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About jtolli

  • Birthday 06/03/1961

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  1. I suspect it has a lot to do with two things. The first being section 889(a)(1)(B) of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 dealing with the use of "covered" telecommunications equipment and services (essentially Chinese manufactured equipment). I heard in the past that there were issues specifically with Amazon who would/could not certify to 52.204-24 & 52.204-26 since they do sell Chinese manufactured equipment. Establishing a Government unique Amazon platform, which doesn't offer prohibited equipment, alleviates that issue. The section thing deals with third-party payments. Using Amazon as an example again, they offer items for sell that they have purchased and stocked in their warehouse. But they also off third-party items which Amazon stocks in their warehouse, but do not own. When a customer orders a third-party item, Amazon bills for it, takes their cut, and gives the third-party vendor the rest of the money. This makes Amazon a third-party payment processor. In the GPC realm third-party payments are frowned upon, and are supposed to only be used when no other option is available. I imagine the Amazon Government unique platform will not offer third-party items, eliminating this concern.
  2. When I worked for the Department of Treasury over 15 years ago, we had a MATOC where no pricing was established at the base contract level. Instead the various vendors were awarded contracts with a percentage of mark-up for each category of services they provided.
  3. What level are you at? From your post, and the fact that you say, "there are hundreds of card holders and thousands of transactions made each year", I assume you are in the Contracting Office at the Agency/Organization Program Coordinator (A/OPC) level. My experience with the Government Purchase Card (GPC) has largely been with DoD (Army). The Billing Official, or Authorizing Official (the title in some DoD agencies) has to review and approve each transaction for Cardholders under their Managing Account. There is no requirement for the A/OPC to review each transaction, although some A/OPCs require their review and approval for certain transactions (e.g supplies above $5,000, services above $2,500, all commercial training purchases, etc.). Although their is no broad regulatory/policy requirement for the A/OPC to review/approve all micropurchases, your organization could certainly put such a policy in place. Like you, I agree this is not practical/feasible in most cases, and doesn't make sense. As you say, the standard policy (DoD) is for the A/OPC to use Insights on Demand (IOD) to review transactions that are "flagged" for review, and they can choose to randomly select other transactions for review as well. As I recall, it's been a while since I have been involved with the GPC program, the periodic audit requirement was done away with by DoD, and IOD is now the preferred tool to conduct "audits" of the GPC program.
  4. In my recent experience (with DoD) laptops have pretty much replaced all desktop computers. Rarely do you see any employees, either government or contractor, with a desktop computer. Yes, laptops are mobile, but not everyone with a laptop takes it out of the Government facility. During my previous 2 assignments laptops were always considered ""incidental to the place of performance", even if the contractor employees were occasionally taking them out of the Government facility to work. The way accountability was maintained is there was a Government employee assigned responsibility for the laptops. That Government employee would then "hand receipt" the laptops to the contractor employee. We did have one instance where a contractor employee lost a laptop (stolen from her car). I know it became a sticky issue as the contractor said they were not responsible for any Government property in accordance with the terms of the contract. I wasn't directly involved, so don't know how the issue was resolved.
  5. One of my most memorable quotes from Mr. Vern Edwards is, "I will let no one know more about my job than me." That has stuck with me for years, and I try to live by it.
  6. I witnessed this type of stuff in the last contracting office I worked in. Some 1102's had the attitude that since legal had to review the documents, then it was better to push documents through to legal without doing a thorough review, as legal would edit it to say what they wanted it to say anyway.
  7. In a previous job I had, COR was part of my position description. A new boss come on-board and said that COR can't be part of the position description as a COR can only be appointed by a Contracting Officer, and can't be "assigned" as a duty. So she had the position description changed to remove COR. Either way, it didn't change my actual job. I was a COR before and after the position description changed.
  8. Not sure of your agency, but in DoD the Contracting Officer is supposed to provide the COR's supervisor with feedback regarding the COR's performance. This is from DoDI 5000.72, Enclosure 3, paragraph 1.i. "Provides feedback on COR performance to the COR’s supervisor. If the COR’s reports and performance are inadequate, discuss performance with the COR. If the reports and the COR’s performance continue to be inadequate, discuss the COR’s performance with the requiring activity or the COR’s management. If reports or performance continue to be inadequate, notify both the COR and requiring activity or COR management that the COR designation is (will be) terminated and request nominations for a replacement COR."
  9. Speaking from a DoD standpoint, I don't know of anything the prohibits it. One concern might be if the cardholder had to agree to certain terms and conditions as part of signing up for an account. In actuality it has been very rare in my experience in the GCPC program that a vendor will not take orders over the phone. Also, most of what my cardholders purchase are either from mandatory sources (UNICOR, AbilityOne) of from existing Government contracts (GSA or Army CHESS), so they rarely buy stuff from a commercial vendor, but it does happen. The only restriction that I am aware of in regards to setting up accounts is with Third Party Payment services (e.g. PayPal). Cardholders are prohibited from setting up accounts for that.
