As the largest contracting body in the United States, the Federal Government is always concerned about the management of risk. The Governments preferred type of contract vehicle is fixed-price, which places the risk of cost overruns on the Contractor. When a fixed-price contract cannot be established, a time-and-material or cost reimbursable contract vehicle is used. The risk of cost overruns for these types of contracts falls back on the Government. Continue reading »
The information contained in the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS), euphemistically known as the “bad contractor” database, will become become publicly available. Though access to FAPISS was originally limited to certain government employees, Congress has now directed the Office of Management and Budget Continue reading »
Executives at federal contracting firms who think their compensation package is confidential better think again. Previously, companies that accepted stimulus funded (ARRA) contracts were required to report the total compensation of their 5 most highly compensated officers. This requirement has been re-phrased and now applies to almost all government contracts.
A new clause, 52.204-10 “Reporting Executive Compensation and First-Tier Subcontract Awards (Jul 2010)“, has been added to the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR). This clause will be mandatory for Continue reading »
Department of Defense (DOD) officials now require service contractors to identify themselves as contractors, and also to wear badges that distinguish their status. This is being done in an attempt to make it more obvious who are government employees and who are private-sector workers. A recent WashingtonTechnology.com article, notes that DOD acquisition officials issued the interim rule on September 8, 2010, with immediate implementation. The rule was implemented without prior comment because the DOD believes that there is urgent and compelling reasons to do so. They will however be accepting comments through November 8, 2010, regarding the new policy.
Regulators amended the Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement regarding the requirements in personal services contracts from now on. A contract must include a provision that obligates contractors to identify themselves as contractors and wear the badges or another visible identification for meetings with the government employees.
Effective June 22, 2010, the prevailing health and welfare fringe benefits required by the McNamara-O’Hara Service Contract Act (SCA) increased to $3.50 per hour. The Department of Labor (DoL) issued a memorandum on June 9, 2010, announcing the change. The new benefit rate is derived from the latest DoL Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Cost Index, summary of Employer Cost for Employee Compensation.
Don’t let the increase impact your bottom line – know your rights as a Federal contractor. – “Fair Labor Standards Act and Service Contract Act-Price Adjustment (Multiple Year and Option Contracts)” as well as FAR 52.222-44 “Fair Labor Standards Act and Service Contract Act-Price Adjustment” authorize adjustment of fixed price SCA-covered contracts when SCA wage determinations require an increase to the minimum wage or fringe benefits. Contractors are allowed an hourly adjustment equal to the new hourly fringe benefit rate less the hourly cost of the actual benefits provided by the contractor.
Do not delay; the FAR clauses also stipulate that the claim must be submitted within 30 days of the effective modification incorporating a new wage determination.
Conquering Federal Acquisition Regulations (July 14th, 2010, 8:30am, Aronson & Company, Rockville)
Join Aronson & Company and ABC of Metro Washington for a seminar on July 14th where our contracting experts will explain how the government and contractors use the FAR and describe some of the most pertinent provisions. This installment in ABC’s management series will provide a basic understanding of the FAR for companies just entering the federal market. Don’t let the FAR intimidate you. Approach your federal opportunities with the confidence that comes from knowing the “rules of the road!” Details
Succeeding When Government Contracting Dollars Shrink (July 14th, 2010, 7:30am, Tower Club, Tysons Corner)
Federal contracting dollars have been plentiful during the current economic downturn, but all good things come to an end. Control your destiny and create your federal roadmap for success! Join Aronson & Company, Information Experts, Venable and our distinguished guest panelists for an informative breakfast briefing on July 14th where the panelists will provide the “coordinates” for building your roadmap to future success. Using your leverage now will allow you to sustain and grow in the leaner times ahead. Whether your current contracts were the result of deliberate efforts or accidental circumstances, only intentional actions will ensure your future success. If you are new to the federal marketplace, an experienced player trying to diversify, or struggling to achieve a growth milestone, this program will help you design your own federal roadmap. Details
The Federal Acquisition Regulations have been revised to significantly expand the requirements to conduct market research for both contracting officers and contractors. Specifically, contracting officers will now be required to conduct market research prior to awarding any IDIQ contract for non-commercial items that exceeds the simplified acquisition threshold. Also, contractors with prime contracts that exceed $5 million will now be required to conduct market research prior to the award of any subcontracts exceeding the simplified acquisition threshold.
