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Priced CLIN and Priced SLINs


ArrieS

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My agency (under the NAVY) in an effort to deal with funding issues since we use incremental funding that results in multiple ACRNs and contractors need to bill by individual ACRNs has decided to implement priced SLINs.

How they have decided to implement it doesn't seem to align with the PGI guidance.

They will have two CLINs for one item. The first CLIN will be priced with the total overall cost of the line item. For example Labor (CPFF) which would be 0001.

Next they will have a second CLIN which will be informational which will be the informational CLIN that funding will be applied to. 

They are just using the first CLIN 0001 for tracking and will reduce the total cost of CLIN 0001 by the funding applied by the priced SLINs to CLIN 0002.

I'm fairly new but after reading and seeing the examples in the PGI this doesn't seem correct.

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4 hours ago, ArrieS said:

 

Next they will have a second CLIN which will be informational which will be the informational CLIN that funding will be applied to. 

They are just using the first CLIN 0001 for tracking and will reduce the total cost of CLIN 0001 by the funding applied by the priced SLINs to CLIN 0002.

Agreed this approach is not in accordance with FAR/DFARS/PGI. It's a poor substitute for actual Program Management.

Questions:

1.  Do you expect DCAA to audit the contractor's invoices? If so, how? Are they going to audit against the contract as formally bilaterally modified, or against MOCAS-reported funding, or perhaps against some PM's notion of what the funding should be?

2.  Do you expect MOCAS to track all the funding movements? If so, how quickly do you expect that to happen? How quickly do you expect to issue/receive bilateral contract mods?

Not a fan of this approach.

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4 hours ago, ji20874 said:

Rather than thinking in terms or correct or incorrect, I'm wondering if it works.  I have used what I call draw-down CLINs, and they worked for me.

Works for who? While I think I understand the thought, it does not sit well. Disregarding what’s correct for what’s convenient isn’t necessarily good for public policy. What havoc is caused within the Government when people go rogue or call an audible because it works for them?

Thinking in terms of correct or incorrect is a good place to start when dealing with things governed by regulation. If you decide your preferred course of action is ‘incorrect,’ there are remedies such as deviations.

This career field would be served well by mastering the basics and leveraging things such as communications with stakeholders that lead to mutually agreed upon deviations (or changes within the FAR System). If the rules don’t work, let’s fix them not ignore them.

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ArrieS,

You might be the hero in the story if you propose a differing solution that still works for your organization, and persuade others in your agency of its efficacy.  I think we need thinkers and solvers in our career field.  Talk to others and see what can be improved in the situation you described.  I don't know about the DoD PGI, but I would wonder if it defines and limits all of the possibilities or if it merely illustrative of some concepts and possibilities.  Of course, people have to follow the rules as they are understood in their localities.

Jamaal, 

If calling an audible means changing an approach because on a newly-realized reality, then calling an audible is good -- the quarterback acts within his authority on the field, right?  Being rigid and inflexible is generally thought of as bad in many settings.  

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16 hours ago, Jamaal Valentine said:

Works for who? While I think I understand the thought, it does not sit well.

 

12 hours ago, ji20874 said:

I don't know about the DoD PGI,

And herein lies the problem.      

The history of Federal acquisition is long and I would offer that audibles are called 99.9% of the time because the quarterback is not well informed.  The OP, in my view, is calling for a time out, to reaccess and define a new play as opposed to an audible due to the unexpected presentation of something completely new that is not expected and not been seen before.  

@ArrieS  So it appears you are saying do either one of these but do not create a second CLIN?  If so I would agree.

 (6)  Subline items structured to identify different accounting classifications for identical items (delivery schedule shall be established for each subline item, not the contract line item).

 

AJ:  17X150518350315069100000192B000000000000000000

AK:  17X150518370317569100000192B000000000000000000

AL:  17X150519350314369100000192B000000000000000000

 

ITEM NO.

SUPPLIES/ SERVICE

QUANTITY

UNIT

UNIT PRICE

AMOUNT

0002

Pulse Decoder

KY-312/A5Q-19

 

EA

$3,037.40

 

0002AA

Pulse Decoder

KY-312/A5Q-19 ACRN:  AJ

2

 

 

$6,074.80

0002AB

Pulse Decoder

KY-312/A5Q-19 ACRN:  AK

6

 

 

$18,224.40

0002AC

Pulse Decoder

KY-312/A5Q-19 ACRN:  AL

2

 

 

$6,074.80

 

NOTE:  Unit price may be shown at line item level and total amounts shown at subline item level.

 

              (7)  Informational subline items established to identify multiple accounting classification citations assigned to a single contract line item.

 

ITEM NO.

SUPPLIES/ SERVICE

QUANTITY

UNIT

UNIT PRICE

AMOUNT

0001

Air Vehicle

1

EA

$6,700,000

$6,700,000

 

000101       ACRN:AA $3,300,000

 

 

 

 

 

000102       ACRN:AB $2,000,000

 

 

 

 

 

000103       ACRN:AC $1,400,000

 

 

 

 

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20 hours ago, ji20874 said:

If calling an audible means changing an approach because on a newly-realized reality, then calling an audible is good -- the quarterback acts within his authority on the field, right?  Being rigid and inflexible is generally thought of as bad in many settings.  

I have no problem with anyone exercising discretion that has been given to them. The key is remaining within her/his authority. If you mean that contracting officers should fully embrace FAR 1.102(d) and 1.102-5(e), I agree. After all, “[c]ontracting officers should take the lead in encouraging business process innovations and ensuring that business decisions are sound.”

