Thursday, March 24, 2011

Contracting Officer Representatives (COR)

Litigation involving Government contracts sometimes results, not infrequently by the way, from a contractor doing something at the direction of the Government and finding out later that it is not going to be compensated for the extra work. It is very important for contractors to keep in mind that only the contracting officer has the authority to make any commitments or changes that affect price, quality, quantity, delivery, or other terms and conditions of the contract. While there may be a host of other Government representative that look and act like they have such authority, they do not. The contracting officer representative (COR) is one of those that do not have such authority. The COR position, because they are usually on-site and very knowledgeable about the project, is often at the heart of these disputes.

Contracting officer representatives (CORs) are individuals appointed by the contracting officer (CO) to assist in the technical monitoring or administration of a contract. Although CORs can be employed on all types of contracts, they are more common in complex and long term services, supply, and/or construction contracts.

The responsibilities of a COR vary with the type of contract and complexity of the acquisition. Typical among those responsibilities are
  • Monitoring the contractor's progress and performance, including the submission of required reports or other documentation.
  • Perform necessary inspections, including documenting the inspection with a report concerning performances of services rendered under the contract.
  • Verify that the contractor has corrected all correctable deficiencies
  • Perform acceptance for the government of supplies and services received, including certifying receipt of supplies/services.
  • Maintain liaison and direct communications with both the contractor and the contracting officer
  • Recommend to the CO contract modifications and termination actions.
  • Assist in meeting the Government's contractual obligations to the contractor.
  • Provide technical interpretation of the requirements
  • Perform Government property surveillance.
  • Report any instance of suspected conflict of interest or fraud, waste, and abuse.
A COR does not have the authority to make any commitments or changes that affect price, quality, quantity, delivery, or other terms and conditions of the contract. They may not make agreements with a contractor requiring the obligation of public funds, they cannot sign any contract, delivery order, purchase order, or modify a contract.

Here's where things get sticky and litigation ensues. CORs may not encourage the contractor by words, actions, or a failure to act to undertake new work or an extension of existing work beyond the contract period; interfere with the contractor's management prerogative by supervising contractor employees or otherwise directing their work efforts. CORs may not authorize a contractor to obtain property for use under a contract; allow government property accountable under one contract to be used in the performance of another contract; issue instructions to the contractor to start or stop work order or accept goods or services not expressly required by the contract.

Contractors will do well to understand the duties and responsibilities of both COs and CORs.

No comments:

Post a Comment