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.

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.

Shutdown is Long, Still Going Strong

Is there an end in sight? Will the Dems and Trump come to an agreement soon? Will you get paid? Will you receive back pay for the time the government doors are shut? These are the questions government workers, contractors, and subcontractors are asking.

Here’s what we know:

• Private companies that serve civilian agencies such as the Department of Homeland Security, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and the EPA have been told to stop work on specific contracts. (No word as to what happens next.) (Washington Post January 6, 2019)

• The government is offering guidance to contractors on an agency-by-agency basis and contractors are starting to receive “stop work order” notices from those agencies that no longer have funds. (Department of Defense and intelligence agencies are, for the most part, unaffected.) (ibid)

• FEMA has posted a “blanket” stop work order. This likely will not affect deep pockets of larger companies working on FEMA contracts, but will undoubtedly negatively impact smaller businesses. Government workers will get back pay, government contractors will not. (Washington Post, January 6, 2019)

As feared, the smaller the business the greater the impact.

Have questions about your contracts with the government and what you should be doing? Give us a call at 301-913-5000.

 

Bid that Bid … Still!

Government shutdown or no, contractors should still submit bids by their due date!

According to Alan Chvotkin (EVP and general counsel for the Professional Services Council), “these are among the thousand day-to-day issues that arise during an actual lapse in funding. The general guidance I provide our members is: Until told otherwise, the deadline is the deadline, even if the government offices are closed.” (Aron Boyd, Nextgov December 28, 2018)

Submitting bids electronically is relatively easy. A bigger issue arises with bids requiring physical submission: what to do? You are your own best advocate in this situation. Chvotkin suggests that it’s “best to attempt delivery and document — with photos and time stamps of the effort and confirm the attempt with an electronic message to the designated official.” (ibid)

Due diligence on the contractors part goes a long way. Keep an eye out for updates and extensions. Do not assume a bid deadline will be extended. The best rule of thumb is to make no assumption and assume the original due date is the due date!

Give us a call and we will help you work through your bid submission, at 301-913-5000.

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.