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Tell Us About It

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This is the worst RFP I’ve ever seen in my career!

This contracting officer doesn’t know what they’re doing!

Doesn’t anybody care that we are spending $100 to deal with $5 in costs?

We’ve all heard such comments. Businesses don’t like doing business with the government, primarily because the government doesn’t do business very well. It does government, not business. (H/T Brent C.)

RFPs are poorly drafted—ambiguous at best, literally insane at worst. CO’s won’t listen; or if they do listen, they listen to DCAA and not the contractor. DCAA auditors don’t even understand their own audit programs. We could go on, listing complaints so common that we don't pay attention to them anymore.

We get it. According to many, the government workforce is poorly prepared, poorly trained and, as a result, poorly executes. And then the finger gets pointed at the poor contractors, who were trying to do their best and were only following direction.

We’ve all heard it. We have all heard the foregoing complaints, and many others as well. More than likely we’ve all heard those complaints many many times.

Complaining. Grousing. Kvetching. Bitching.

Whatever you want to call it.

But it’s almost never said directly to the people who most need to hear it. You complain about the situation around the watercooler with your colleagues, or you complain late at night when you are trying to complete that stupid schedule. You complain to us via email.

But you don’t actually complain to the contracting officers, or to the ACOs, or to the audit supervisors. You don't complain to the people you think are responsible for the problems, and thus nobody is ever held accountable. You don't officially complain, do you?

Now’s your chance.

On July 23, 2018, the FAR Councils published a proposed rule to allow contractors to offer “feedback … on Government contracts and solicitations.”

Remember, this is a proposed rule. The Councils are looking for feedback as to whether or not contractors would actually provide the feedback, if there were a mechanism in place to receive and disseminate it.

An example of the kind of feedback they would be looking for can be found here.

The proposed rule discussed ten things for which the FAR Councils are seeking industry comment. Why don’t you follow the link above, and see whether or not you might have some responses you’d like to submit for consideration?

Remember, if you don’t provide your feedback to the proposed rule, you may not like the final rule and the final survey questions. And if you don’t use the future state feedback portal because you don’t like the survey questions or you don’t like the portal—or you think you will be the object of retaliation if you really tell the truth—then you will have nothing.

You will be right back where you are now, grousing about the situation with no means of communicating what’s wrong, let alone changing it.

So tell them about it now, so that you can tell them about it later.



Effective January 1, 2019, Nick Sanders has been named as Editor of two reference books published by LexisNexis. The first book is Matthew Bender’s Accounting for Government Contracts: The Federal Acquisition Regulation. The second book is Matthew Bender’s Accounting for Government Contracts: The Cost Accounting Standards. Nick replaces Darrell Oyer, who has edited those books for many years.