Monday, January 14, 2013


On December 27, 2012, we wrote about antidotes for the "unabated crisis" raised by the Professional Services Counsel (PSC) and Grant Thornton LLP in their recent study report.  In that piece, we suggested more myth busting memos from the Office of Procurement Policy (OFPP), instituting a help hot line, fixing the debriefing and LPTA debacles, educating the lawyers and training by the case study method.  We believe we should establish a corps of experienced volunteers who are willing to spend time on the phone with less experienced professionals on the acquisition team (as defined in FAR 1.102(d)) advising them on areas within the experience and expertise of the volunteers.

We remember when a government investigator called us out of the blue and asked us questions about the Anti-deficiency Act.  The investigator had read that we had written a case history about a violation of the Act occurring some time ago.  We were more than happy to explain our understanding of that Act.

Our suggestion that the government rehire the retirees is impracticable and unworkable.  It can and will never happen.  We need not belabor the point. However, many of us are willing to reply to a request that we volunteer our time and supply answers to questions about our experience and expertise.  The government could set up a help hot line which monitors could use to match the questioner with the appropriate experienced volunteer.  This advice would be case specific answers to real time questions with the explicit disclaimer that the volunteer would not be speaking for the government but would instead be offering counsel and suggested solutions.

The big questions are whether any of the experienced people are interested in joining the corps, whether the government would accept the idea and whether anyone would actually use the help hot line.  Big questions.  And, Congress would have to approve this (because of the Anti-Deficiency Act) and provide a liability shield.  The purpose of this piece is to elicit your reaction to see if it is appropriate to seriously suggest and promote this approach with the appropriate government acquisition executives.

So let us hear from you.  We have thick skins so go ahead and tell us if you think this notion stinks.

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