When submitting contractor claims to the federal government, businesses should be aware of the Contracting Officer authority to issue a final decision. 48 CFR 1.603 suggests that although the CO is appointed on a Standard Form 1402. Any limitations on the Contracting Officer authority must be stated on the form f other than those in applicable law and regulations.
When deciding Contract Disputes Act (CDA) Claims, the individual making the final decision must be the Contracting Officer and have the authority to issue such a final determination.
- Getting communication from government contracting administration personnel will not substitute the Contracting Officer authority.
- Even if delegated by the Contracting Officer to make contract administration decisions, administration staff cannot give a final decision on CDA claims.
Contracting Officer Authority must extend to the particular contract and the actual CDA claim involved. Simply because the official has the title of Contracting Officer does not automatically mean that they have authority to issue a final decision our your contractor claims.
Do CORs Have Contracting Officer Authority?
The Contracting Officer Representative (COR) does not have the power to issue a final determination. There are tons of cases where companies that are contracting with the federal government take direction from the COR even when the direction increases the scope of work.
Even if directed to perform or change work from the COR, always send a confirmation to the Contracting Officer and wait for such confirmation.
Contractors should always seek direction only from someone that has Contracting Officer authority.
Courts defer to Contracting Officer Authority very loosely. However, there are some cases where the CO abused his or her discretion. When it comes to CDA claims, the CO cannot abuse their discretion. They still have to treat contractors fairly. See information on ASBCA rules.
For help with challenging Contracting Officer authority in CDA claims for abuse of discretion, ASBCA rules for unreasonableness, call or contract claims and dispute attorneys at 1-866-601-5518 for a FREE INITIAL CONSULTATION.