Game Planning, Not a Game

Federal News Network surveyed 100 or so government contractors during the final week of the shutdown about current contracted projects and expectations once the shutdown ended.

Not surprisingly, 71 percent said projects would be delayed and 40 percent believe it would take more than four weeks to get up to speed. Respondents also thought high costs would accrue during the re-start. Comments included the following:

  • Significant costs associated with re-start include rescheduled travel, reworked program plans, and employee hiring
  • Security clearance waits
  • Awaiting payment of invoices submitted before the shutdown
  • Permanent loss of employees to commercial firms due in part to fear of future shutdowns. (Federal News Network February 2019)

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) requested that agencies move swiftly to pay contractors along with federal employees. However, agencies themselves are experiencing payment backlog, as several of the government’s invoice processing agencies had large portions of their own workforces furloughed. Before they returned, contractors’ unpaid invoices had been stacking up, awaiting formal acceptance and payment since 22 December 2018. (ibid)

We are hopeful that Congress passes legislation to make contractors ‘whole’ once future shutdowns ends, but we’re not holding our breath. Prudent contractors should plan for fiscal management upon another shutdown, possibly as early as 15 February.

Questions about your payments? We can try to help at 301-913-5000.

Open. Shut. Ajar?

By now, everyone is acutely aware that the government experienced the longest shutdown in US history. Doors opened on Monday but it is hardly back to business as usual. Contractors face countless bottlenecks as well as hurry-up-and-wait scenarios. Has the stop work order been rescinded? Does the contractor’s badge still work? If not, is a new clearance necessary? When work starts up again, will all employees be in place and ready to go? While it took no time at all to close the doors, opening them and getting back to business, as usual, is likely going to take some time. This, coupled with the looming possibility of yet another shut down, adds to the already less than perfect predicament in which government contractors finds themselves.

Homeland Security offered expectations with the re-start. Soraya Correa, chief procurement officer at DHS issued a notice stating, “If the particular RFP or RFQ established a deadline for submission of a proposal or quotation after Dec. 21, 2018 and the DHS funding lapse is not resolved prior to the deadline established in the RFP, then the proposal or quotations shall be due within seven business days following the resolution of the DHS funding lapse.” Correa also wrote, “If the particular RFP or RFQ provided for the submission of questions, comments or other forms of inquiry after Dec. 21, 2018 and the DHS funding lapse is not resolved prior to the deadline established in the RFP for this type of submission, then the submission shall be due within five business days following the resolution of the DHS funding lapse and resumption of business operations.” She explained that responses to RFIs are due three business days following the resumption of DHSs business operations. (Federal News Network January 2019)

OMB revised its guidance to agencies on 22 January, suggesting a recall of workers in order to pay contractors who billed the government before the 21 December shutdown. (ibid) Small businesses need those payments as soon as possible, whereas larger contractors have a little more room to work with as their pockets are deeper. Whether large or small, the pain is real and expected to last for a long time to come.

Hopefully, should the government shut its doors again, agencies are more prepared with notices to contractors. Setting expectations could relieve at least some of the panic.

Are you trying to figure out how to navigate through this trying time? Give us a call at 301-913-5000, We can help.

 

Dancing the Limbo … Still

The government shutdown is now the longest in US history, costing around $200 million per day or nearly $1.5 billion per week. This just compounds as the days and weeks drag on. (Nextgov January 15, 2019)

Business size makes the difference in the shutdown’s effect on employees.  Large companies with government contracts generally have the ability to shift employees around (with agency approval), give them training opportunities, or allow them to take vacation time, personal time, or sick leave. All with the knowledge that they will have jobs once the government doors reopen. (ibid)

Unfortunately, though, contractors large and small cannot maintain payrolls when their customers fail to pay, and employees feel the brunt with layoffs. These employees will likely have a hard time finding work, even after the government reopens. It’s the smaller government contractor that will have the hardest time holding on, and the longer the shutdown continues, that harder it gets.

Planning for the future during the shutdown also seems dire because RFPs without functioning agencies languish. This bottleneck stalls the process, task orders stop, and ultimately everything comes to a complete standstill. Hurry-up-and-wait turns into wait-and-wait and, again, layoffs can be the only answer for the small government  contractor. We, with you, hope for the shutdown to end. Now.

Do you have questions about which agencies are open for business and what you can expect? Give us a call at 301-913-5000 and we will help you out.

Government Grinch

All government contractors should be aware of procedures in the event that our federal system shuts down at midnight tonight. GSA sent the following in an email earlier today:

In the event of a Government shutdown Friday night after 11:59pm, GSS acquisition will continue to process orders and will remain open during the Government Shutdown in the near term.

However, Government personnel responsible for receiving delivery or performing inspections at many agencies* may not be available during the period of the funding gap.  The Federal Government is closed Monday, December 24, and Tuesday, December 25th, regardless of whether there is a shutdown. Please review the contingency plans of government agencies posted here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/information-for-agencies/agency-contingency-plans/

Since the status of agency personnel remains uncertain, we advise you to call ahead to confirm that government personnel are available to accept deliveries.  The Government will not be liable for any costs you may incur if you attempt delivery during the period of the funding gap (shutdown). If, after reviewing the affected agencies at the website above, you are still unsure of imminent delivery schedule success, please contact your customer agency for further instructions before attempting delivery during this timeframe.

*Agencies impacted in a potential shutdown include the Departments of Homeland Security, Agriculture, Interior, Treasury, State, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, Commerce, and Justice.

Agencies where funding for FY19 has already been passed, and therefore not affected by a shutdown, include the Departments of Defense, Labor, Energy, Health and Human Services, Education, Veterans Affairs and the legislative branch.

If you’re worried about something in particular, give us a call at 301-913-5000. We will be working sporadically next week, but are always available for your emergencies.

Reverse Auction is Reversed!

GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) is decommissioning the ReverseAuctions (RA) platform on September 30, 2018. The RA platform will not be available for either the creation or management of auctions after this date. Auctions with end dates after October 1, 2018, will be allowed to conclude as scheduled, and GSA will maintain RA system access for users, allowing for the retrieval of auction related documents through December 31, 2018.

Note: FSSI OS3 vendors can continue to log in and bid on OS3 auctions.