McAleese: Ethical do's and don'ts

Creating safe harbors of conduct among contractor and government personnel on major Defense Department information technology and architecture programs is critical to evolving from stovepiped legacy IT systems to DOD's transformational vision of network-centric warfare.

Although not exhaustive, this list serves as a useful tool for both government and contractor workers. Because every situation is unique, always consult with an attorney whenever an issue raises even the potential appearance of impropriety.

Some contractor do's:

Allow the government to test-drive products for reasonable periods of time during market surveys.

Respond to draft statements of work and requests for proposals to understand program requirements before solicitations are issued.

Subject to lobbying registration requirements, communicate freely with lawmakers on acquisition policies or programs.

Have systems in place that require company employees to comply with the highest ethical standards. Reprimand, terminate and self-disclose if failures are severe.

Contractor don'ts:

Offer gratuities to government employees.

Seek special favors or consideration directly or indirectly from government officials.

Seek source selection or proposal information during any competition.

Negotiate formal employment with government procurement officials, unless they fully disclosure that and recuse themselves from further personal and substantial involvement in the procurement process.

Government employee do's:

Except during competitions, recognize that contractors are part of the acquisition team and treat them transparently and equally.

Conduct market surveys for products and services to obtain data on commercial items' availability.

Request that multiple contractors assist in preparing specifications.

Request that contractors participate in government-sponsored acquisition conferences and workshops.

Become familiar with governmentwide ethics regulations or DOD's Joint Ethics Regulations.

Discuss acquisition policy issues publicly.

Government employee don'ts:

Provide source selection or proprietary proposal information to any contractor during any competition.

Retaliate or discriminate against a contractor who files a protest or claim against the government.

Negotiate employment with contractors without full disclosure and prompt recusal of oversight of that contractor's programs.

A fair procurement process must encourage healthy competition and reward technical innovation. Procurement improprieties, whether intentional or inadvertent, retard the ability to advance. They also trigger unfounded allegations of widespread cronyism or influence peddling.

McAleese is the principal of McAleese&Associates, a government contracting and national security law firm in McLean, Va. This is the second of a two-part commentary.

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group