Misguided government waste

As a small business, registered in Central Contractor Registry,  now called SAM. I get asked to bid on various projects based on our NAICS codes (an arcane government numbering system that identifies what your business does with a numeric code) through Fed Biz Ops, the central clearinghouse for government contracts over $25K.

As an ad agency, we supply ad specialties for our clients, so that is one of our NAICS codes. For those of you who don’t know what an “ad specialty” is- it’s also referred to as “trash and trinkets” – or trade show bait, or “ad promotional materials.”

Common items run from pens and notepads – all the way to custom engraved iPads.

So when I see an Air Force buyer looking for trash and trinkets for a “Sexual Awarness Prevention and Response Campaign (SAPR) Supplies” I really have to wonder? What, we don’t want people to be “sexually aware” (we’re preventing it right?) or telling people how to respond to sexually aware people (those who didn’t get the training).

The logo- says it’s a “Sexual Assault Prevention Response Program”- so it’s already looking like someone is trying to cover something up.

Here is the link to the RFQ: https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form&id=1c4369dc2ebb279d41c78ff6c09c517e&tab=core&_cview=1

And here is what they want prices on:

:
F1C0BW1259A002
:
Combined Synopsis/Solicitation
:
Added: Sep 22, 2011 3:32 am

This is a combined synopsis/solicitation for commercial items prepared in accordance with the format in Subpart 12.6, as supplemented with additional information included in this notice. This announcement constitutes the only solicitation; quotes are being requested and a written solicitation will not be issued. This solicitation, F1C0RH1259A002, is being issued as a Request for Quotation (RFQ). This solicitation document and incorporated provisions and clauses are those in effect through Federal Acquisition Circular (FAC) 2005-53. This procurement is a 100% Small Business set-aside IAW FAR 19.502-2(a). The NAICS code is 541890 and the small business size standard is $7,000,000.00. The following commercial items are requested in this solicitation:

Logo for USAF HQ Sexual Assault Prevention Response Program

Is it Sexual Assault Prevention Response Program or Sexual Awareness Prevention Response Program?

NOTE: SAPR Stock logo is provided. See attached pdf.

CLIN 0001 – Collapsible Can Cooler
Quantity: 750ea
Color: Teal
Folds flat; pocket/ purse storage
Printed SAPR Logo with “Andersen AFB 366-SARC”

CLIN 0002 – Circular Keyring (chrome)
Quantity: 250ea
SAPR Logo with “Andersen AFB 366-SARC”
(Laser engraved)
CLIN 0003 – Stainless Bottle (25 oz.)
Quantity: 400ea
Color: Teal
Height: Appx. 9 inches
Printed SAPR Logo with “Andersen AFB 366-SARC”

CLIN 0004– Leather-bound Journal with ruled pages,
business card holder and pen loop.
Dimensions: 8.5″H x 6.5″W x 0.75″L
Quantity: 50ea
Embossed with with SAPR logo

CLIN 0005– Insulated Cooler Drawstring Cinch Bag
Nylon exterior; adjustable nylon cord w/
shoulder straps
Quantity: 400ea
Color: Teal
Printed SAPR logo with “Andersen AFB 366-SARC”

CLIN 0006– Tumbler (15 oz.)
Quantity: 50ea
Double wall construction with stainless steel liner; leather holder; removable sleeve.
Printed SAPR logo

Somehow, giving away can stainless water bottles or insulated cooler cinch bags is somehow going to prevent either “sexual assault” or “sexual awareness”?

This is in a country where we can barely give our kids proper sex ed, and the idea of distributing free condoms to youths most at risk of either getting preggers or STDs is against the law?

Despite the problems with the horrible logo- which won’t screen print or engrave easily, the whole idea of our government spending around $20K on trash and trinkets, just before year end, as our government is bordering on bankruptcy has to make someone wonder.

I know this is less than rounding error on a sub-sub-sub line item of just the Air Force budget, but, as an American – working as a contracting officer, shouldn’t you be putting your foot down? This mess might have been caused by Congress- but there is nothing stopping government employees from asking real questions like “What is an engraved keyring going to do to stop sexual assault?”

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4 Responses

  1. Bubba Jones September 22, 2011 / 11:42 am
    >>> the whole idea of our government spending around $20K on trash and trinkets, just before year end <<<
     
    “Just before year end” is the key here, David.  There’s money left in someone’s budget and it must be spent!  My dad spent 37 years working as a “medical fiscal officer” – 20 years active duty in the USAF and 17 years as a civilian.  I remember him telling me that he spent the day begging nurses to go to training classes because there was still training money left in the budget as year end approached.  If all of the money didn’t get spent for that year, then the training budget would be cut in coming years since they obviously overbudgeted in the current year.  It was that way in all budget categories, not just training.  So, instead of being congratulated and rewarded for being fiscally responsible, it was just the opposite.
     
    20 years after he’s retired it’s still the same way.  A good friend of mine works for one of the spy agencies at WPAFB and they get pushed to go to training in the last quarter of the fiscal year for the same reasons.  What’s sad is that during the first half of this fiscal year, Congress still hadn’t passed the budget so his travel/training was sharply curtailed.  Once the budget was approved sometime around March, all of the sudden they had to spend 12 months worth of training and travel budget in only six months.  Sheesh!!
     
    As far as whether this money should be spent, I’m with ya on this one, David.  In other news, Hell froze over today!
     

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  2. Shortwest Rick September 22, 2011 / 11:43 am
    Probably wouldn’t do much good to quote them on 750 pepper sprays, huh?

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  3. Hall September 22, 2011 / 3:04 pm
    Using gov’t logic here…. If they reduced the training and travel budget to 6-month amounts, when it came time for the next year’s budget, they’d end up needing DOUBLE the amount from the previous year. Yes, we know WHY it’s doubled (when it’s really not), but I suppose they don’t allow “*” or footnotes to explain things. At the bottom of the worksheet, there’s a dollar amount for each year and one number will differ greatly from the other.

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  4. Linda October 2, 2011 / 12:07 pm
    We have the same problem at our current station. It is astonishing the questions that aren’t asked in order to move forth with a campaign. The people who handle the sexual “awareness” program offer a couple things that are helpful — actual books and pamphlets — but they too have tchotchkes like sliding puzzle games and pins. It makes no sense. Sexual assault is such a touchy issue that these people are probably hoping that a physical object (with a crappy screen of what appears to be an AWFUL logo) will help people remain “aware,” but I don’t know how that’s to be achieved with a water bottle. Will Captain Caveman refrain from saying something bawdy because his water bottle tells him otherwise? I doubt it. I understand the money issue, but still.

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