'99 shockers: Contracts and acronyms run amok! | GCN

With a new year comes the columnist’s tradition of predicting major developments
of the coming 12 months. This year, I’m going out on a limb to make some really
specific predictions. Jeanne Dixon, watch out.

Someone will realize that the cause of the year 2000 problem is not computer
programming at all. The reason we have this problem is, of course, because we have a year
numbered 2000. And the reason the coming year has this specific number is that the U.S.
government blithely goes along with a calendar numbering system which makes next year

It didn’t have to be this way. For instance, if our years were counted from the
Declaration of Independence, the year known as 2000 would be 225 A.E.—American Era.

Therefore, the entire year 2000 problem can be construed as a sovereign act of the
government. As such, contractors can—and perhaps will—argue that if their
systems don’t operate in 2000, it’s the government’s fault.

The UGAV contract will have the following innovative features: It will be an
indefinite-delivery, indefinite-quantity, unlimited-utility contract for any product,
service or combination thereof. The guaranteed minimum order will be $1.28. In addition to
the agency that awards the contract, other organizations can place orders under the
contract for a modest administrative fee. The contract will be available to any federal
agency, any government-owned corporation, any state or local government, any international
organization, any country that is a member of the United Nations and Taiwan.

I further predict that hundreds of prospective contractors will submit offers in
response to the solicitation. After careful consideration, each and every one of them will
be awarded a contract.

For instance, to address the shrinking share of contracts going to small businesses, it
will redefine which companies qualify as small businesses. Except for Microsoft Corp.,
Exxon-Mobil and Lockheed Martin Corp., all U.S. businesses will now officially be small.

Also, to increase public confidence that the government has the year 2000 problem under
control, every federal agency will continue to report to Congress on its progress in
remediating, mitigating or otherwise circumventing the problem. The final reports will be
due on Sept. 30, 2001.

The winner will be the East Overshoe, Idaho, Community College and Agricultural
Correspondence School. A disappointed bidder, the John F. Kennedy School of Government at
Harvard University, will file a protest. After careful consideration, the General
Accounting Office will deny the protest. According to GAO’s decision, the
awardee’s technically equivalent proposal and lower price amply justified the source

The new group will author and promulgate the Federal Uniform Directives for
Government-reimbursed Expenditures, or FUDGE.

The first new directives, designated FUDGE 501 through 520, will look suspiciously like
the repealed Cost Accounting Standards 401 through 420.

All-in-all, it looks like another exciting year. I can hardly wait.  

Joseph J. Petrillo is an attorney with the Washington law firm of Petrillo &
Powell, PLLC. E-mail him at [email protected].


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