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  • Question

    When a contract or modification is bilateral, beyond FAR 4.101 stating that the Contracting Officer normally signs after the Contractor is there any other supporting information that states that the Contracting Officer should sign after the Contractor? Thank you, Frank DuBeck


    Answer

    We are highly curious as to why more might be needed than the guidance at 4.101?  This gives the contracting officer some leeway in the event they “forgot” and signed it before the contractor… then they don’t have to start over.
     
    But the real reason for this order comes from a time before we had e-mail and contract writing systems that easily re-produced a contract modification or contract with the push of a button; back when we used typewriters.
     
    We would mail (snail mail) the request for offeror (IFB, RFP, RFQ etc) or modification and the respective offeror or contractor would fill in the information they needed to provide either by pen or typewriter, sign it and mail it back.  The contracting officer would decide if it was acceptable; if it was they would sign it and make distribution.
     
    Back in 1995, when I received my first PCO warrant, I was mailing out an RFP and I signed the SF33.  Luckily my supervisor caught it and instructed me the offerors need to sign first.  When I asked why (I should have read FAR 4.101 first), he said “Do you want a contractor to fill in their amount (any amount) and say “we accept?”…”  While he meant it as a joke, it always stuck with me as an important learning point.
     
    If you are too young to know what a typewriter is… plug the term into your favorite search engine J

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