These revisions are contained in FAR CASE 2008-007 published in the Federal Register, Volume 75, Number 115 dated June 16, 2010. The new requirements will apply to any contract awarded after that date. Though the new requirements are already effective, the FAR Counsel will accept public comments until August 16, 2010.
This change is especially important to contractors that maintain or desire to acquire an approved purchasing system. The requirement to conduct market research will undoubtedly become an element of the Contractor Purchasing System Review or CPSR. Thus most contractors will need to revised their purchasing policies and procedures to ensure the required market research is conducted and documented in the file. The “rules” for when and how to conduct market research are contained in FAR Part 10.
Thomas Marcinko is a Principal Consultant in Aronson’s Government Contract Services Group. He has over 25 years of government contracts experience, including proposal development, contract and subcontract administration, FAR compliance, small business programs, and government audits.
As part of Phase II of its Goldstar Initiative, GSA will be issuing mandatory modifications to ALL Schedule Contracts on June 24th to baseline its contractors’ current terms and conditions, along with negotiated exceptions. This process will be much more onerous then a standard mandatory modification. It is extremely important to read the instructions and complete the modification carefully. Continue reading »
Most GSA Schedule Contract holders are now required to adhere to additional compliance requirements due to new FAR clause 52.203-13 “Contractor Code of Business Ethics and Conduct”. This FAR clause has been added to most GSA Schedule Contracts and requires affected contractors to a adopt a Code of Conduct for all employees, implement a compliance program and self-report certain ethical violations of the Code to the Government. Large businesses are also required to implement a robust set of internal controls.
The “Contractor Code of Business Ethics and Conduct” FAR clause is not required to be added to pre-existing contracts nor is it required for contracts of less than $5 million. So the addition to GSA Schedule contracts has generated some controversy. For more information on the nature of this clause and the issues involved in applying it to GSA Schedule contracts please read Tom Marcinko’s latest article: A Marriage of Inconvenience: GSA Schedule Contracts & The Contractor Code of Business Ethics & Conduct Clause. Continue reading »
Beware, you may be overbilling for airfare costs if you haven’t been closely watching the travel regulations lately. A regulation revision, FAR 31.205-46(b), related to the recoverability of airfare costs aimed to resolve certain ambiguities and may result in lower recoverable amounts. The new rule provides that airfare costs in general, only are allowable to the extent the costs do not exceed “the lowest priced airfare available to the contractor.” Thus, under the new rule when contractors have obtained discounted airfare prices not available to the general public, only the discounted airfare only is allowable. The revision goes on to state that increased costs for refundable, versus non-refundable, airfare generally are unallowable.
Contractors therefore should update travel policies and procedures to reflect both the new limit of the lowest priced airfare available to the contractor and that increased costs for refundable tickets are unallowable. Contractors also should ensure that travel policies and procedures are followed when scheduling travel.
A likely result of this revision is increased focus by the DCAA and other government auditors on both allowability of airfare and contractor policies and procedures for scheduling travel. A&C can provide assistance in initiating or updating your travel policies. Contact Hope Lane at email@example.com or call at 301-231-6266.
What We Are Writing
- A Marriage of Inconvenience: GSA Schedule Contracts & The Contractor Code of Business Ethics & Conduct Clause
- Emerging Small Businesses: To Grow Your Business, You Must Plan For Growth
- Government Contracting: Look Before You Leap!
- GSA Schedules – Strategies for Success
- New Employee vs. Independent Contractor Considerations
- Pay on Display – Understanding the Executive Compensation and Subcontractor Data Reporting Requirements & Ramifications
- The GSA Schedule: Your Ticket to the Federal Market (May 2010)
- The New FAR Codes of Conduct and Compliance Program Provisions
- The Seven Deadly Sins (of contract compliance)