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Blog Comments posted by apsofacto

  1. Life.  Wow, man, Life. 

    It's really strange you know?  We make these plans to receive your proposals and then Life happens and we can't.  We can't even issue an amendment to our solicitation!   Could be plague, could be invasion, could be we just totally flaked out that day. 

    But chill.  We'll take it when we get back.  We won't trip about Life.  Cuz. Life.  Trips. Us. Man.  All of us. 

    Can you pass that stuff over here?

  2. Howdy, Don,

    I think the best bang-for-buck reform is separating the certification and the training functions entirely.  Not my idea- I heard it from Arnold Kling, but he probably heard is from elsewhere too.  I'm attracted to is because it's simple, but I think colleges tend to hate it.  This is almost identical to what you propose except you would have to pick what side of the instruction/certification fence you wanted to be on and stay there.  The student would not have an option to hire you for both.


  3. Hi, Joel!

    You think that spot checks are OK and I agree with you.

    The oversight regime thinks that spot checks are not OK. They could very well be correct- I just don't understand why because they do spot-checks themselves. I don't know their business well enough to criticize too strongly, I just never understood this discrepancy.

    (However, I part ways with you a little on self-certification. Unwise or not, we rely on the information they provide in their reps and certs like size status.)

  4. I'm out on limb here, but I have never understood this thought process from auditors/IGs. They don't audit all Buy America contracts, just 50 because that is a decent sample. They learn the agency does not monitor roughly half of them (23/50). Should they infer that the agency monitors a little more than half of all Buy America contracts? Isn't more than half a decent sample?

    Why the 'minimum sample size for me but not for thee' thought process? I don't know why 100% monitoring is always the standard when the IG does not audit 100% of the contracts. Apologies- more of an auditing question than a Buy America question, but I think that issue may be behind the defferences between Don's posting and Vern's response.

  5. Hi, H2H

    Talent identification is incredibly difficult even when there is a high salary on the line (which should focus the hirer's attention) and plenty of data about the candidate's performance (which should lead them to a correct choice).

    Organizations have trouble picking a good CEO, Power Forward or investment banker with these advantages. I don't hold much hope for the humble Agency HR person working off of KSAs, a resume, one interview and possibly a reference check . . .

  6. Point of clarification: I will *not* remove the past performance evaluation process if an offeror has none. I will believe it can be done when another CO does this and a protest goes to GAO who then says that action is permissible. I will not be that CO.

    The "neither favorable or unfavorable" language is still problematic, but I intend to handle it in the traditional manner. (Put a comment on the previous entry to clarify that, putting one here too)

    If anyone does try this, kudos for your courage, and we'll all see how it turns out.

  7. Thank you for continuing this discussion!

    I just had a few questions . . .

    I know that the GAO is inclined to allow the consideration of relevance under a past performance evaluation factor:

    (Insect Shield Manufacturing, LLC B-408067.3, Aug 8, 2013):

    ". . .

    In this regard, we think that it is both illogical and unreasonable to presume that an agency will pay no attention to the size and similarity of past contracts in its evaluation, since such factors are germane to the relevance of the past performance information. J. A. Jones Grupo de Servicios, SA, B-283234, Oct. 25, 1999, 99-2 CPD ¶ 80 at 7.

    . . ."

    If you add an "Experience" factor, should all strengths/weaknesses about relevance be moved the "Experience" Factor? Or can they be counted in both evaluation factors?

    In the event an offeror with no past performance information submits a proposal, and we have taken your recommendation to not evaluate past performance, does the "Experience" factor serve as a life boat which preserves our ability to consider relevance/currency of the past performance of the other offerors?

    Please forgive me if I am not following. Very interesting discussion!

  8. I was focusing on his point about how the 'neither favorable nor unfavorable' FAR language doesn't make sense from a practical standpoint (which I read as the main idea of the posting).

    I read Emptor's "Ignore it" advice as a tongue-in-cheek, or an inevitable bizarre result the 'neither favorable nor unfavorable' language taken to its logical end. It was the "The Comptroller General does not necessarily seem to see it my way" that brought me to that conclusion, but as always, I could be missing something.

    You seem worried that some CO may actually try this. I learned in college that if you can imagine it, then someone is doing it. Somewhere. Right now. So . . . you are absolutely right about that!

    He promises a (corporate?) experience follow-up post so this may be clearer in the future.

  9. . . .

    Now, when conducting COMPARISONS or source selection, you are not treating the offeror with no past performance more favorably or less favorably per se, you are treating the offeror who has bonified, relevant and better past performance more favorably, all things equal.

    . . .

    Hello, Physiocrat,

    I thought that was what Emptor was getting at. The neutral rating is weaker than the favorable rating.

  10. You are correct, of course. A 'neither favorable nor unfavorable' rating is a *relative* weakness in any competition where a competitor has a favorable rating.

    Isn't the neutral rating requirement designed to allow firms to break in to new areas of business? If it fails, should it be scrapped entirely?

    As an aside, there is a lot of discussion at Federal Computer Week about past performance . . . though not this issue.

  11. I think Best and Final Offers is one of these as well, though there is a rogue reference to it in FAR 22.404-2. I keep trying to say Final Proposal Revision but it's not easy fighting habit. Still, it doesn't appear to bother the GAO folks:


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