Family Entertainment Services (FEI) was awarded a grounds maintenance contract for nearly 4,000 acres at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. One of the contract line items required the contractor to mow grass on a 21 day schedule. From the beginning of the contract, FEI fell behind in the mowing schedule and despite several cure notices from the Army, was unable to catch up. Ultimately, the Army deducted $82 thousand from the contract price because FEI did not meet the terms of the contract.
Yesterday we introduced the Section 803 provision in the 2018 NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) that will require the Defense Department to begin farming out some of its incurred cost audit functions to commercial firms. Though the probable soon-to-be law does not specify a particular percentage or dollar value of audits to be shaved off of DCAA’s (Defense Contract Audit Agency’s) current workload, the general tenor of the provision sounds like the sharing will be substantial and on-going.
The 2018 NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) Conference Report has been published. The Conference Report refers to the final version of a bill that is negotiated between the House and the Senate via conference committee. It will still need to be submitted to each Chamber for its consideration for approval or disapproval but in the past, NDAA conference reports are routinely passed by both the House and Senate. So, assuming the President signs the bill, it will become law.
As promised, we are bringing you an update to our October 30th posting concerning the contract awarded to Whitefish Energy by the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) to help restore electricity on the island (see Whitefish Energy). This $300 million contract at rates exceeding $240 per hour for electrical linemen awarded to a company with two full-time employees raised a lot of concern by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress as well as several oversight agencies including Offices of Inspector Generals. One Congressman termed it a “sweetheart deal to a fly-by-night company”.
Beginning sometime next year (2018), the GAO (Government Accountability Office) will begin charging $350 to anyone filing bid protests. Currently, there is no charge for filing. For some contractors, the cost may be even higher. There is a provision in the Senate version of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that would require unsuccessful bidders to pay the cost for unsuccessful protests filed against the Defense Department (this applies to companies with revenues in excess of $100 million).
This week, the FAR (Federal Acquisition Regulation) Councils issued a final rule implementing a public law that disapproved a previous final rule. The rule, called Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces, was based on an Executive Order (EO) that was ultimately overturned by Congress. To read what the regulations would have required, see Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces).
Offerors must avail themselves of every reasonable opportunity to obtain solicitation documents. Otherwise, they risk being eliminated from consideration.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued an RFQ (Request for Quotation) to provide armed and unarmed detention officer services in California. Nu-Way security and Investigative Services (Nu-Way) was one of the bidders. DHS issued four solicitation amendments. Three of the four extended the deadline for proposal submissions. Amendment No. 2 made several changes including three modifications to the pricing spreadsheet including a transition period line item, a project manager for San Diego, and increased mileage reimbursement rates. All of these changes were summarized on page one of the amendment.
Now they’re both in a heap of trouble.
There is not that much different in the relationship between a Government contracting officer and his contractor and that of a purchasing agent and his suppliers. In both cases, management places a great deal of trust that the person will act with integrity in carrying out his duties – namely buying at the best possible prices and terms. Trust is crucial but is not a substitute for good internal controls.
The Professional Services Council (PSC) has weighed in on some of the provisions of the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) now that the House and Senate bills have moved on to conference committee for reconciliation. Among their concerns is the provision in the Senate version requiring losing bid protesters to pay the processing costs incurred by DoD (see Large Contractors May Need to Reimburse DoD for Bid Protest Costs). The PSC “strongly objects” to this provision. But PSC’s letter also covers major concerns over provisions related to DCAA’s (Defense Contract Audit Agency’s) incurred cost backlog. PSC writes:
For the past few years, the Department of Energy (DOE) has taken an extremely literal approach to contractors claiming overtime for employee training purposes. FAR 31.205-44(a) , Training and Education Costs, states that overtime compensation for training and education is unallowable. DOE has taken the position that there can be no exceptions to this rule. It didn’t matter whether a contractor could show that it was more cost effective to pay overtime for training than to hire additional staff to cover contract-required services. It didn’t matter that certain training was specifically mandated by contract and not discretionary. It didn’t matter that the training contributed significantly to contractor employee health and safety. Contractors had to find a way to do all of this without incurring overtime.