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THE COR'S DELEGATED DUTIES
What tasks will the COR need to perform to validate delegated duties, establish and maintain files, and plan for the performance of COR responsibilities?
The COR must:
Accept/reject delegated duties in his or her letter of designation
Establish and maintain appropriate record-keeping files that support actions under the contract
Develop and follow a COR workplan.
Why should the COR carefully review and accept or reject delegated duties in the letter of designation?
Refer to Chapter 1, Figure 1-1, for a sample letter of designation. As stated therein, this letter is the document used by the CO to accomplish COR designation. The COR must ensure that the information contained in his or her designation letter, including his or her name, role, authorities, and the limits on his or her authority, is complete and accurate (i.e., that the role of COR is not a misdirected assignment). The COR must also be certain that the delegated duties are within his or her technical capability and that no authority that is reserved exclusively for the CO is being delegated to the COR. A review of the problems that can arise from inappropriate delegation of responsibility, as discussed in Step 3 of Question 214 ("Identify any problems with the scope of delegations to the COR"), will explain why the COR must carefully scrutinize his or her letter of designation.
What steps are involved in the review of the letter of designation?
In reviewing the letter of designation, the COR should:
1. Identify the scope of his or her responsibilities from the letter and relevant documents.
There are basically two sources from which the COR may ascertain his or her responsibility under a contractthe letter of designation and the contract.
Letter of designation. While there is no established format for letters of designation, the letter should address a COR's role and responsibilities by citing:
Tasks to be performed. Tasks to be performed by a COR may include:
- Providing the CO with a copy of all technical direction issued, within 48 hours of issuance.
- Providing the CO with written notification of any disputes that cannot be resolved between the COR and the contractor regarding performance of the contract.
- Keeping a daily log of all contract-related activities while the COR is onsite at the contractor's plant. These activities could relate to any aspect of contract performance by the COR, the contractor, or other personnel with responsibilities related to the contract.
- Turning over all records pertaining to this contract to the successor COR if the COR designation is terminated for any reason before completion of the contract; notifying the CO that such action has been taken.
Specific authorities being delegated. The COR may furnish the contractor with technical assistance and guidance with all aspects of the contract. This assistance to the contractor may be formalized by written technical direction, provided the direction does not affect the price or duration of the contract. Written technical direction must contain both a signed acknowledgment of the technical direction from the contractor and the following statement: "In accepting this technical direction, the contractor agrees that the price and all other terms and conditions of the contract remain unchanged."
Limitations on any delegations. A COR may not make changes that would affect the cost or duration of the contract. In addition, the CO may restrict the COR from delegating responsibilities to others by including in the letter of designation specific instructions such as this statement:
You will have the following responsibilities, which may not be re-delegated to any other individual: To verify invoices and, upon receipt, promptly certify them for prompt payment. After verification, you will send me a copy of the certified invoice, and send the original to Finance.
Or instructions to the COR may appear as general statements:
Please note that you may not re-delegate any of the contractual authority listed above, except for clerical tasks associated with that authority.
A COR may obtain help from other officials for any responsibility not specifically identified in the limitation. When the COR is in doubt about any of his or her responsibilities or the limitations placed on the COR, the CO should be contacted for guidance.
The contract. To fully anticipate the extent of responsibility delegated, the COR should thoroughly read the contract. The letter of designation may identify only overall responsibilities being delegated to the COR, while the contract details the methods, procedures, reports, and timeframes that must be performed or adhered to by the contractor. Information detailing the government's responsibilities may also be found in the contract itself. Both the letter and the contract aid the COR in determining the level of commitment required from both parties to ensure successful contract performance.
2. Identify items that may have been omitted from the letter.
Letters of designation should:
Address the individual by name and position title
Specify the contract number that applies to the delegation
Specify the authorities, responsibilities, and tasks being delegated
Emphasize limitations of the delegation
Specify any record-keeping requirements and the disposition of those records
Specify whether the designee may further designate any authority or task
Include a requirement for the individual to certify that he or she has read and will abide by the agency's procurement integrity or conflict of interest requirements
Be signed by the CO.
The CO must be notified of omissions of any of these elements in the letter.
3. Identify any problems with the scope of delegations to the COR. There are three basic problem areas to consider:
Misdirected assignment. Is the CO delegating responsibilities to the wrong official or office?
Qualifications. Is the CO delegating responsibilities for which the COR is not qualified?
Unauthorized delegations. Is the CO delegating responsibilities inappropriately? Delegations should not include responsibilities reserved exclusively for the CO. Unauthorized delegations to a COR include giving him or her the responsibility to:
- Award, agree to, or execute a contract or contract modification
- Authorize work outside the scope of the contract
- Obligate, in any way, the payment of money by the government
- Give direction to the contractor except as provided in the contract
- Make a final decision on any matter that would be subject to appeal under the disputes clause of the contract
- Resolve any dispute concerning a question of law or fact arising under the contract
- Cause the contractor to incur costs not specifically covered by the contract except for costs that will be reimbursed by the government
- Terminate for any cause the contractor's right to proceed. The CO must also be notified of any problems with delegation.
4. Notify the CO of acceptance or rejection of the letter
CORs are responsible for understanding the contract terms and conditions as well as knowing the scope and limitations of their authority. CORs are encouraged to contact the CO for guidance if they are unclear about their authority or any aspects of the contract. By signing the letter of designation, CORs accept full responsibility for rejecting the delegation if problems arise.
The COR's supervisor may be asked to concur with the duties outlined in the letter to indicate a recognition of the demands on the COR's work schedule. A copy of the letter should be provided to the project officer and the contractor so they will understand clearly the COR's roles and responsibilities.
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