My Technical POC send an email directly to the Vendor requesting a "Formal Proposal" for the work on the TR. The KO chewed me out as the new COR for getting a proposal from the Vendor, when the KO is supposed to request it. I explained that I had come into the middle of this contract and haven't asked anything from the vendor since I was designated on 28 Dec 16. My TPOC states that he is allowed to ask for this proposal. I disagree, as I see it as directing the Vendor to do new work. Even if we don't do the TR, the fact that the Vendor spent money writing up a formal proposal could cause a request for funding in the future. Or they just bury it in the proposal cost, and the govt pays for it. He asked me where in the training did it say that he could not ask the Vendor for a proposal. Help!
Note to readers: a phone call with the question submitter revealed a few additional facts and clarified some of the acronyms used.
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First, the mere fact the KO “chewed you out” should be enough for the TPOC to know they were not allowed to do that.
DAU’s COR 222, CLC 222, and CLC 106 (and CLC 206) repeatedly state that COR’s are not authorized to change a contract, request additional work, or authorize a contractor to do something that is not in the contract.
Your analysis was spot-on!!! Asking a contractor to develop and submit a “Formal Proposal” is clearly requesting the contractor to do additional work. I will not go into all of the FAR references that discuss where the contracting officer is the one who requests proposals.
In your scenario, had the KO decided not make award (or modify the contract) to accommodate the proposal and then the contractor submitted a request to paid for developing the proposal… this could have turned into an unauthorized commitment. They only way that could be fixed would be to go through the ratification process.
The golden rule when it comes to CORs: If an authority or responsibility is not specifically identified in the COR’s Letter of Designation, never, never, NEVER assume you are authorized to do it without first consulting the KO (contracting officer). Trust me, the "tell me where it says I can't do that..." defense just won't fly!