Though multiple legislative efforts have failed in amending Title VII to include sexual orientation and gender-identity to the list of protected classes which cannot be discriminated against, President Obama’s Executive Order (EO) 13672, signed on July 21, 2014, and the subsequent guidance issued by various government agencies leaves government contractors with changes to make in this arena. Like EO 11246, Equal Employment Opportunity, issued in 1965, it impacts virtually all government contracts with a very low threshold of $10,000 or more in federal contracts or subcontracts. Exclusions are few and unaltered as currently stated in the regulations, 41 CFR 60-1.5.
In honor of today’s date and what it represents, a special blog concerning government actions and reactions.
In a December 4 2014 memorandum to Chief Acquisition Officers, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) surprisingly admits that the government procurement process requires a shake-up to improve efficiency and reduce administrative burden on both government contracting personnel as well as contractors.
Prior to retiring from DCAA, I was involved in developing the 2012 DCAA Requirements Plan for the Huntsville Branch Office. Since one of my Huntsville contractors was a major, I was required to coordinate my plan with the DCAA Contract Audit Coordinator (CAC) in Chicago. The CAC was estimating the Business Systems staffing requirement for ONE major contractor. The estimate was prepared to consider auditing the Accounting and Billing business system requirements using the draft DCAA audit program for the respective systems. The CAC advised me that its estimate of the hours required to complete TWO business system audits across all segments of the ONE major contractor would be 235,000 over a two-year period. This estimate was communicated to DCAA management at the All Managers Meeting in the fall of 2011.
I recently delivered a presentation at the National Contract Management Association (NCMA) World Congress on the July 15, 2014 DoD proposed changes to DFARS business system Rules (DFARS Case 2012-042) for contractor accounting systems, estimating systems, and material management and accounting systems (MMAS). A public hearing on the proposed changes is scheduled for August 18, 2014 and comments are to be submitted on or before September 15, 2014. As noted in previous blogs, the new rules do not apply to small businesses or to other DFARS defined business systems (purchasing, EVMS, Government property).
As published in the Federal Register on May 6, 2014 the Department of Defense has issued a final rule amending the DFARS to require certain qualifying contractors to adequately address the detection and avoidance of counterfeit electronic parts. This was done to implement those sections of the NDAA for fiscal years 2012 and 2013 respectively dealing with the same subject and is effective May 6, 2014.
Recently DCAA’s Director, Pat Fitzgerald, announced his retirement effective August 4, 2014. In addition to announcing his retirement, he very graciously thanked the DCAA community for their collective efforts to “clearly improve our audit quality and workforce morale, as well as the value we are adding to the warfighter and taxpayer”. In addition, Mr. Fitzgerald assured the DCAA workforce that “we have established a foundation to make additional improvements to ensure that we continue to provide exceptional service”.
On April 21, 2014, the DAR editor submitted a proposed new DFARS rule (DFARS Case 2012-042) for Business Systems Compliance to OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). Generally, this is the last step prior to the publication of the new rules. The full body of the proposed rule has not been published; however, OIRA has published the following abstract on May 23, 2014 as part of its semiannual compilation of all pending federal regulations:
Robert Eldridge and Michael Steen, Director and Senior Director of Redstone Government Consulting, have been selected to speak at the prestigious National Contract Management Association’s World Congress (NCMAWC). This annual training event for contract management, procurement and acquisition professionals is the largest training event of its kind and will be held at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center in Washington D.C., from July 27-30.
The Department of Energy (DOE) has released its proposed amendments to the Department of Energy Acquisition Regulations (DEAR) which would subject certain DOE contracts to business systems criteria and penalties for failure to maintain adequate internal controls governing those systems. The proposed rule, published on April 1 2014, makes official a DOE FY 2013 promise of implementing formal regulations which would mirror systems requirements already in place for DOD contracts, those systems of which are defined in DFARS 252.242-7005.