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    Can the contractor working on the completion task order stop work and work on the second task order? Or is the fact it is a completion task order somehow unique and does not allow this type of thing?


    Answer

    The following response is based solely on the question and background information provided.  As we do not have all the facts particular to your contract, program, and situation, we highly recommend, as applicable, you consult your leadership, contracting officer and/or Legal Office for guidance.
     
    Additional information relevant to this question is that you are operating under a multiple award task order (MATOC) contract in which cost plus fixed fee task orders are awarded on a competitive basis.  The contractor in this case has been awarded a task order (Task A) to perform work in a foreign country for approximately 10 weeks.  An additional requirement has been identified for work in the geographical vicinity of Task A and the question is whether the work can be suspended on Task A to allow an ~2 day task (Task B) to be performed.  This response assumes that Task B is clearly out of scope of Task A.  The Government anticipates that a significant cost savings  in time and dollars can result by allowing the contractor currently performing Task A to also accomplish the short duration Task B.  Based on the information provided, there appears to be 2 primary issues:
    (1)  whether the contractor can be awarded a noncompetitive TO under the MATOC to perform Task B
    (2) whether Task A performance can be interrupted so that the contractor can perform Task B.  Note:  I assume the contractor will complete Task A upon completion of Task B.
     
    Before proceeding with an approach that takes advantage of the contractor's proximity to the Task B performance location, it will have to be determined whether the MATOC construct will allow Task B to be awarded noncompetitively. FAR 16.505(b)(1)(i) requires that MATOCs  "must provide each awardee a fair opportunity to be considered for each order exceeding $3,000 issued under multiple delivery-order contracts or multiple task-order contracts."  However, exceptions to "fair opportunity" are permitted (see FAR 16.505 (b)(1)(iii)(A)).  In this case, Task B's estimated cost falls under the simplified acquisition threshold (SAT) of $150K and, therefore, FAR 16.505(b)(2)(ii) applies which states that "the contracting officer shall document the basis for using an exception to the fair opportunity process" (see FAR (b)(2)(ii)(A)).  Because the task falls under the SAT,  the Contracting Officer may justify the action based on the anticipate cost savings resulting from the Task A contractor (having the requisite skills and wherewithal to perform) being in proximity to the Task B performance location. As an aside,  if the Task B estimated costs were above the SAT, the Contracting Officer's justifications would be limited to those listed under FAR (b)(2)(ii)(B), and the likely justification would have to relate to the agency's urgent need being such "that providing a fair opportunity would result in unacceptable delays" ... the unacceptable delay being the limited time period in which the contractor is onsite working under Task A and the cost benefit to the Government of having the contractor perform Task B given their proximity to the performance location.
     
    Regarding the second issue of whether the contractor can be permitted to deviate from Task A to perform Task B.  It is important to recognize that Task B is a 1 - 2 day effort and there is the potential that the contractor could perform Task B within the same period of time in which Task A is accomplished without compromising successful Task A performance (i.e. completion of the task per FAR 16.306(d)(1)).  The contractor will have to make that call. Potential cost impact to Task A should not be a factor unless there is an increased cost to restart Task A after breaking to perform Task B.  If there
    is an unacceptable impact to the Task A terms and conditions, the Contracting Officer could consider whether the 2 day Task B could be performed immediately following completion of Task A thus negating the issue of concurrent performance.

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