[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 35 (Thursday, February 21, 2013)]
[Notices]
[Pages 12106-12107]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-03962]


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OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT


Debarment, Suspension, and Ineligibility of Contractors

AGENCY: U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM).

ACTION: Notice.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) is providing 
notice of its intent to adopt the policies and procedures contained in 
the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) regarding the debarment, 
suspension, and ineligibility of government contractors. As an 
executive agency, OPM follows the FAR as appropriate and applicable. As 
OPM's procurement rules are not contained in the Code of Federal 
Regulations, these new rules will be contained in an internal OPM 
document referred to as ``Contracting Policy No. 9.4: OPM Suspension 
and Debarment Program'' (hereinafter, OPM's contracting policy). As 
such, the proposed policy regarding debarment and suspension will be 
added to OPM's contracting policies. However, persons or entities 
seeking Government contracts could potentially be adversely affected 
if, pursuant to the proposed policy, they were debarred, suspended, or 
proposed for debarment by OPM. As such, OPM is providing interested 
persons an opportunity for notice and comment on this proposed policy.

DATES: Comments must be received on or before March 25, 2013.
    OPM will publish the effective date of the proposed policy when 
responding to comments in a future notice.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments concerning this proposed policy to: 
U.S. Office of Personnel Management, Contracting; Attention: 
Contracting Policy, 1900 E Street NW., Washington, DC 20415; or email 
[email protected].

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Patricia W. Broome, Director, 
Contracting Policy, 202-606-2952.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: OPM is required by law to seek comments 
before issuing a policy that has general applicability and legal 
effect. OPM invites interested persons to comment on this proposed 
policy by submitting written comments. OPM will consider all comments 
received on or before the closing date for comments and may change the 
proposed policy based on the comments received.
    Under OPM's proposed policy, OPM will follow FAR Subpart 9.4. OPM's 
Contracting Policy 9.4 states that it is OPM's policy to follow the 
FAR, and OPM has long-maintained procedures, consistent with FAR 
Subpart 9.4, that ensure that it contracts only with those entities and 
individuals (hereinafter, contractors) who are responsible. To make 
clear that FAR Subpart 9.4 applies, OPM has developed its Contracting 
Policy to formally and explicitly adopt FAR Subpart 9.4.
    Except as provided in FAR Subpart 9.4, OPM will not solicit offers 
from, award contracts to, or consent to subcontracts with contractors 
who are listed on the Excluded Parties List System on the System for 
Award Management (SAM/EPLS), which is maintained by the General 
Services Administration. Further, if OPM debars, proposes for 
debarment, or suspends a contractor, OPM will, consistent with FAR 
Subpart 9.4, list that contractor in the SAM/EPLS. Consistent with FAR 
9.405-1, OPM may continue an existing contract with a contractor 
despite the fact that the contractor has subsequently been debarred, 
proposed for debarment, or suspended if it is determined in the best 
interest of the Government to do so.
    Consistent with the definitions of ``debarring official'' and 
``suspending official'' contained at FAR 9.403, the Director, as the 
head of OPM, will serve as the debarring official and suspending 
official (hereinafter, debarment/suspension official). The Director may 
designate another OPM official to serve as the debarment/suspension 
official. The Director or other designated Debarment Official will also 
be responsible for deciding whether to solicit offers from, award 
contracts to, or consent to subcontracts with contractors who have been 
debarred, suspended, or proposed for debarment, and whether to 
terminate a current contract or subcontract in existence at the time 
the contractor was debarred, suspended, or proposed for debarment.
    OPM's Contracting Policy Office (CPO), which is responsible for the 
majority of OPM's contracting activities, will be designated as the OPM 
unit with primary responsibility for investigating and referring 
potential debarment and suspension actions to the debarment/suspension 
official for his or her consideration. OPM's procurement activities are 
largely centralized in CPO,

