Monday, January 22, 2007

The Friendly -- and Well-Formed -- Contract

Recent news stories about GSA Administrator Lurita Doan and her unsuccessful effort to award a contract to a friend are instructive.

Did you imagine that the top official in an agency might not have legal signing authority on a contract?

Only a warranted contracting official does. Here's what else we can learn:
  • Make The Decision Easy: The vendor presented a concise, well-organized purchase order for a $20,000 research study that clearly appealed to the GSA Administrator's needs. It described the project in a way that apparently made it attractive to the buyer.

  • Know The Rules: Even when your buyer loves you, wants to sole-source and says it'll be fast and easy, slow down. FAR Part 6.3 says exactly how a buyer must justify "acquisition by other than full-and-open competition".

  • Make Contracting Easier: If your buyer believes that sole source is justifiable, then read FAR Part 6.3 again. Drafting some language your buyer could consider including in the contract that supports your unique value proposition and justifies not going to competition.
Knowing the rules is everybody's responsibility. After all, wouldn't you rather get written up in the Washington Post for doing fabulous work than for why someone's improper procedures prevented you from winning a job?

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