The PCI Network – Character Traits for a Great Government Contracts Professional

In this episode of The PCI Network, the head of our FUN with the FAR series, Stephen Daoust, discusses the four traits of a great government contracts professional. Throughout his 25-year career, Steve has worked as a Chief Government Contracts Counsel, Director of Contracts, and Chief Compliance Officer for both publicly traded companies like Iridium and Affiliated Computer Services and large accounting firms like PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he was asked on a daily basis to provide expert advice and counsel on the negotiation and administration of contracts with federal, state, and local Governments. Check out what he has to say below!

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

Afterthoughts: Low Price Technically Acceptable (LPTA)

Following each Nash & Schooner Hot Topics Webinar event, we interview Professor Ralph Nash to get his thoughts on the topic following the panel discussion. On November 29th, Professors Ralph Nash and Steve Schooner and Dean Dan Gordon discussed LPTAs.   What is the difference between an LPTA competition versus a sealed bid competition? With sealed bidding of course you open the bids publicly whereas in LPTA you don’t get see other prices or the other bidders’ technical proposals.  In addition, in sealed bidding, a bid is responsive or non-responsive with no way to fix it except, of course, if you are using two step.  Whereas in LPTA you have the option of negotiation and using negotiation to get unacceptable bids to acceptable.  I don’t … Continue reading

A Steady Drumbeat?

In every Organizational Conflict of Interest (OCI) bid protest decision, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) says that it will defer to the Contracting Officer (CO) – i.e., that it “will review the reasonableness of a contracting officer’s OCI investigation and, where an agency has given meaningful consideration to whether a significant conflict of interest exists, . . . will not substitute our judgment for the agency’s, absent clear evidence that the agency’s conclusion is unreasonable.” In past years, however, several GAO decisions raised doubt as to whether GAO was merely paying lip service to the deference standard.  In each of these cases, involving all three types of OCI’s, GAO reversed a CO’s determination made after what seemed to be a serious and reasonable investigation and … 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