Now the command wants to assigned a property book officer. The question is who has control of the contract and the GFP. Is it the PBO, PA or the contracting officer?
“None of the above,” is the appropriate answer to the question you posed!
It is the contractor who is responsible for both contract performance and control of any/all Government property listed on/accountable to that contract.
Importantly, vital background information relative to the nature of the contract, place of performance, contract type, type and classification of property involved and whether it is listed in the contract was unaddressed limiting a more utilitarian answer. However it appears there is some confusion regarding the contracting/contract administration process and the roles of some key individuals. Perhaps role clarification of such key individuals will be of help to you.
Here are some of the key individuals and their roles:
- Requiring Activity
- Property Book Officer
- Contracting Officer
- Property Administrator
REQUIRING ACTIVITY – Has a need for an item or service that requires a formal contract agreement with a contractor who has performance responsibility. Performs acquisition planning and submits the funded purchase request to the contracting office containing the statement of work and a listing of all Government property attached to that contract action.
PROPERTY BOOK OFFICER – Also known as the accountable property officer may be the “owner” of the property listed in the contract or be otherwise accountable for it (see AR 735-5, Property Accountability Policies).
CONTRACTING OFFICER – Writes the contract. Is the “fiduciary” or the individual responsible for representing both the requiring activity for contract performance and the “owner” of Government property listed/accountable to the contract. The contracting officer may either assign the contract for administration (See FAR Part 42.202 and 42.302(a)) or retain administrative responsibility and perform all FAR 42.302 administrative functions to the extent they apply. If the contracting officer retains administrative responsibility, they are compelled to perform the duties and responsibilities of both the property administrator (PA) and/or Plant Clearance Officer when these functions are not otherwise specifically assigned.
PROPERTY ADMINISTRATOR – When specifically assigned, performs the duties and responsibilities included in FAR Part 45 and FAR clause 52.245-1 as the Government representative including surveillance and auditing of the contractors Property Management System which is contractually required by FAR 52.245-1(b) & (f).
CONTRACTOR – The “steward” of Government property attached to the contract (in accordance with the Government property clauses) and responsible for overall contract performance.
When Government property, comprising both Government-furnished Property (property book “stuff”) and Contractor-acquired Property as defined in FAR Part 45.101, is listed on/accountable to a contract, it is the CONTRACTOR who becomes responsible as the STEWARD for such property as required by the Government property clause at FAR 52.245-1. Specifically they are required to establish and maintain a documented property management system (PMS) as described in 52.245-1(b) and address the outcomes/processes detailed in FAR 52.245-1(f)(1)(i)-(x).
The contracting officer is the fiduciary, legally acting vis-à-vis the contract with the contractor relative to contract performance which includes all listed/accountable Government contract property. An assigned Government PA provides surveillance of the contractors PMS and if one is not assigned, that responsibility remains with the Contracting Officer. The contractor employs the Government property placed on contract in accordance with the contract including the SOW and all other contract requirements.
So, returning to the initial answer, it is truly the contractor who is responsible for both contract performance and all listed/accountable Government contract property – not a PBO, PA or contracting officer. It should be noted that the provided background is both confusing and perhaps even misdirecting. First, an appointed PA does not manage GFP – rather they provide surveillance of the contractor’s PMS within which it is controlled. Second, if Government property is managed by a “fleet management office” then it’s questionable whether this property is listed on/accountable to a contract and is therefore truly GFP (as defined in FAR 45.101). Third, command assignment of a property book officer has no bearing on property listed on/accountable to a contract as this property is under the stewardship of the contractor under the terms of the contract and remains so until they are appropriately relieved of stewardship responsibilities according to 52.245-1(b)(2).
Perhaps your command has a property administrator you can contact to both discuss and resolve the issues you’ve raised.