[Federal Register Volume 67, Number 124 (Thursday, June 27, 2002)] [Rules and Regulations] [Pages 43514-43516] From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov] [FR Doc No: 02-15941] ----------------------------------------------------------------------- DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION 48 CFR Parts 8 and 51 [FAC 2001-08; FAR Case 1999-614; Item II] RIN 9000-AJ01 Federal Acquisition Regulation; Federal Supply Schedule Order Disputes and Incidental Items AGENCIES: Department of Defense (DoD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). ACTION: Final rule. ----------------------------------------------------------------------- SUMMARY: The Civilian Agency Acquisition Council and the Defense Acquisition Regulations Council (Councils) have agreed on a final rule amending the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) to incorporate policies for disputes in schedule contracts and the handling of incidental items, and to remove the requirement to notify GSA when a schedule contractor refuses to honor an order placed by a Government contractor. DATES: Effective Date: July 29, 2002. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: The FAR Secretariat, Room 4035, GS Building, Washington, DC, 20405, (202) 501-4755, for information pertaining to status or publication schedules. For clarification of content, contact Ms. Linda Nelson, Procurement Analyst, at (202) 501- 1900. Please cite FAC 2001-08, FAR case 1999-614. [[Page 43515]] SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: A. Background DoD, GSA, and NASA published a proposed rule in the Federal Register at 65 FR 79702, December 19, 2000. Nine respondents submitted comments in response to the Federal Register notice. The public comments were received from contractors, professional associations, and Federal agencies. Clarifying revisions have been made to FAR 8.401(d) and 8.405-7(d) of the rule as a result of the public comments. A summary of the significant comments and concerns expressed by respondents is summarized below.
Addition of Open Market, Noncontract Items on a Schedule Order. Some respondents believed that the intent regarding the incorporation of open market, noncontract items on a schedule order needed further clarification and recommended alternative language. The Councils agreed that absent a definition of ``open market'' or ``noncontract'' items in the FAR further clarification is needed. Accordingly, it has substituted the expression ``items not on the Federal Supply Schedule'' to best characterize what these items mean. Inclusion of FAR Part 19 in the Listing of Applicable Acquisition Regulations. One respondent expressed concern regarding the omission of a reference to FAR Part 19, Small Business Programs, in the proposed language in FAR 8.401(d) for adding open market, noncontract items to a Federal Supply Schedule BPA. The respondent believes that the omission of FAR Part 19 in the list of applicable acquisition regulations an agency must follow will allow ordering offices to circumvent the requirement that all procurements valued between $2,500 and $100,000 be set aside for small business concerns. The Councils agreed that FAR Part 19 should be included in the list of applicable regulations in FAR 8.401(d)(1). Even though FAR 13.003(b)(1) addresses small business set-asides for acquisitions above the micro-purchase threshold, the inclusion of FAR Part 19, in addition to FAR Part 13, further emphasizes that ordering offices must consider small business programs when acquiring items not on the Federal Supply Schedule. FAR Reference to Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Procedures for Schedule Disputes. One respondent suggested that in lieu of the proposed language in FAR 8.405-7(d) (``The contracting officer should use the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedures, when appropriate (see 33.214)''), the language should be revised to cite the policy statement as it is set forth in FAR 33.204, that ADR should be used ``to the maximum extent practicable.'' The respondent further suggested that either FAR 33.204 be cited alone, or that 33.204 be cited in addition to 33.214. Since the language in FAR 33.204 speaks to policy regarding the use of ADR, while 33.214 provides additional information regarding ADR, the Councils agreed that, for clarity, both citations be included in the final rule, and that the language in FAR 8.405-7(d) be revised. This is not a significant regulatory action, and therefore, was not subject to review under Section 6(b) of Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, dated September 30, 1993. This rule is not a major rule under 5 U.S.C. 804. B. Regulatory Flexibility Act The Department of Defense, the General Services Administration, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration certify that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities within the meaning of the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601, et seq., because the rule addresses internal Government administrative procedures and does not impose any additional requirements on Government offerors or contractors. C. Paperwork Reduction Act The Paperwork Reduction Act does not apply because the changes to the FAR do not impose information collection requirements that require the approval of the Office of Management and Budget under 44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq. List of Subjects in 48 CFR Parts 8 and 51 Government procurement. Dated: June 19, 2002. Al Matera, Director, Acquisition Policy Division. Therefore, DoD, GSA, and NASA amend 48 CFR parts 8 and 51 as set forth below: 1. The authority citation for 48 CFR parts 8 and 51 continues to read as follows: Authority: 40 U.S.C. 486(c); 10 U.S.C. chapter 137; and 42 U.S.C. 2473(c). PART 8--REQUIRED SOURCES OF SUPPLIES AND SERVICES 2. Amend section 8.401 by adding paragraph (d) to read as follows: 8.401 General. * * * * * (d) For administrative convenience, an ordering office contracting officer may add items not on the Federal Supply Schedule (also referred to as open market items) to a Federal Supply Schedule blanket purchase agreement (BPA) or an individual task or delivery order only if-- (1) All applicable acquisition regulations pertaining to the purchase of the items not on the Federal Supply Schedule have been followed (e.g., publicizing (Part 5), competition requirements (Part 6), acquisition of commercial items (Part 12), contracting methods (Parts 13, 14, and 15), and small business programs (Part 19)); (2) The ordering office contracting officer has determined the price for the items not on the Federal Supply Schedule is fair and reasonable; (3) The items are clearly labeled on the order as items not on the Federal Supply Schedule; and (4) All clauses applicable to items not on the Federal Supply Schedule are included in the order. 3. Revise section 8.405-7 to read as follows: 8.405-7 Disputes. (a) Disputes pertaining to the performance of orders under a schedule contract. (1) Under the Disputes clause of the schedule contract, the ordering office contracting officer may-- (i) Issue final decisions on disputes arising from performance of the order (but see paragraph (b) of this section); or (ii) Refer the dispute to the schedule contracting officer. (2) The ordering office contracting officer shall notify the schedule contracting officer promptly of any final decision. (b) Disputes pertaining to the terms and conditions of schedule contracts. The ordering office contracting officer shall refer all disputes that relate to the contract terms and conditions to the schedule contracting officer for resolution under the Disputes clause of the contract and notify the schedule contractor of the referral. (c) Appeals. Contractors may appeal final decisions to either the Board of Contract Appeals servicing the agency that issued the final decision or the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. (d) Alternative dispute resolution. The contracting officer should use the alternative dispute resolution (ADR) procedures, to the maximum extent practicable (see 33.204 and 33.214). [[Page 43516]] PART 51--USE OF GOVERNMENT SOURCES BY CONTRACTORS 51.103 [Amended] 4. Amend section 51.103 by removing paragraph (b); and by redesignating paragraph (c) as (b). [FR Doc. 02-15941 Filed 6-26-02; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6820-EP-P