Category Archives: Mail Bag


New reader A. Grande of New York, NY writes, “I’m a contract administrator for a mid-size IT re-seller.  The training classes I’ve been to say that my company should be reporting errors and delivery problems, but we don’t.  My senior vice president says it will all be ok and that I shouldn’t worry.  The pile of things we haven’t done, though, seems to be really adding up?  Can you suggest something?”  Great question, A.  It can be tough to see potential contract violations go unaddressed in a company.  At best, your company is making a bet with their own, or their investors’, money.  At worst, they’re potentially exposing both themselves and the company to significant fines if problems are uncovered.  It can be tough to be heard sometimes as a lower-level employee.  If your SVP won’t listen, try another route. Most contractors should have anonymous hotlines where potential problems are reported.  They’re usually set up so that people in legal or compliance get the information, not people in a specific business line.  This is definitely a best practice.  If your company doesn’t have one, though, try your contract manager or legal counsel’s office.  While there is a tendency to put off potential problems so long as business is coming in the front door, ignoring problems won’t make them go away.  They can and do get worse.  It’s good to be concerned.  Sing out to someone who will hear you.


Student reader F. Liebowitz of E. Dickinson College writes, “My company’s GSA contract was recently modified to add new products, yet the document we received back from GSA said that our Basis of Award customer was “all customers”, not what we’d originally negotiated.  GSA knows what our Basis of Award is, right?  Should I got back and fix the mod.?”  Absolutely, F.  You must move immediately to clarify in writing to your CO that your Basis of Award is not “all customers” and cite what the original contract term is.  CO’s inadvertently change contract terms all the time in modifications, whether through inattention to detail, “modification by copier”, or some other error.  It cannot be said strongly enough:  Failure to change this key term back to the original, requires substantially greater compliance from your company and exposes it to substantial risk without a prompt, written, correction.  This is just one example of why it is a best practice to have two sets of eyes review all contracts and mods.  Contractors should not assume that a modification will leave all other terms in place.  Read the mod.  Read the contract.  Make sure that you are 100% sure of your company’s compliance responsibilities.  Otherwise, you could end up with an explosion – with or without a kiln.