[[Page 12107]]

which is staffed by contracting officers and other acquisition 
professionals. As such, CPO staff has the required technical knowledge 
to handle debarment and suspension referrals and is in the best 
position to learn of matters that may warrant debarment and/or 
suspension. Moreover, CPO is the first point of contact for Office of 
Inspector General (OIG) personnel and Contracting Officer's 
Representatives, who have direct knowledge of any problems with 
contractor conduct and/or performance. Thus, individuals--including OPM 
employees and members of the public--who believe that there may be 
grounds to debar or suspend a contractor should contact CPO and provide 
them with all relevant information. Whenever CPO learns of information 
that indicates there may be grounds for debarring or suspending a 
contractor, CPO will gather appropriate information and refer the 
matter to the debarment/suspension official if warranted. All such 
referrals will include a recommendation by the OPM Suspension and 
Debarment Committee (SDC) as to a proposed course of action. Likewise, 
CPO will have responsibility for recommending to the Director or other 
designated Debarment Official whether or not to continue current 
contracts with, solicit offers from, award contracts to, or consent to 
subcontracts with a contractor who is debarred, suspended, or proposed 
for debarment.
    Given its central role in OPM's procurement process, CPO, in 
consultation with OPM's Office of General Counsel, will also be 
responsible for establishing written procedures that address the key 
aspects of OPM's debarment/suspension program.
    Accordingly, the OPM proposes to adopt the following policy and 
incorporate it into its contracting policies:
    OPM will follow the policies and procedures contained at FAR 
Subpart 9.4--Debarment, Suspension, and Ineligibility. OPM will not 
solicit offers from, award contracts to, or consent to subcontracts 
with contractors who are listed on the Excluded Parties List (SAM/
EPLS), except as otherwise provided for in FAR Subpart 9.4. OPM will 
report to the SAM/EPLS any contractor OPM debars, suspends, or proposes 
for debarment. Such action will have Government-wide reciprocity. 
Notwithstanding the debarment, suspension, or proposed debarment of a 
contractor, OPM may continue contracts or subcontracts in existence at 
the time the contractor was debarred, suspended, or proposed for 
debarment, unless the Director or other designated Debarment Official 
directs otherwise.
    The Director or a designee will serve as the debarring official and 
suspending official (debarment/suspension official). The Director or 
designee will also decide (1) whether to solicit offers from, award 
contracts to, or consent to subcontracts with contractors who have been 
debarred, suspended, or proposed for debarment, and (2) whether to 
terminate a current contract or subcontract in existence at the time 
the contractor was debarred, suspended, or proposed for debarment.
    CPO will have primary responsibility for investigating and 
submitting potential debarment/suspension actions to the SDC, which 
will have the responsibility for reviewing and referring actions to the 
debarment/suspension official for consideration. As such, any person 
who believes that there may be grounds to debar or suspend a person or 
entity from contracting with OPM should contact CPO and provide them 
with all relevant information.
    CPO, in conjunction with the SDC, will also have responsibility for 
recommending to the Director or designee whether or not to continue 
current contracts with, solicit offers from, award contracts to, or 
consent to subcontracts with a contractor who is debarred, suspended, 
or proposed for debarment. In consultation with the Office of General 
Counsel, CPO will establish and maintain written procedures for:
    (1) The prompt reporting, investigation, and referral to the 
debarment/suspension official of matters appropriate for that 
official's consideration. All debarment/suspension referrals shall 
include a recommendation by the SDC as to a proposed course of action;
    (2) The debarment decision-making process, which shall afford the 
contractor (and any specifically named affiliates) an opportunity to 
submit, in person, in writing, or through a representative, information 
and argument in opposition to the proposed debarment;
    (3) The suspension decision-making process, which shall afford the 
contractor (and any specifically named affiliates) an opportunity, 
following the imposition of suspension, to submit, in person, in 
writing, or through presentation, information and argument in 
opposition to the suspension;
    (4) Recommending to the Director or designee whether or not to 
solicit offers from, award contracts to, or consent to subcontracts 
with a contractor who is debarred, suspended, or proposed for 
debarment; and
    (5) Recommending to the Director or designee whether or not to 
continue current contracts with a contractor or subcontractor who is 
debarred, suspended, or proposed for debarment.
    OPM's Office of General Counsel will review for legal sufficiency:
    (1) Referrals by CPO and SDC to the debarment/suspension official;
    (2) Recommendations by CPO to the Director or designee that OPM 
solicit offers from, award contracts to, or consent to subcontracts 
with a contractor who is listed in the SAM/EPLS as debarred, suspended, 
or proposed for debarment;
    (3) Recommendations by CPO and SDC to the Director or designee to 
terminate a current contract because a contractor or subcontractor was 
subsequently debarred, suspended, or proposed for debarment; and
    (4) Notices of proposed debarment, notices of suspension, or any 
other communication to a contractor regarding that contractor's 
potential or actual suspension or debarment.

U.S. Office of Personnel Management.
John Berry,
Director.
[FR Doc. 2013-03962 Filed 2-20-13; 8:45 am]
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