  10. I have seen this behavior a lot in the government. People are afraid to make decisions. My current team lead is that way. If someone asks a question, instead of us answering, she wants to up-channel it to higher HQ. Her thinking is that if we give someone advice (e.g. making a decision), and the advice turns out to be wrong, then they will blame us for giving the wrong advice. It drives me crazy! I have also worked in a contracting office where specialists don't even review documents in a procurement package because they aren't the final reviewer/approver, so "why waste my time reviewing the document". For example, they wouldn't review a Justification & Approval because it had to be reviewed/approved by legal anyway. So they would send forward a document with many deficiencies saying "legal will tell us everything that is wrong with it anyway, so why should I even waste time reviewing it." In essence, everyone just wants to be a paper pusher, and push the paper to the next office. This isn't exactly what you asked about, but I feel it is closely related. Until people are forced to change, then they won't.
  11. Here is what the Army's Request for Service Contract Approval (RSCA) form says: "When contracting for services, care must be taken to ensure that no illegal out-sourcing or improper conversion is taking place. Illegal “out-sourcing” and improper conversion involve shifting work from civilian positions to contract personnel (this can happen even if the civilian position is not encumbered). In environments that involve fiscal uncertainty, declining budgets, or hiring freezes, special vigilance is required to ensure these things do not occur. Due to congressional moratorium on A-76/ public private competitions, no out-sourcing is currently allowed. If the moratorium on A-76/ public private competitions ends, a competition is required. Work currently being performed by inhouse civilian employees or designated for in-house civilian employee performance may not be directly converted to contractor performance. If law and policy is ever changed to allow direct conversions to contract performance, a cost comparison must still be done under DoDI 7041.04 (Estimating and Comparing the Full Costs of Civilian and Active Duty Military Manpower and Contract Support, 3 July 2013), in order to establish which source of labor is the least costly. Title 10, United States Code § 2461 prohibits converting a function performed by at least one appropriated fund government employee to contract performance unless there has been a public-private competition under Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76. There is currently a Congressional moratorium on public-private competitions pursuant to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, Section 325. However, “conversion” of functions does not include the augmenting of civilian staff with contractors unless government employees are displaced, reassigned, subjected to a reduction in force, or otherwise adversely affected. (For additional information, please see the Government Accountability Office case John P. Santry B-402827. Agencies are recommended to discuss the issue with their employment and personnel law advisor and their contract law advisor.) If there is an applicable bargaining unit agreement concerning out-sourcing, the provisions of the agreement will prevail and must be adhered to for bargaining unit employees (though such an agreement does not take precedence over Title 10, U.S.C.). Further prohibitions on contracting under certain conditions can be found in 10 U.S.C. § 129a(f)." There are a series of 6 questions are the RSCA from that must be answered: "1 Will any non-temporary or non-term appropriated fund employee currently performing any functions described in the contract Statement of Work be displaced, reassigned, subjected to a reduction in force, or otherwise adversely affected as a result of the proposed contract action? 2 Is the function proposed for contract performance meeting a requirement previously performed by a particular Army civilian position (or positions) when a program or budget decision eliminated the civilian position (whether that function was formerly documented with an authorization or was undocumented and performed by an overhire)? 3 Is the function proposed for contract performance meeting a requirement previously approved for in-sourcing but that was never encumbered? 4 Will the proposed contract action fundamentally change the nature of the work performed by appropriated fund employees? 5 Is this new contract (or this increase in level of effort on a pre-existing contract) the result of the establishment of numerical goals or budgetary savings targets regarding the civilian workforce? 6 Is this contract, modification, or this increase in level of effort on a pre-existing contract, the result of the imposition of a civilian hiring freeze?" You might want to look into the above references, and see what they say.
  12. Our supporting contracting office (Army) is now inserting 52.204-14 Service Contract Reporting Requirements into contracts being awarded.
  13. To add to what others have said, the DFARS provides the authority for purchases up to $25,000 with the GPC @ 213-301(2)(II) which says: "(2) An individual appointed in accordance with 201.603-3 (a) also may use the Governmentwide commercial purchase card to make a purchase that exceeds the micro-purchase threshold but does not exceed $25,000, if— (ii) The individual making the purchase— (A) Is authorized and trained in accordance with agency procedures; (B) Complies with the requirements of FAR 8.002 in making the purchase; and (C) Seeks maximum practicable competition for the purchase in accordance with FAR 13.104(b)." In the Army, individuals with authority to make such purchases at called "Ordering Officers". They are issued a Delegation of Procurement Authority as an Ordering Officer. This is addressed in the AFARS.
  14. From https://www.dmdc.osd.mil/ecmra_splash/ ECMRA is de-commissioned as of COB June 19th, 2020. The data collection functionality will transition to the System for Award Management (https://www.sam.gov) by the end of FY20. For additional details and updates regarding this planned transition, please see the following links: Policy and Data regarding the Inventory of Contracted Services: https://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/cpic/cp/inventory_of_services_contracts.html. Status of DFARS Rule implementing SAM reporting - Case Number 2018-D063: https://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/dars/opencases/dfarscasenum/dfars.pdf. Please update your bookmarks with the new URL https://www.sam.gov.
  15. I am not an expert at this, but have dealt with contracts in many different States before. It is my understanding that if a State has laws that have overtime laws that differ from the FLSA, then the State laws also apply. For example, in California any work over 8 hours a day is considered overtime. See here: https://www.dol.gov/general/topic/workhours/overtime "Some states have overtime laws. In cases where an employee is subject to both the state and federal overtime laws, the employee is entitled to overtime according to the higher standard (i.e., the standard that will provide the higher overtime pay)."
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