IBM’s corporate secrets. GAO’s decision does not detail the results of the investigation, but does say that TSA turned the results over to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland and it declined to prosecute. Thereafter, the contracting officer concluded that there was no evidence a violation of the Act occurred. TSA again selected Accenture for award. IBM protested again. Specifically, it claimed that this employee, identified in the decision only as John Doe, was a network architect who misappropriated information including team member identities and other non-public information such as IBM’s software development and transition approach. IBM claimed that Accenture knew John Doe was under a non-disclosure agreement and that it violated the Procurement Integrity Act when he allegedly provided the information. IBM argued Accenture should be kept out of the competition. TSA and Accenture both argued that GAO should dismiss the protest because the Procurement Integrity Act requires improper conduct by the government or current or former government personnel—not the case here. GAO ultimately agreed. It said, “the allegations involve a private dispute between private parties that is not for our consideration as part of our bid protest function.” Further, “To the extent John Doe breached his [non-disclosure agreement] with IBM or other obligations to IBM or IBM’s subcontractor, and Accenture may have committed a tort in inducing such a breach or accepting such allegedly misappropriated information, these matters present private disputes between private parties, which we do not consider as part of our bid protest function.” Because “IBM’s protest fails to allege any wrongdoing on the part of the government,” it “fails to state a legally sufficient allegation of a [Procurement Integrity Act] violation,” GAO said. In other words, corporate espionage typically is none of GAO’s concern. View the full article
  8. I agree that A-E is not commercial. Construction is also not commercial. FAR 31.601-3(d) tells us not to use FAR part 13 procedures for A-E.
  9. If equal, "score" equal. The mechanism to address this problem is to change the source selection process. There is no mechanism to address this problem if the source selection process allows it to happen. PepeTheFrog agrees with Don Manfield's critique and seconds ji20874's suggestion of oral presentations (which can be like structured "interviews" of the offerors, depending on how you devise them). Another suggestion is to pivot to evaluation factors that cannot be gamed with canned essays, such as past performance.
  10. Question - Can a FAR part 13 BPA be used to acquire A&E Services? Scenario - Agency has utilized multiple award IDIQs to acquire A&E services. Selection and award of task orders under the IDIQs follow FAR part 36.6/Brooks Act procedures. Agency is now considering use of multiple BPAs in lieu of using IDIQs. Previous TO awards were both below and above $250k and it is expected calls under the proposed BPA approach will be similar. I have researched and have found only one example of an agency using a BPA in this manner. I have also done general research including review as best as possible of GAO protests. After a read and re-read of FAR 36.6 I feel use of a BPA is inconsistent with the FAR/Brooks Act as a call against a BPA is not a negotiated procurement in the sense as used in FAR 36.6 and FAR part 15. Additionally use of a BPA for needs above $250k suggests that an A&E service is a commercial item and I note that that there are those that feel that A&E is not inclusive of the FAR definition of a commercial item. References to support any response to the question would be appreciated.
  11. This is a concept appropriate to FAR subpart 15.3, Source Selection. However, when one is not using procedures of FAR subpart 15.3, Source Selection, (such as when ordering against a schedule contract or a multiple-award IDIQ contract, or when using simplified procedures), offer-to-offer (or quote-to-quote) comparisons are fine.
  12. Yesterday
  13. How about oral presentations in lieu of paper technical proposals? See FAR 15.102 for helpful guidance -- even though this guidance is in FAR part 15, it can also be helpful to acquisitions not covered by FAR part 15 (such as orders against schedule contracts (FAR subpart 8.4) and orders against IDIQ contracts (FAR 16.505(b)(1)). Problem avoided, and better results obtained. Too many offerors? Do a down-select — maybe evaluate experience and technical concept on paper for all offerors, and invite a small subset to participate in oral presentations an submit price proposals.
  14. What are your facts? Is a cost-reimbursement contractor asking for GFP when none was promised in the contract?
  15. There is no rule that addresses your question, if that's what your asking for. The Government encourages the type of behavior that you describe by reducing source selections to essay-writing contests. The Government should stop doing this.
  16. Evaluations must be based upon the solicitation criteria. They are done individually and can’t be compared against each other. So if proposals read the same, they need evaluated the same. If the respective merits are the same, the selection gets down to price.
  17. "Proposal" companies are requesting and reselling solutions, not just templates. These solutions may be technical, H/R, staffing, Q/C, etc. Companies can now easily purchase boilerplate sections as well as specific solutions. In essence, slap the name of your company on the tech/management volume and you're done. My question remains: What should occur when evaluators receive strikingly similar technical and/or management volumes? Are they scored equally or is there a mechanism to address the obvious issue.
  18. If canned proposals are evaluated highly, the government isn’t developing good source selection approaches. Just about every requirement has some uniqueness to it, particularly when the government seeks a competition of solutions in addition to price/cost. The evaluation should differentiate based upon who’s offering the best solution. So if this occurs, the government may not be describing their need adequately (not the SOW but the actual need that is to be met) and the selection criteria which needs tailored to identify the best. For example technical approach, management plan, staffing, etc. solicitation criteria are all boilerplate if proposals look very similar.
  19. With the numerous Proposal Templates being offered by on-line "proposal" companies, the odds of an evaluator reading very similar if not identical content increases. I am seeing these "proposal" companies offering $$ for proposal material. Not just boiler plate management plans, but technical solutions, etc, etc. Libraries of proposals are being offered that defeat the purpose of a technical evaluation. The Government may not be evaluating a companies' management and/or technical capabilities; instead it is evaluating the purchased creative writing of an unknown source. Question: 1) What should occur when evaluators receive strikingly similar technical and/or management volumes? Are they scored equally or is there a mechanism to address the obvious issue.
  20. Talk to me about Government Furnished Property (GFP) and consideration on Cost Type Contracts. The FAR seems to be silent on this contract type specifically, but it calls out FFP. Is consideration needed when the Government will "pay for" the consideration in the long run? What about Government imposed requirements i.e. VTC equipment that cannot be purchased by a contractor directly. AF regulation requires a Government sponsor? Looking for how other contracting professionals and directorates are handling GFP consideration on cost type contracts.
  21. Bottom line is no one can show its wrong whichever way you interpret. This was also fun and interesting. Glad you found it and raised the discussion.
  22. The earliest use of the phrase 'price realism' I found is 1978 in a GAO decision, so its been around while.
  23. Last week
  24. Thank you all for your inputs. I thought the topic would bring up some good discussion and I appreciate the perspectives shared.
  25. You asked for advice from mostly anonymous people on a message board about what to do with your subordinate PM employee because you're nervous or unsure about an upcoming meeting with the subordinate, how to manage his performance, the internal politics of your company, and the subordinate's influence with the owner. ...and you call the subordinate PM weak? Good on you for saying that you will have a "hard" conversation and be explicit and direct about your expectations, but the subordinate PM does not seem weak in this scenario...
  26. I recommend this, too: https://www.vitalsmarts.com/crucial-accountability-training/
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