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    I am wondering how a unit can publish such a memorandum that limits competition to only two vendors. And if anyone knows what the approval process is for Ice Vendors in order to do Government business?


    Answer

    1. The FAR references quoted below in pertinent part are applicable to this response.

    FAR 1.108 – FAR Conventions
    (f) Imperative sentences. When an imperative sentence directs action, the contracting officer is responsible for the action, unless another party is expressly cited.

    FAR 10.001 -- Policy
    (a) Agencies must --
    (2) Conduct market research appropriate to the circumstances --
      (ii) Before soliciting offers for acquisitions with an estimated value in excess of the simplified acquisition threshold;
      (iii) Before soliciting offers for acquisitions with an estimated value less than the simplified acquisition threshold when adequate information is not available and the circumstances justify its cost;

    (3) Use the results of market research to –
      (i) Determine if sources capable of satisfying the agency’s requirements exist;

    2. The following references are also applicable to this response.
    A. Army Regulation 40–657/NAVSUP 4355.4H/ MCO P10110.31H, Veterinary/Medical Food Safety, Quality Assurance, and Laboratory Service dated 21 January 2005
    http://www.apd.army.mil/pdffiles/r40_657.pdf

    B. FedBizOpps Posting: 89--Ice Delivery for Fort Bliss, Texas
    Solicitation Number: W911SG-15-T-9161 [Sources Sought]
    https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&tab=core&id=03b3e94b97a32da9e8e92bd985dcc4f6

    “The vendor will be required to be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) database and Wide Area Work Flow (WAWF). Interested parties responding to this Sources Sought request shall submit the following information at a minimum:
    5. A copy of the company's latest sanitary inspection. In accordance with Army Regulation (AR) 40-657,
    Veterinary/Medical Food Inspection and Laboratory Service, suppliers facilities must be sanitarily inspected and approved for listing in VETCOM Circular 40-1, quote mark Worldwide Directory of Sanitarily Approved Food Establishments for Armed Forces Procurement quote mark prior to award of a contract. Website: http://phc.amedd.army.mil/Pages/default.aspx. To request an initial sanitary inspection, suppliers shall submit a letter through the Contracting Officer to the Commander, U.S. Army Institute of Public Health (AIPH), ATTN: AIPH, 5158 Blackhawk Road, Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21010-5403, containing as a minimum the following information:
      (a) Full name of the establishment, street address (or geographical location), city, state, zip code and country in which the establishment is located; and the mailing address, if different from the location.
      (b) Name, title, telephone number, fax number and email address of the contact person at the supplier's establishment and the normal operating hours.
      (c) Specific products to be furnished (ice; block, crushed and carving).
      (d) If establishment is currently inspected by a federal, state or local agency, provide the establishment number and the name of the agency.”

    3. In response to the first part of this inquiry, based on the information provided in the “Background” statement, (i.e., “that other approved sources are okay to use”), we do not interpret the RA’s position as stating that the competition be limited to only two vendors. Perhaps these are the only two “approved” vendors that the RA is aware of. Therefore, given the limited information provided in this inquiry, we view the RA’s memo only as a recommendation, as opposed to specific direction to restrict competition.

    4. In response to the second part of this inquiry, the Reference 2A document would govern the approval process for ice vendors to do business with the Government. Additionally, as specified in FAR 10.001(a), the contracting officer is required to conduct market research appropriate to the circumstances to determine if other sources besides the vendors suggested by the RA are capable of satisfying the Reference 2A requirements document. In this regard, we suggest that the contracting officer post a “sources sought” notice on FedBizOpps similar to the Reference 2B posting that furnished potential vendors with the information required to become an “approved source” to satisfy that requirement for ice delivery.



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