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REA'n Maker

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  1. Maybe I should limit that comment to the CICA stay, which is a huge incentive to file a protest regardless of merit. The incumbent can make way more money continuing to bill for a month or two on a $100M contract than they will ever spend on a protest. All they have to do is ask and viola, CICA stay, and the money keeps rolling in! (I have to say; I got a good laugh out of Vern's post regarding approach. So true. Everybody uses it as a key term in solicitations and evaluations, but the implication in common English is that to approach something is a precursor to actually doing something. "OK, now that you've approached it, what do you plan to do when you actually get there?" 🤔😄🤣)
  2. Just got my first protest, from someone not even in line for award. But that still means a CICA stay and hundreds of hours charged by lawyers and others on a protest that is going to ultimately fail. The only one who wins is the pre-award incumbent (and the protestor's attorneys of course). How about mediation as the first avenue of a protest? I realize GAO is a pseudo-mediator but they are still a bureaucratic government agency with all the attendant baggage and sclerotic timelines. Or, maybe a more formulaic ("hurdle") approach whereby protestors would have to demonstrate competitive prejudice, standing, etc., before they are even allowed to file a protest. I do agree that the current system incentivizes protests and is wasteful and expensive. It seems we are more focused on avoiding protests than providing sound business advice.
  3. I think treating issues related to public-sector procurement as business problems is a fallacy. Public grants and contracts are used as political tools like no other, and contract reforms have never addressed how to balance business considerations with the 800 lb. socio/political gorilla on the other end of the see-saw. (But maybe I'm too cynical after having just sat through a 2-year pre-award SBA size protest.) Does any 1102 disagree that if we used purely economic/business logic, there would be the same three ginormous conglomerates winning every single federal contract?
  4. I think the practical answer is 'no':
  5. I agree with Vern Edwards that the GAO (not 'the courts') decision regarding the -8 clause is ridiculous and should be ignored. (In regard to Latvian Connection, GAO stated in effect "we don't know if we have the authority to ban a contractor from protesting, but we're going to do it anyway". GAO is by no means a court of law.) I wouldn't be surprised if that decision was written by a summer intern or someone of equal understanding. It's an extension of the end date at the rates in effect at the time the extension option is exercised; that's it. No offeror could possibly be disadvantaged by the exercise of 52.217-8. (Unbalanced pricing is already a criterion that can justify not making an award, which is the only possible discriminator in the "-8 evaluation" scenario). DHS policy literally says to "evaluate by adding" which no sane person would ever defend as a logical process in any other context. It doesn't even require you to compare it to or justify anything. Considering that the -8 can be exercised at the end of any contract year, why is adding the last option year pricing to your so-called "evaluation" valid anyway?
  6. So the issue is how to claw back funds? Based on my recent experience obtaining my FAC-C Level III (after obtaining my DAWIA Level III in the late 90's) I'm shocked anyone could do a bad enough job providing training to get themselves effectively terminated. The FAC-C training providers weren't even presenting the correct subject matter and could have cared less when informed of that fact (e.g., teaching and testing DFARS/DoD PGI and the proper use of WPN funding to an audience of DHS employees, among other patent absurdities).
  7. Exactly. Has nothing really to do with the FAR per se. A good CO would certainly consider it as part of a risk assessment associated with a decision, but it's not something the CO can invoke as an authority to direct a contractor. Unless the application of Christian is crystal clear with some relevant precedent, as a CO I wouldn't even go there at all unless there was a sound legal opinion to back it up (because it's a legal issue as CC points out). The Christian Doctrine is very narrowly applied for good reason. How about down-scoping the contract to match what has been delivered, de-obligate excess funds, and Bob's Your Uncle?
  8. I would be happy if the newbies just showed an interest in procurement. I was asked to 'mentor' a GS-13 on a A-E competition and I finally gave up even pretending this person had the slightest inclination to take ownership of anything 'we' (i.e., 'me') were doing. I believe "procurement nerd" is the term you are looking for. 🤓
  9. Show me where the FAR says anything about an "Alt-COR". Is there such a thing as a FAC-ALTCOR cert? USAID are a bunch of Birkenstock-wearing-ex-Peace Corps-hippies so I wouldn't put a lot of stock in anything they have to say about procurement (yes, I was there. Very nice people but my assessment stands 😋). What does 'absence' even mean? 'Absence' because the primary COR had to leave early to pick their kid up at school or 'absence' because they were unexpectedly deployed to the USAID Mission in Nairobi? Do I need to pull T&A records if I am concerned about compliance with my delegation? Hence my statement As a practical matter we have to assume our appointed CORs are competent and acting in the government's best interests, so I trust them to work together. If I can't measure it or enforce it, I'm not going to include it in my delegation. But that's just me. Happy Friday!
  10. Has anyone read FAR 45.600? Back in the 90's when DoD was down-selecting a lot of multiple-source programs like Tomahawk, I had to deal with 20+ years of GFP piled up in McDonnell Douglas GFP cages when we selected Hughes as the sole supplier. There was a checkoff process that began with the plant clearance officer which ended many times with the government abandoning the GFP in place, at which point M-D auctioned it off to the general public (and let a guy named "Snake" leave the auction with a bunch of aircraft-grade aluminum billets that he never paid for. You'd think they would naturally keep an eye on a guy named "Snake" but apparently not. It was in Florida after all. lol). Then we negotiated with Hughes Aircraft over the value of the remaining GFP that they could use on their Tomahawk production line. After reading 45.600, I would suggest you catalog your GFP and submit it to the prime for disposition, cc:ing the CO on the original contract. Personally, I wouldn't worry too much about privity at this point because whatever the prime/sub scenario is, you have GFP you are accountable for. Not to be too discouraging, but my Tomahawk negotiation took 2 years to complete.
  11. You can call it whatever you want, but it's multiple CORs receiving a delegation from the same CO with each possessing identical superpowers. Any term other than "COR" is a fiction. I suppose the CO could prescribe different delegated duties but that just makes my head hurt. Having set up more contract writing system user accounts than I can count, I can affirmatively state that all it takes is a branch-chief level authorization to set up a new user (e.g., temporary auditor accounts, etc.). If they can't approve invoices, there's not much point in appointing them COR.
  12. Part 36 of the FAR talks about qualifications for A-E selection board members, which sounds more like what your customer is talking about. I've worked for two agencies that designated "Alternate CORs" (to me a COR is a COR is a COR, but I digress). As far as I know there is no statutory limit on how many CORs you can have, but our contract writing system only allows 2 CORs to have designated authority to approve invoices so that's the practical limit. Do you want 2 CORs signing invoices? Even if that is not the intent, it may be a result.
  13. The problem is that DCAA only provides non-DoD audit assistance when they are not doing DoD work. I have seen funded "DCAA non-DoD audit agreements" in place for years where the actual services provided were zero. "We'll get to it when we get to it" doesn't really fly when you are running up against an award deadline. Regardless, unless the audit capability is institutionalized, there should be no "final rate determinations" being made if for no other reason that the vendors turn around and use that assent on their other contracts. I'm dealing with a vendor right now who declared a change to their accounting procedures and is submitting an entirely new methodology that has not been reviewed or approved by anyone. How am I supposed to work "audit of new accounting procedures" into a milestone schedule AFTER we received proposals when we don't even have auditors? I looked at the numbers they submitted and they come out just fine, but the propriety of dropping direct O/H on consultants and subcontractors and replacing it with a lower G&A rate on a base consisting of all costs including subs & consultants? Who knows? (My approach has been to only look at the difference between the approved method and the proposed method and only negotiate that amount. That way I don't have to declare anything "compliant" or whatever the accounting term is.)
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