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Mostly, I take away that even the Air Force is accountable to CICA.

It's a good reminder that no matter what influences may be at play, whether they be time constraints from too much work, ignorance, or bullying by those of higher rank, CICA is still a requirement.

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IDEA was correct, the court says -- the Air Force broke all the rules.

IDEA asked for bid preparation costs, but didn't get them.

IDEA asked for attorney fees, but didn't get them.

IDEA asked for a "declaratory judgment that the sole-source award to Harris was 'erroneous, unsupported by fact, and contrary to law,'" but didn't get it because the contract is already fully performed. Such a judgment, the court wrote, would be an academic exercise with no practical effect.

IDEA prevailed – IDEA won the case – but IDEA got nothing.

The facts: The Air Force violated CICA and got away with it!

The moral: I’m saddened even to think about discerning the moral...

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If we as contracting officers want to be treated as professionals rather than ignorant paper pushers, we should at least get the procedural steps right in an acquisition, such as publishing a timely synopsis and relying only on either 6.302-1 or 6.302-2 in issuing a sole source J&A rather than on both. There might be room to argue about whether a sole source bridge contract is truly justified under 6.302-1(ii) or is really just an instance of the failure of an agency to adequately plan, for instance. But to make mistakes like the contracting officer in this case makes the government look ridiculous.

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This situation happens all the time throughout the government. The chief reason is untrained and inexperienced COs. Another is CS/COs are expected to be glorified clerks and nothing more. A third is there's no incentive (and often disincentives) for people to take a broader role - work with the program offices years before the contract expired to plan a follow-on action and complies with all statutes, regulations, policy and just solid business sense.

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I agree with you formerfed. I did not mean to unfairly blame the particular contracting officer in the case - I have no knowledge of any facts other than those contained in summary of the protest decision. But it struck a nerve. I sometimes think Contract Specialists/Contracting Officers check their common sense at the door when they come to work. But I freely admit that may be because they've had the common sense knocked out of them by political pressure from program offices or even (sadly) their own acquisition hierarchy. So, I guess what I want to say especially to young Contract Specialists/Contracting Officers is, keep asking those questions if something doesn't make sense, keep reading the law, regulations and policies, and if pressures force you to do something with which you disagree, do the best you can to be transparent in the file about the facts. And for goodness sake, at least fight hard to get the process properly followed and documented. May the force be with you . . .

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  • 4 weeks later...

As the prevailing plaintiff in this bid protest, and per the Judge's ORDER (
), we are still working with DoJ to reach a final settlement.

Once we have achieved closure, I'll have a few "morals" to add to the discussion.

In the mean time, here's a meta-moral for this thread:

"The movie ain't over 'til they run the credits and bloopers!"
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with the case number, I was able to look up the Docket in PACER.

It was interesting enough that I then skimmed through the DECISION.

First impression: DOJ ran out the clock.

From the Decision, the Agency came across as imperious. I've worked for that Agency as an 1102; no surprises there.

Transparent Bad Faith.

The Agency, from CO to Procurement Executive, is immersed in a culture of corruption.

The Agency blames everything on the lowly Contract Specialist. That's characteristic of Agency leadership at all levels.


you worked for the Agency for 25 years. You knew all of that going in.

Why the heck did you even bother to protest within the Agency ?

Maybe the COFC Judge exaggerated, or her Clerk did, but the Decision does not paint the Comp Gen as a competent tribunal, or whatever the proper term is. I hope the PCLG handled this matter better than the record indicates. I'm not confident that they did, though.

It looks like the most you will be able to split with your brother is the $87 K figure.

And that CO will not be fired for any reason, though the case provides several sufficient grounds.

I feel for ya, man.

I didn't read everything.

I hope the follow-on wasn't another bogus sole source.

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Lots to consider in attempting to state a concise moral. One thought that I have seen as this decision has made the rounds, solely indicating the blame on the "CO to Procurement Executive" could be expanded when the iceberg of events included issues related to acquisition planning. Brings FAR 7.103 to mind for me which suggests one could throw the Agency Head on the heap too.

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