Author Archive

Joseph J. Petrillo

Joseph J. Petrillo | Federal Contract Law: Acquisition advisory panel meets resistance

After months of activity, the Acquisition Advisory Panel issued its findings and recommendations for acquisition of commercial items.

Federal Contract Law | Contracting officers need a public profile

One of the first things a lawyer learns about federal contracts is that the commercial concept of 'apparent authority' doesn't apply.

Federal Contract Law | Do government officials need extra legal help?

Three legal doctrines work together to shield the federal government from claims it has acted in bad faith. But, to put it bluntly, these presumptions define how much federal officials can get away with.

Federal Contract Law | New rules throw a wrench into FSS buys

As the jurisprudence develops for Federal Supply Schedule buys, those buys are becoming more and more like other contracting methods.

Joseph J. Petrillo | Federal Contract Law: Who will protect small business from the SBA?

The Small Business Administration is supposed to be the advocate for small contractors, but sometimes it seems to be more of an obstacle. SBA regulations can be a tangled web. It can even be hard to figure out whether your company is a small business.

Federal Contract Law | A Procurement System in Crisis

I've worked in procurement for over three decades. In all that time, the public perception of federal procurement has never been worse than now. Bad news just keeps piling up. The Darleen Druyun scandal reached high into the ranks of government and business. On its heels came allegations of questionable contracting practices in Iraq, including outright bribery. Then we learned of sole-source contracts for Katrina response.

Federal contract law: Disaster reveals cracks in procurement process

The federal response to Hurricane Katrina was a fiasco and, unfortunately, procurement was part of the problem.

Federal Contract Law: New buying regulations: the never-ending story

One of the joys of federal contracting is that there's always something new to learn about and work with.

Another View: Appelate court dishes up new flavor of tort

This country hasn't had a king since George III. However, the federal government continues to benefit from the legal maxim, 'The king can do no wrong.'

Another View" Using past performance to steer contract awards

When it comes to awarding contracts, there are two kinds of government officials.

Federal contract law: Druyun protests uncover deeper improprieties

The unsung heroes of government contracting often include those who clean up the messes left by others.

Federal contract law: Bush should go to market in his second term

As President George W. Bush looks forward to a second term with Republican majorities in both houses of Congress, he is in a good position to reshape the procurement system.

Federal contract law: Managing contractors is essential to transformation

Contractors have played a more direct role in the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts'and their aftermath'than in any other modern campaign.

Federal Contract Law: Ruling could make a contract's terms into a moving target

When the Supreme Court decided the Winstar case in 1996, some observers thought it marked the dawn of a new era in which the government would be treated like any other party to a contract. Maybe not.

Federal Contract Law: Taking full advantage of share-in-savings contracting

One of the goals of the E-Government Act is to encourage the use of share-in-savings contracts. These are performance-based contracts where the contractor is paid a share of the money it saves the government.

Death, taxes and some new acquisition regs

No matter what else happens in Washington, the bureaucracy keeps churning out new contracting rules. One recent change is of particular importance to the IT community.

Federal Contract Law: U.S. agencies might feel at home with Iraq's old procurement rules

Part of the process of bringing Iraq back into the world community is to revamp its laws, including those governing procurement.

Federal Contract Law: Agencies have upper hand in control of data rights

The Court of Federal Claims recently issued a rare decision dealing with the operation of the standard rights-in-data clause of the Federal Acquisition Regulations.

Federal Contract Law: DHS sets fierce procurement rules

Companies seeking to do business with the Homeland Security Department are eager for any clues to the characteristics of this still-new customer. They especially want to know whether and how its contracting practices will differ from those of the legacy bureaus that Congress assembled to form the department. People in other agencies ought to be curious too.

Federal Contract Law: Que SARA: What will be in acquisition reform?

Congressional agreement on the Services Acquisition Reform Act means that its innovations will soon be with us. Paradoxically, some of the most interesting parts of the act aren't limited just to services buys.