"Executive Compensation"

On May 18, 2012, the United States House of Representatives voted 299-120 to approve HR 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013 [pdf]. The House vote rejects two amendments that had been the topic of some discussion within the government contracts community. One would have restricted the definition of “commercial item”

BriefcaseThe Contractor’s Perspective is up to three entries on the application of FAR 52.204-10, which requires some federal contractors and first-tier subcontractors to report the compensation of their top-five highest paid executives. Even though it has been almost two years since the requirement first appeared in the FAR, the topic still generates a lot of interest and a lot of questions. Here are answers to some of the questions we received in the executive compensation reporting segment of our recent webinar on Transparency in Government Contracting. We hope you find them useful.

Question: Does FAR 52.204-10 apply only to new contracts or does it also apply retroactively to existing contracts?

Answer: Even though the statutory requirement for reporting executive compensation became law in April 2008 when President Bush signed the Government Funding Transparency Act of 2008, the contractual requirement didn’t go into effect until July 8, 2010, when the FAR Councils published FAR 52.204-10 as an “interim rule.” According to the text of the interim rule, FAR 52.204-10 is required in all contracts over $25,000 that are awarded after July 8, 2010. It does not apply to contracts awarded before on or before July 8, 2010.


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The FAR Cost Principles and federal cost reimbursement contracts provide that only reasonable allowable costs are recoverable, including costs for executive compensation. A January 18, 2012 decision of the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals rejected a government challenge to the reasonableness of compensation one contractor paid to executives and rejected the DCAA’s methodology for determining the reasonableness of the compensation. See J.F. Taylor, Inc., ASBCA Nos. 56105, 56322 (Jan. 18, 2012) [pdf].


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Contractors seeking to comply with the new requirement to report the compensation of their five highest paid executives under FAR 52.204-10 (July 2010) still have a lot of unresolved questions. We heard some of the questions during our June 8, 2011 webinar on the topic, which was sponsored by L2 Federal Resources, LLC, publisher of The Contracting Post. Thanks for hosting!

Here are some of the questions posed, along with our answers.


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One response to the shortage of experienced federal contracting personnel and qualified DCAA auditors is to turn the job over to the public at large.  That seems to be the plan when it comes to the new federal contractor transparency initiatives, the most recent of which is the rule that will make the Federal Awardee Performance and Integrity Information System (FAPIIS) available to the public after April 15, 2011.  Like the business model adopted by Wikileaks, the concept appears be that posting selected contractor performance data on the internet will be like hiring 300 million inspectors general.  As with many government initiatives, the results are likely to cost more and achieve less than anticipated.
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Executive compensation disclosures.  Opening FAPIIS to the public.  While there are good arguments for both sides about the wisdom of these new contractor transparency initiatives, it is interesting to note that they seem to conflict with recent court decisions supporting contractor efforts to limit the public availability of their data.
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