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@ArrieSI'm having some trouble understanding.  If you meant to use the following punctuation in your OP's background, would you please edit it accordingly? "My Navy subagency, (under the NAVY) in an effort to deal with funding issues (since we use incremental funding that results in multiple ACRNs and contractors do need to bill by individual ACRNs), has decided to implement priced SLINs."  More importantly, consider citing the PGI as background.  Consider furthermore citing the DOD Line Item Guide (available at https://www.acq.osd.mil/asda/dpc/ce/p2p/transparency-of-procurement-spending.html).  Compare what is provided as guidance to what's in the contract document that only you possess.  Make it clearer.

After receiving the above chit-chat posts, have you formulated a question yet?  You have to ask yourself: “What is it that I really want to find out, and how do I have to ask to get that answer.”

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@Jamaal Valentine and @ji20874, a wise man once said, "Sooner or later, every idea must face a critical test. An uncritical, anything-goes approach is contrary to the goals of FAR 1.102(d) and 1.102-[5](e)."  I found that to be apt to this thread.

Per FAR 1.102-5(e):

Quote

The FAR outlines procurement policies and procedures that are used by members of the Acquisition Team. If a policy or procedure, or a particular strategy or practice, is in the best interest of the Government and is not specifically addressed in the FAR, nor prohibited by law (statute or case law), Executive order or other regulation, Government members of the Team should not assume it is prohibited. Rather, absence of direction should be interpreted as permitting the Team to innovative and use sound business judgment that is otherwise consistent with law and within the limits of their authority. Contracting officers should take the lead in [1] encouraging business process innovations and [2] ensuring that business decisions are sound.

If the OP gets back to us with a question, let's frame our responses in the above two lights.  @ArrieS, soundness is your grading rubric.

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2 hours ago, ji20874 said:

Is anyone in this thread supporting "[a]n uncritical, anything-goes approach"?

I think a reasonable person could infer that your comments (e.g., below) imply that correctness is not essential or that you were more concerned if it works.

On 11/1/2023 at 11:40 AM, ji20874 said:

Rather than thinking in terms or correct or incorrect, I'm wondering if it works.  I have used what I call draw-down CLINs, and they worked for me.

 

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A key missing piece for all this is what is the specific problem that needs solved?

Also a significant limitation to doing anything different is DoD has lots of interrelated pieces.  It’s much more than just how contract items are labeled.

Here_2_help hit it right on the head.  The approach is a poor substitute for program management.

 

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Jamaal, Too often, someone whose practice differs from another will say the other is incorrect -- certainly, it is very easy to do so.  This happens within our procurement communities and even in these pages at WIFCON.  When an entire organization, with all of their executives and admirals and lawyers and so forth, has decided to adopt a certain practice to deal with their realities, I think it is professionally appropriate to caution someone who self-describes as being "fairly new" but disagrees with the practice to consider and possibly improve the workability of the practice rather than labeling it as correct or incorrect.  

I wouldn't want the OP, having made inquiry at WIFCON, to go back and assert the incorrectness of his organization's practice to his organization's executives, admirals, and lawyers -- what good would come from that?  I think I gave good advice to the OP, and I disagree that a reasonable person would characterize my comment as indicative of an uncritical, anything-goes approach.  That said, I do apologize if you or others came to that conclusion -- that was not my intention.

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Newbies and seasoned professionals should remember that the burden of proof lies with whomever is making a claim. But since we can rarely be certain of anything, we must assign value to any claim based on the available evidence and process used. For example, was the process used to arrive at the belief sound?

Professionalism and practicality necessitates that practitioners learn how spot logical fallacies and how to research, interpret, and apply the rules of government contracting. Thus, categorizing things as correct or incorrect seems appropriate. It’s at least a natural byproduct of decision-making, reviews, and approvals.

A writer once wrote to “[d]o your best to present yourself … as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”

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Is there an echo in here?  The OP is not the experienced CO - you are.  Why let them dictate the direction of the discussion?  If the question arrives in insufficient form and substance, we must vector check them to the proper line of thinking for our career field.  When judging compliance with law, statute, regulation, or executive order, correctness is usually what matters.  When judging an innovation, though, the line of thinking is:

20 hours ago, Voyager said:

Contracting officers should take the lead in [1] encouraging business process innovations and [2] ensuring that business decisions are sound.

Is the business decision sound?  Black’s Law Dictionary provides a definition of “sound” as, “To be free from defect, strong, competent and secure.”  An example in context would be, “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.”

Correctness implies there is ultimately only one solution, but soundness entails dynamic solutions.  I think ji seems to get that.  He just needs to make ArrieS work harder for his approval. 🧐

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On 11/4/2023 at 5:44 AM, Voyager said:

Is there an echo in here?

Correctness implies there is ultimately only one solution, but soundness entails dynamic solutions.

Hmmm…your use of ‘sound’ is echoing the definition of correct. Similar to you echoing my FAR references, a full day later. This suggests you and I agree. I definitely agree with regard to true innovations.IMG_9483.thumb.jpeg.a3cd2a839b1f67c6264c3b702d61240b.jpeg

While the OP may not be as experienced as others, they may have more knowledge, skills, and abilities than their colleagues. Experience is only an opportunity to learn - not an a measure of competency. Thus, the OP must study to show themselves approved.

We can help the OP by being clear that their thinking and decisions should be correct (or sound - to use your term). I’m not sure that’s in dispute. And it surely doesn’t mean nor imply that there is only one solution…let alone a single path to a solution. In that capacity, we may decide to follow the wise words of Vern:

“If the question is grounded in regulation or policy, start by citing any pertinent regulations and official policy and guidance, THEN add commentary of your own IF you've got something informative to say.” In this case, the FAR System has a lot to say about line items.

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