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  • Question

    Is it permissible for a contracting officer warrant to be issued to an AOPC for the purpose of signing vendor agreements? It seems outside the scope of the true meaning of a CO. This person is not a PCO, ACO or a TCO. They do not obligate funds or do anything that would involve funding. They do not touch contracts and have not accomplished the usual contract specialist type of work in years. Even though there are no "funds" obligated, are they commiting the Government to something that could cause an expenditure which they are NOT authorized to do? Your assistance would be greatly appreciated.


    Answer

    The FAR 2.101 defines a Contracting Officer as: "Contracting Officer means a person with the authority to enter into, administer, and/or terminate contracts and make related determinations and findings. The term includes certain authorized representatives of the contracting officer acting within the limits of their authority as delegated by the contracting officer. Administrative contracting officer (ACO) refers to a contracting officer who is administering contracts. Termination contracting officer (TCO) refers to a contracting officer who is settling terminated contracts. A single contracting officer may be responsible for duties in any or all of these areas. Reference in this regulation (48 CFR Chapter 1) to administrative contracting officer or termination contracting officer does not--
    (1) Require that a duty be performed at a particular office or activity or, (2) Restrict in any way a contracting officer in the performance of any duty properly assigned.

    As long as a person designated as a Contracting Officer has been "properly" assigned and they have accomplished all of their criteria for becoming a Contracting Officer then they are a Contracting Officer no matter how narrow or broad their duties as assigned may seem.

    If you have further concerns about this practice within your organization you should bring it up with your chain of command.

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