Myth No. 3: The Contracting Officer Really Isn’t Our Customer; the Program People Are.

*This post is the third in the ten part series, “Ten Myths of Government Contracting” and will be released weekly. Each week will introduce  a new myth and run for ten weeks.  One of the most significant differences between commercial contracting and Government contracting is the presence and importance of a person called the “Contracting Officer.”  There is really no commercial equivalent of the C.O., and it is critical that a Government contractor understand the role that the C.O. plays.  In a nutshell, nothing happens in Government contracting unless the C.O. says it does. Imagine if every single Government employee, from the president down to a buck private, had the unlimited ability to commit the Government contractually.  That’s ridiculous, of course.  If that were the … Continue reading

GSA Schedule Contract Disputes: Which Contracting Officer Decides?

The Civilian Board of Contract Appeals recently addressed the question of which contracting officer must decide disputes concerning GSA schedule contracts–the GSA CO or the Ordering Office CO.  FAR 8.406 says both.  It gives the CO from the Ordering Office (in this case, the EEOC) the authority to issue final decisions on disputes “pertaining to the performance of orders.” The GSA schedule CO is given authority to issue final decisions on disputes “pertaining to the terms and conditions” of the schedule contracts. EEOC decided not to exercise the option years of a delivery order for leasing commercial IT equipment, citing lack of appropriations as the authority for the non-exercise.   Asserting a wrongful decision, GTSI filed a claim with both contracting officers, EEOC and GSA.  The … Continue reading