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  • Question

    The real question is; CAN an ACO de-obligate remaining funds per the limiation of the ACO warrant?


    Answer

    As a point of clarification, appointment of contracting officers is not synonymous with delegation of contract administration functions.  Contracting officers are appointed in accordance with FAR 1.603-3 using the SF1402, Certificate of Appointment, commonly referred to as a “warrant.”  This is separate and distinct from assignment of contract administration addressed in FAR 42.2 and 42.3.
     
    The answer to your question depends on both the appointment and the delegation.
     
    A contracting officer, including an ACO, may exercise authority only within the scope of any limitations placed on their appointment.  See FAR 1.603-3 and applicable agency-specific regulations or policy for more information.
     
    In addition, an ACO may perform contract administration functions when delegated by the contracting officer in accordance with FAR 42.2.  Many of these functions are listed in FAR 42.302, including FAR 42.302(a)(70), deobligating excess funds after final price determination.
     
    Finally, contract closeout procedures identified at FAR 4.804-5(a) indicate the ACO must review the contract funds status and deobligate any excess funds, after coordination with the contracting office.  See also FAR 4.804-5(a)(15). 
     
    Taken together, these rules establish that the ACO can deobligate remaining funds if (1) such action is within the scope of their individual appointment (or “warrant”), and (2) such action is an administrative function delegated to them by the contracting officer.
     


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