Contractors are entitled to recover consultant and attorney costs reasonably incurred in preparing, pricing, and negotiating a change order under federal government contracts, including U.S. Postal Service contracts. That’s the holding in Tip Top Constr., Inc. v. Donahoe, 695 F.3d 1276 (Fed. Cir. 2012). The court overturned a Postal Service Board of Contract Appeals decision that had erroneously limited the contractor’s recovery of these costs. End result: if an agency changes your contract (whether by unilateral direction or constructive change), your request for an equitable price adjustment may include reasonable consultant and attorney costs.
Continue Reading Consultant and attorney costs are recoverable under change proposals

The Postal Service spent $2.8 billion on 16,993 Highway Contract Route (HCR) contracts in 2011, according to a newly released audit report by the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General (OIG).  The OIG conducted the audit to assess the integrity of data in the Transportation Contract Support System (TCSS). OIG found the TCSS data is accurate. In a spot-check of 196 sampled contracts, OIG did not find a single data error. But there was one area of disagreement with management. OIG contended that 94% of the sampled contracts did not have proper funding approval documentation prior to contract award. Postal management disagreed with this conclusion, saying that advance funding approval was obtained through other methods.
Continue Reading Postal Service spent $2.8 billion on highway transportation in 2011

A double whammy has hit the U.S. Postal Service. At the close of business on August 1, 2012, the Postal Service failed to make a $5.5 billion payment owed the U.S. Treasury. And on September 30, 2012, the Postal Service defaulted on another $5.6 billion payment. Will this $11.1 billion default impact postal contractors?  No it won’t, according to the agency. But it certainly won’t help those who are doing business with the Postal Service.Continue Reading Will the Postal Service’s $5.5 billion default impact its contractors?

Yet another U.S. Postal Service manager has pled guilty to fraud and corruption charges relating to USPS transportation contracts. In March 2012, the former USPS Manager of Postal Vehicle Service Operations for the Bay Valley District in Oakland, CA was indicted in a $4.4 million fraudulent billing scheme. Last year, five Postal Service officials at the Detroit, MI Vehicle Maintenance Facility were charged with similar crimes. One might well wonder how many more such episodes need to be uncovered before the Postal Service issues binding procurement regulations and institutes effective protest procedures. Here’s what happened in the most recent case.Continue Reading Another Postal Service manager pleads guilty to contract fraud

Personal use of an undeliverable coupon by a mail delivery contractor violated postal regulations but did not justify the default termination of her contract.  The particular post office had allowed others in the office to use such undeliverable items, though that local practice violated postal regulations.  Although the Postal Service Board of Contract of Contract Appeals (PSBCA) decided the case in the contractor’s favor, one judge dissented and believed the termination was justifiable.  See Laura K. McNew, PSBCA No. 6286, April 23, 2012.Continue Reading Postal contractor’s default termination overturned

Oral contracts do exist, and the U.S. Postal Service cannot force you to sign a contract with different terms than previously agreed upon. That’s the take-way from a recent decision issued by the Postal Service Board of Contract Appeals (PSBCA) in a case called Sharon Roedel, PSBCA No. 6347, 6348, April 10, 2012.  The PSBCA found that the Postal Service breached an oral contract it had with Roedel, and that USPS owed her the profits and wages she would have earned under the six-month emergency contract.
Continue Reading Postal Service breaches oral contract: owes contractor lost profit and wages

Doing business with the U.S. Postal Service has always been different than contracting with other federal agencies and commercial entities. As an independent agency, the Postal Service is exempt from most federal procurement laws and regulations. That’s why our firm is presenting a full-day seminar on “Postal Service Contracting: What Every Contractor Should Know,” at the Westin Tysons Corner hotel on Thursday, May 10, 2012. Click here to learn more or click here to register.Continue Reading Postal Service Contracting: What Every Contractor Should Know

Postal Service contracting highlights in 2011, and a look ahead to 2012, will be the focus of a complimentary webinar presented by Husch Blackwell on Tuesday, February 7, 2012 at 1 p.m. EST.

Postal contractors continue to be impacted by USPS cost-cutting efforts, reductions in requirements, and a renewed emphasis on obtaining competition. These pressures,

New mandates on how evaluation criteria must be stated in Postal Service solicitations are required by the recently revised USPS Supplying Principles and Practices (SPP) manual. The SPP revisions were issued on December 12, 2011. The full text of the new SPP is available by clicking here. In addition to these changes, the Postal Service has introduced a new “Simplified Purchasing” method. Simplified Purchasing will be more streamlined than the traditional method, will commonly use oral solicitations, and may be used on procurements valued at up to $1 million. Continue Reading USPS revises evaluation criteria rules; creates new purchasing method

Doing business with the U.S. Postal Service has always been different from contracting with other federal agencies and commercial entities. As a starting point, the Postal Service is exempt from most federal procurement laws and regulations. such as the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and the Competition in Contracting Act (CICA). The Postal Service has its own special purchasing policies called the Supplying Principles and Practices. On top of these differences, the Postal Service is on the brink of insolvency. To help contractors understand and succeed within this special environment, our firm is presenting a full-day seminar on October 21, 2011 in Chicago on “What Every Postal Service Contractor Should Know.”  Continue Reading What every Postal Service contractor should know