Does the FDO modify the boards' evaluation document to match his recommendation and add in his comments? Or does he simply change the adjective?
FAR 16.401 (e) (2) provides the following guidance on award-fee amount. The amount of award fee earned shall be commensurate with the contractor's overall cost, schedule, and technical performance as measured against contract requirements in accordance with the criteria stated in the award-fee plan. Award fee shall not be earned if the contractor's overall cost, schedule, and technical performance in the aggregate is below satisfactory. The basis for all award-fee determinations shall be documented in the contract file to include, at a minimum, a determination that overall cost, schedule and technical performance in the aggregate is or is not at a satisfactory level. This determination and the methodology for determining the award fee are unilateral decisions made solely at the discretion of the Government.
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The award Fee process is negotiable prior to contract award and is documented in the contract at contract inception. Based on your statement that the contract states the fee determining official has the final say in fee determination. Based on that, he Is within the contract intent to determine the amount of award fee independently after considering the evaluation board’s input. As the FDO provided his justification of each factor as to why it should be graded one "grade" lower than what the board recommended and he has provided his rationale for the award, both inputs should be retained in the contract file to support award of the award fee.