Thursday, April 11, 2013

Watch Your Dates - 90 Days is Not the Same as Three Months

EPSI (Executive Personnel Services, Inc.) had a contract with the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide temporary clerical and administrative support services. The contract ended in April 2009 but in July 2011, the Department of Labor notified EPSI that it owed $94 thousand in back wages to its employees.

In April 2012, EPSI submitted a certified claim to the SBA contracting officer seeking to recover the back wages which represented increases in the minimum wage during the period of performance. On July 5, 2012, the contracting officer issued a final decision denying the claim.

On October 5, 2012, EPSI filed an appeal with the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals. The problem was, this appeal was filed 92 days after the contracting officer's final decision and not within the 90 days specified in the Contract Disputes Act.

Because of two days, the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals (CBCA) dismissed the appeal for lack of jurisdiction.

EPSI still has avenues available to it for appeal. It can appeal to United States Court of Federal Claims within 12 months of the contracting officer's final decision. That appeal process is significantly more costly and time consuming than a Board of Contract Appeals (BCA) appeal however and EPSI is going to have to weigh the cost/benefit of doing so.

By the way, there was no ruling on the merits of EPSI's appeal. Since the CBCA found a way to throw it out on a technicality, it didn't have to get in to the details of the appeal. That's one way to clear out your backlog.

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