Unhappily for the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and the Department of the Interior Inspector General, PEER has been putting all of the material from their jihad against Charles Monnett on line. Eli has been picking up a few crumbs.
All the bunnies know that Dr. Monnett has been directed to go back to work AND that there is now an investigation of BOEMRE AND that the Department of Justice has declined Eric May's polite suggestion of a criminal prosecution, but Eli can go a bit further by pointing first to the letter of suspension that put Monnett on administrative leave with pay which states in the first paragraph
You will remain on administrative leave pending the final results of an Office of Inspector General (OIG) investigation into integrity issuesbut now we have the BOEMRE spokeswoman, Melissa Schwartz saying
The return of an employee to work does not suggest that future administrative actions cannot/will not be taken. Federal regulations create a presumption against lengthy administrative leaves. Lengthier administrative leaves are reserved for exceptional situations when all other options are considered insufficient to adequately protect the government's interests.But wait, there is more. The latest letter from the IG's office is not from Eric May, but David Brown, the Special Agent in Charge, they are providing some adult supervision, and Brown is still headed down the yellow brick road.
Regarding the Mineral Management Service's sole source Contract # 1435-01-05-CT-39151, you admitted to assisting Dr. Andrew Derocher in preparing his proposal in response to the government's Request for Proposal (RFP). You further acknowledge that you then filled the position as Chair of the Technical Proposal Evaluation Committee (TPEC) for this particular contract. Accordingly, as the Chair of the TPEC, you were the government official responsible for reviewing Dr. Derocher's Proposal in order to ensure the Proposal met the minimum qualifications of the RFP. Essentially, you admitted that you reviewed a Proposal as the Chair of a TPEC, and thus the government official responsible for protecting the government's interest, that you helped draft.How does Eli know that the OIG is headed right into the swamp? There is a letter on the PEER site from another contracting officer's technical representative who is [snark] asking for additional training.
Although I have been on Agency Technical Proposal Evaluation Committees (TPECs) for 30 years and a Contracting Officer’s Representative/Contracting Officer’s Technical Representative/Project Officer (COR/COTR/PO) for over 20 years, the issues being raised by Office of Inspector General (OIG) in regard to Dr. Monnett demonstrate that my COR training is incomplete. I therefore request that BOEMRE provide me and other CORs additional training in appropriate COR/pre-COR appointment/ potential contractor/grantee interactions. I recommend that such training be the focus of COR certification renewal training that is required during the current 2-year recertification period. This may be particularly important training for the inexperienced, first-time CORs who have taken over most of Dr. Monnett’s contracts.and he goes on to ask some embarrassing questions
Sole-Source Contracts State of Understanding:with several further examples
o I am unclear what I can share in a proposed sole-source contract. Obviously we need to find out whether the proposed sole-source “contractor” is interested and available before it makes sense to try to establish the Solicitation. FAR 15.201 encourages contact and exchange with interested parties until the solicitation is issued; at which time, further exchange of information must start going through the CO. Once the decision to solesource has made past the FedBiz notification period without comment, the language in FAR 15.201 suggests sharing of draft RFPs, one-on-one meetings, etc. with the one potential Offeror (see FAR 15.201(c)) is appropriate and encouraged. The language in FAR15.201 suggests that discussion of a presolicitation draft proposal based on a draft RFP could be appropriate in a sole-source contract for agency “participants in the acquisition process.” However, if the COR participates in any of these presolicitation, encouraged contacts and exchanges and then as usual serves as the TPEC Chair for the subsequent proposal, has the COR, in OIG words “reviewed a Proposal as …the government official responsible for protecting the government’s interest, that you helped draft?” Detailed training should be provided on the application of FAR 15.201 in sole-source procurement.
o I am unclear what I can share in a proposed cooperative agreement. We can haveThe bunnies should remember that the Derocher proposal started as a coop agreement.
competitive contracting or a sole-source co-op. Obviously, for the latter, we need to find out whether the co-op “contractor” is interested and available before it makes sense to try to establish the co-op. In either case, the meaningful participation role of the PO in the co-op has to be established before the Proposal can be approved. The TPEC-chair PO then reviews the revised proposal and in OIG words “reviewed a Proposal as …the government official responsible for protecting the government’s interest, that you helped draft.” Training should clarify why this help in preparing Proposals and then reviewing them is okay for co-op proposals.
o The CMI Program Announcement suggests that “Proposals for topics that may be highly relevant…should be discussed with the CMI Director and BOEMRE contracts in advance of proposal development.” The BOEMRE contact is the PO and in the language of the OIG the PO would have “assisted…in preparing…Proposal.” The PO manages the review of the initial submitted Proposal. Authors of proposals which make it through the subsequent Technical Steering Committee review are told to contact the PO to discuss changes the PO wants in the proposal, including providing a meaningful participation role of the PO in the project. The PO then reviews the revised proposal and has in OIG words “reviewed a Proposal as …the government official responsible for protecting the government’s interest, that you helped draft.” Training should clarify why this help in preparing proposals and then reviewing them is okay for CMI proposals.The snark light is lit. Smoke em'.