The PCI Network – Three Keys to a Winning Proposal

The next episode of The PCI Network is all about putting together a winning proposal. Lou Chiarella, Director and Faculty at PCI, shares three tips to help you craft a winning proposal. Mr. Chiarella is an attorney in the Washington, D.C. area with 20 years of experience specializing in all aspects of Government contracting.  In addition to his current position, his previous experiences include: Professor of Contract and Fiscal Law, U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s School, Charlottesville, Virginia; Chief of Administrative and Civil Law, Fort Carson, Colorado; and Trial Attorney, U.S. Army Contract Appeals Division, Arlington, Virginia.

FAILURE TO ACKNOWLEDGE A MATERIAL AMENDMENT-WHAT IS MATERIAL, AND HOW DO I MAKE NO MISTAKES?

For as long as this writer can remember, the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) has hewed to a hard and fast rule about amendments to solicitations: an offeror’s failure to acknowledge a material amendment makes the proposal (or bid) unacceptable and the proposal or bid may not form the basis for award. This same rule was applied in TTCC, Inc., B-412874, May 17, 2016. On the other hand, if a non-material amendment is not acknowledged, the agency may waive this minor informality in accordance with FAR 14.405. TTCC also states the GAO long held position that “[w]hile no precise rule exists as to whether a change required by an amendment is more than negligible, such that failure to acknowledge the amendment renders the proposal unacceptable, an … Continue reading

DO YOU READ EVERY INSTRUCTION IN THE SOLICITATION?

It goes without saying that offerors should carefully read the entire solicitation before they prepare their offer.  But how many really do that?  And even if they read the entire solicitation, do they always follow the instructions precisely?  A good example of failing to read the instructions, or intentionally ignoring them, is found in URS Federal Servs., Inc., B-411024.4, April 30, 2015.  In this bid protest case, an offeror who failed to follow the instructions lost its bid protest, and was properly not considered for award by the agency.   URS protested its exclusion of its proposal from the competitive range in a solicitation for task orders from holders of basic ordering agreements (“BOAs”) in the Enhanced Army Global Logistics Enterprise (“EAGLE”).  The Solicitation required … Continue reading

“DEEMED DENIAL” OF CLAIMS AND HOW THIS HELPS CONTRACTORS

A final decision on a claim by a contracting officer is a jurisdictional requirement for the Court of Federal Claims or a Board of Contract Appeals to consider an appeal of a contractor’s claim.  Absent such a decision, neither the Court nor a Board will have jurisdiction to consider an appeal.  However, the Contract Disputes Act of 1978 (the “CDA”) contains provisions for failure of a contracting officer to issue a final decision on a claim.  This is the “deemed denied” provision of the CDA, which generally requires that a contracting officer make a final decision within 60 days of receipt of a proper claim.  Prior to the CDA, the timing of issuance of a final decision was within the discretion of the contracting officer, … Continue reading

MISSING DEADLINES IN CONTRACT ADMINISTRATION AND CLAIMS

This article is the second in a series about mistakes in missing deadlines. The first covered deadlines in protests, and this article discusses deadlines in contract administration and claims. For both, missing deadlines can result in very serious consequences to the contractor, therefore missing a deadline can be a very important mistake.  In a Contract: Every contract has a delivery schedule. Each deliverable has a deadline. Unexcused failure to meet the delivery schedule is a cause for a termination for default. The default clause clearly states that the government may default a contract if the contractor fails to deliver the supplies or to perform the services within the time specified in the contract. FAR 52.249-8(a)(1(i). Unless the contractor can show that the delay or nonperformance … Continue reading

MISSING DEADLINES IN PROTESTS

During the Civil War, at the famous Andersonville Prison, on the inside of the stockade and twenty feet from it, there was a deadline established, over which no prisoner was allowed to go, day or night, under penalty of being shot. After the Civil War, deadlines were primarily associated with newspapers. In the newspaper business, to have the latest news and still get a newspaper printed and distributed on time requires adherence to strict time limits (deadlines). In government contracting, there are deadlines both before and after a contract is awarded. This article discusses protest deadlines A second article will discuss contract administration and claims deadlines. Why are deadlines important for government contractors? Because there are so many of them, and woe will be to … Continue reading