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MILLER ON PROCUREMENT.

Your skills with FAR 9.1 may save you bacon. Govt employees often have little business sense and skills and don't comprehend such esoteric items as cash flow and quality control. They far too often award to firms which are shipping their first items, have never sold one commercially, have no track record etc., and we have not even discussed patent infringement. Once I kicked out a low bidder because he did not have a machine he needed to perform a technical task, did not have one on order when the delivery time was about one year and did not have the serial number of a used one he had the option to buy. Once I ascertained all of this, which only took about two days, I moved on to the next bidder.

My experience is few federal employees are diligent. Instead they say your price of $1100 each is far too high we are going to save 20%. They fail to grasp that the competing device is inferior and is only worth $600.00 hence, they are actually overcharging as opposed to the agency thinking I am overcharging.

I saw a very successful firm in the plant business committing fraud and getting by with it. The spec said the Govt wanted 50 trees five inches thick. The firm won the bid and with a price of about one half of legit firms. Then they delivered 2-inch trees which are worth about one third as much as 5 inch trees. The Govt never checked the tree size to see if they met the RFP. Historically, cheaters get caught and when they do, usually pay back about 20% of what you stole. That must be what happens when someone spends other people's money.

**PIRACY**

Recently we ran the excellent intellectual property checklist of Mr. Matt Simchak. But this is not the whole story. The first step is to assume that the government might steal or give your info to a competitor. We have often seen this happen.

The very first case of software piracy we saw was in 1975 and the agency with the stolen goods was GAO. Many agencies have been caught doing it since, and some payoffs have been worth millions when they are caught. Even the CIA got caught and lost a court case.

Some will remember that in 1994 the DOD IG did an inspection of over 1000 computer systems and 53% had unauthorized software on board.

The most blatant case ever was the Inslaw case which the Feds still deny. Oddly, one of the uses to which they have put Inslaw software is tracking money.

Your best bet is assume someone will give your secrets away. Don't give them the info in the first place. Show them a slide so they can't remember the intricate details.

I have had agencies as diverse as the Marines, HHS and IRS provide delicate data including prices to preferred vendors. Beware and take care.
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Article Details
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Author:Miller, Terry
Publication:EDP Weekly's IT Monitor
Article Type:Column
Date:Nov 26, 2001
Words:494
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