DOD contracting officers are now allowed to omit price or cost information from award decisions on Multiple Award Contracts in cases where they intend to award a contract to all responsible offerors per a class deviation issued December 13th. The new policy expands DOD’s ability to issue such contracts, a practice that had been more common for DOD Blanket Purchase Order agreements (note: DOD BPO’s are not the same thing as Schedules-based BPA’s). GSA has contemplated the award of non-priced Schedule contracts since at least the mid-1990’s. A belief that pricing is essential to attract customers, however, has been at least one stumbling block to implementation. DOD, however, is the largest user of Schedule contracts and has now indicated that, under certain circumstances, they believe that price competition can be conducted the task order level. It is unknown at this time whether DOD’s move will spur GSA to action, but it is a development that GSA Administrator Emily Murphy and FAS Commissioner Alan Thomas should certainly consider. Acquisition is evolving, especially in the IDIQ arena. GSA’s largest program should help set the pace.
Contractors and other interested parties have the ability to speak to GSA and OMB leaders in person regarding their views on how a Congressionally-mandated e-commerce platform for commercial item acquisition should be implemented. GSA is hosting a “town hall” style gathering at its headquarters January 9th. GSA will divide speakers into three theme-based areas: General Program Design, Buying Practices, and Implementation. The agency is also seeking written input on these and other project areas. Written comments are due to the agency January 18th. Significant interest is expected in this project from e-commerce platform providers, companies that believe they could meet the standard of what would constitute an e-commerce platform under the law, and contractors who might find their government business disrupted by creation of commercially based e-commerce platforms. That said, GSA is clearly contemplating a deliberative process, in partnership with OMB. As such, roll-out and implementation will not happen overnight. Interested parties can e-mail GSA at email@example.com to learn more.
While there is no denying that specialized knowledge of government contract rules and regulations is essential to sound contract management, not everything is a big FAR-based mystery. A little common sense can help even the most uneducated contractor get a start on ensuring that they don’t run afoul of their contract management and ethics responsibilities. One such common sense approach is following the maxim to not be “pennywise and pound foolish”. Good people who know what they’re doing cost a little money. They can quite literally be worth their weight in gold, though. Experienced, well-trained people can prevent problems from occurring before they happen, and, should an issue actually arise, are likely better prepared to address it so that a small bump doesn’t become a wall that your entire federal business crashes into. Some contractors, though, look at contract managers as “overhead” and not worth the investment. Experienced hands can be re-assigned or even let go. That all looks like a great move until an auditor or whistleblower comes calling. Suddenly, one week of lawyers, consultants, and document production requests can eat up as much time and money as a year’s-worth investment in the manager who knew what he or she was doing. There are a lot of ways contractors can end up on the short end of the contract compliance stick. Not using common sense is one sure way to put your firm in a position to have to write checks – maybe big ones – back to the government.
You return from the holiday break tan, rested, and ready (just like Richard Nixon) only to find out that your regional sales director took his Army customer to the Fiesta Bowl. Now, you have an ethics problem. Do you know what to do? Is your company aware of potential penalties? Accidents happen but, as you learned when you tried to sweep the broken lamp under your parents’ rug, pretending it didn’t happen is not the best response. Call Allen Federal. We can help train your staff to prevent future mistakes and tune up your compliance and ethics programs. Just like teams playing Alabama, a good defense is imperative to success. Contact Allen Federal today at firstname.lastname@example.org
This issue marks the last Week Ahead for 2017. Allen Federal will be on a highly detailed fact finding mission for the remainder of the year examining how Caribbean Basin Initiative countries fared during the 2017 hurricane season. We will return with a special edition on January 2nd. Bulletins, however, may be broadcast at any time.