This paragraph serves as the introduction to this contract proposal report. The contract will be written from the government's perspective as far as the fencing project goes and will cover the seven main points asked for in the assignment parameters. In order, those parameters are the purpose of the federal program and the historical context therein. Second, the small business set-aside program (SBSP) will be evaluated based on eligibility to participate and other details. Third, the dollar threshold reserved for business contracts in this scenario will be described. Fourth, an analysis of the contract formats for government contracts will be evaluated to include universal and commercial formats. The format to be used for this situation will be described in this scenario, per the assignment parameters. Fifth, the purpose of source selection will be evaluated for the purposes of this plan. Sixth, the ranking of criteria for the evaluation plan will be looked at. Four quality academic sources will be used to buttress and support the above points.
Federal Small Business Assistance & Set-Aside Program
The federal government in the United States has a long history of supporting and fostering small businesses. One of the ways in which this is done is to make sure that smaller contracts up to a certain dollar amount are set aside for only small businesses. Larger businesses are typically excluded from these smaller contracts so that smaller businesses can get they work they need to help them survive and thrive.
As far as the historical context of the federal government support small businesses, it really started on an official basis in 1953 when the Small Business Administration (SBA) was created. The Small Business Agency replaced the Reconstruction Finance Agency and it is administered by the United States government. It is headquartered and ran out Washington DC. At the time of this report, their budget is between $500 and $600 million and they are run by Karen Mills at the present date. The aforementioned set-aside program is but one way the SBA helps small businesses as they also do micro-loans, foster women executives and business owners and other key initiatives (SBA, 2013). The set-aside program is also individually administered by each government agency that participates in the set-aside program. One example is the United States General Services Administration (GSA). The GSA has a FAQ on its website regarding the set-aside program and how it works (GSA, 2013)
In this scenario, the threshold for the contracts involved in the fence can be set to $100,000. A small business, if it is able, can take the entire contract or a small group of small businesses can divide the contract up into individual tasks such as preparing the landscape, the fencing itself, material import and removal and so forth. It would be great is a single contractor (even if there are subcontractors) can do the entire job but having more than one is permissible. The verbiage above is consistent with how the Department of Defense handles their set-aside contracts and their threshold ($100,000) happens to match the one needed for this project to be done entirely by one company (DoD, 2013). This all being said, the contract will be divvied up if it is not crystal clear that the lone contractor initially selected has the full resources and capability to fulfill the contract timely and in a correct manner.
Source Selection Evaluation Plan
The last sentence of the prior paragraph section segues nicely into the gist of this section, and that is how the selection of the contractors for this fencing job will be reviewed and selected. First of all, all contractors that bid for all or part of this security fencing job will be made to stipulate what parts (if not all) of the job that they want as well as some prior examples of work they have done that is either similar or even identical. References for those jobs, whether the job was completely timely, whether the job was completely on-budged and why there is anything amiss in any of the above will be checked. The agency understands that some jobs go over cost or over time due to things that are induced solely by the client and/or by things that neither party would or could foresee. However, delays due to negligence, incompetence or a contractor taking more than they can handle will be avoided in this instance. If a single contractor has the resources to take on the job and they are the best overall fit, they will likely get the job. Otherwise, the job will be broken up.
Second, commensurate with the handling of all government-issued contracts, there are several conditions that any contractor or contractors awarded part of all of the work at hand must follow. First, wages will be consistent with the prevailing wage for the work being performed in the geographical area in question. It matters now whether the workers normally make that much and indeed the employers can pay what they want (except for which violates minimum wage laws or other regulation) but the prevailing average wage for the type of work will be paid to all workers.
Next, all workers will go through E-Verify screenings before doing any work on the site so as to ensure that the worker is here legally in the United States and that they are authorized to work (E-Verify, 2013). Any workers who are about to have their work authorization expire will be allowed to work in the interim but if they are not given a renewal or a continuance, they will immediately be barred from working on the project when their authorization expires.
As for the criteria that will be used to rank and select contractors, the following dimensions and analysis will be looked at, and based on the following order:
Similar work done in the past
References solid for the work done in the past
Workload between this and any other contracts the company has will not overburden them
All workers pass E-Verify screenings and the contractor is OK with that
All workers will be paid the prevailing wage and the contractor is OK with that
Contractor has the workers and materials necessary and they will be there on time
Contractor's bid is on the lower end (if not the cheapest)…does nto have to be the cheapest if prior work is exemplary and well-done.
Contractor management does not have family/prior associates in government positions (to discourage nepotism or cronyism)
As for the format of the contract, a universal format is probably better as doing a commercial one would be tricky and complicated given that the government is at one end of the proposed agreement and it goes without saying that government agencies and businesses operating on fairly different playing fields and with several different objectives. Even so, as long as the contract explains how disputes will be resolved, how much everything will/should cost, when everything will/should be done and the general procedure of how the fence will be put up as well as examples and rules about what will not be allowed by one or both parties, then the contract should be pretty basic.
Another major portion of the contract that will be addressed, and which builds on dispute resolution as mentioned before, is how to handle things if one or both parties in the contract breaches the agreement. This will, of course, be avoided at all costs so as to help the contract get completed in a timely fashion even if things have to be slowed down, adjusted or outright changed as things go on. However, a strong alignment needs to be kept between the parameters of the original contract and the final outcome unless there is a pressing reason why not like a natural disaster (e.g. tornado, wind storm, etc.) or budgetary issues on the part of the government (e.g. sequester cutbacks, etc.)
To address some final points, a few other things should be kept in mind. First, law enforcement will be the sole responsible party to keeping the fence construction area secured. This would include border control, police officers of the city, county or even the federal government and so on. Second of all, the E-Verify and legal status provisions mentioned above are not flexible (E-Verify, 2013). Anyone without legal status and/or anyone caught being the least bit deceptive about their current or future legal status will be barred from working on the project and this includes in a managerial or front-line capacity. Third, anyone caught (or that has a prior record) of drug smuggling, illegal immigration activities and so forth will not be allowed on the worksite by the federal government as this is a massive security risk given what is being constructed and where it is being constructed. Fourth, the federal government has strict employment and procedural guidelines that must be followed without fail unless special consideration or permission is given. This includes the prevailing wage statutes mentioned above as…