A disabled veteran-owned training contractor found out that you can do better protesting an award in the Court of Federal Claims rather than with the Government Accountability Office. That’s because you can get more information in court filings. Smith Pachter McWhorter procurement attorney Joe Petrillo illustrated that point with a recent case on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.
Tom Temin: Joe, I guess this idea of documentation can really make the difference in a protest. Tell us about this case.
Joseph Petrillo: Sure. This case arose from a procurement by the Special Operations Command of a single award task order contract for training services. The contract was called Raptor 4. As you mentioned, it was a total set aside for service disabled veteran owned small businesses. And it was a big contract, it was worth about a quarter of a billion dollars over a potential seven years. There had been some GAO protests on this. And finally, the Court of Federal Claims sustained a protest by Oak Grove Technologies that had protested an award decision to F3EA. And that decision was handed down back in August, but the reverberations from it continue. Just recently, the court decided a motion for sanctions against the government for withholding documents. Let me explain how that happens, because it does illustrate some of the differences between court protests and GAO protests
Tom Temin: And before sanctions can take the form of monetary awards?
Joseph Petrillo: Exactly. We’ll find out more about that when we get to the final resolution on the sanctions motion. The administrative record in the protest differs depending on whether the protest is filed the GAO or the court. At GAO, the agency can respond only to those protest allegations that are in the protest so they can provide the documents relevant to that. In court, however, you need to address those issues. But you also need to provide the court with enough information to determine how the award was made. What was the process? What information was before the agency when it made the decision? Even if that information wasn’t specifically considered, if it was information dealing with the award decision, it needs to be in the record. Here, there were two documents that had not been included in the administrative record at the court. They hadn’t been in GAO either, but a separate record was filed with the court, and the record lacked a couple documents. One of the documents was a DCMA report on another offeror. How did that have anything to do with this? Well, in that instance, the agency had argued that Oak Grove didn’t have standing because it wasn’t next in line for award. There was an intervening offeror. However, the DCMA report had recommended not awarding to that intervening offeror because it lacked financial capability. So that really went to the issue of whether or not they were standing in Oak Grove to bring the protest.
Tom Temin: In other words, Oak Grove would have moved up a notch had the intervening or the contractor in between been knocked out for financial lack of resources.
Joseph Petrillo: Exactly. It would be next in line for award and would have standing to protest the decision to award to F3EA.
Tom Temin: Yeah, so an important document didn’t make it into the original record, in other words.
Joseph Petrillo: Right. And another important document was a letter terminating the first chairman of the source selection evaluation board. Now, the activities of this chairman were at issue in the protest, and they formed part of the reason why it succeeded in court. There is an allegation and some proof that he had steered award to F3EA, for example, the solicitation required the offerors to respond to his three sample task quarters to show that they had the capability to perform. The evidence was that he had specifically drafted those sample task quarters to track work that the incumbent had already performed. So this is something that already done and they would have been able to do a good job of it. There were other serious allegations as well, and they were part of the reason why the protest was upheld. The letter about dismissing the SSEB chairman didn’t specifically address all those issues, but they had said that he had in numerous revisions of the final report of the SSEB omitted important evaluation findings. So it was definitely in the same area of manipulating the award process.
Tom Temin: We’re speaking with Joe Petrillo. He’s a procurement attorney with Smith Pachter McWhorter. And two questions. Just a quick background question, people tend to go to GAO because it’s more streamlined process and faster than court partly because there’s less paperwork?
Joseph Petrillo: That’s part of it, yeah. And it is an administrative process. GAO has a lot of expertise. And there tend to be fewer procedural matters, then you run into in court. But sometimes those procedural matters can get you the information you need to win a protest.
Tom Temin: Right. And my second question is, how do you know what documents might exist in the first place, if they hadn’t been introduced to the court, or to GAO for that matter?
Joseph Petrillo: Well, there are a couple of ways. One is to get a situation where you’re finding gaps in the record. Usually documents are cross reference other documents. And the other is sometimes in the process of getting oral argument in court, or to some extent you get testimony from people, you can learn about documents in that way as well.
Tom Temin: So you would use discovery in other words to ask for those documents.
Joseph Petrillo: It’s not exactly discovery like you’ll have in normal litigation, you don’t usually get that in this instance because the question is reviewing the administrative record. But you can usually tell when there’s something that should be there that isn’t there, or there are decisions that are aren’t adequately explained. And if you can get the court to focus on those and probe on those, you can then move to have the record expanded to include those documents.
Tom Temin: Alright, so in this case, Oak Grove found out then through documentation that was later introduced, that one, they had a better chance than they thought, because the number two offeror wasn’t financially responsible. And they found out that the source selection was kind of tainted because of activities of the chairman. How did that change the outcome? How does it stand? What did the court decide here?
Joseph Petrillo: Well, back in August, the court had decided that the Army had to redo its investigation of Procurement Integrity Act issues, which kind of blew them off and seemed inadequate given the seriousness of the allegations and the strength of proof. And that it would have to either completely re solicit the procurement or at least reopen it and conduct discussions with those offerors still remaining in the procurement. In this most recent decision in November. It sanctioned the government for failing to provide the documents it should have provided in the administrative record. And everyone had to spend a lot of time and effort of finding out about them and getting the Army to provide them over its objections, and then having to argue about the sanctions. So the court awarded the protester its legal fees in pursuing that information and getting and participating in the sanctions process. The fees were awarded against the Army since it appeared that they had kept the documents from the Department of Justice attorney when the administrative record was filed.
Tom Temin: Got it. And so now the award itself though is open to question, it might not go forward with the original winner.
Joseph Petrillo: The court enjoined the Army from awarding any new task orders under the contract and wanted the Army to proceed with implementing the remedy it had. I would also say here that given the sanctions and the resolution of that, I think the moral of the story is if you’re a contracting officer, you should provide a full set of documents to your counsel and let counsel decide what to provide in the protest process.
Tom Temin: Be transparent and listen to your lawyer. Two good pieces of advice from Joe Petrillo, procurement attorney with Smith Pachter McWhorter. As always, thanks so much.
Joseph Petrillo: Thank you, Tom.
Original Article: federalnewsnetwork.com
IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card Review (2022)
Hotel credit cards are incredibly underrated. Even if you don’t spend much money on them, they can offer huge perks, including elite status and free night certificates. When you combine these two factors, a lot of these cards offer outsized value.
In this post, I wanted to take a closer look at a hotel credit card that I think just about everyone should have, for the anniversary free night certificate if nothing else. This is an especially good time to get the card, as the current welcome bonus is excellent.
IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card Basics For January 2022
The IHG® Rewards Club Premier Credit Card is the premium Chase and IHG co-branded credit card. Even if you don’t plan on putting much spending on the card, this card can be worth having for the anniversary free night certificate, fourth night free on award redemptions, and more.
For those of you not familiar with IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group), the group owns InterContinental, Six Senses, Regent, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo, and more.
Let’s take a closer look at what you need to know about this card.
Welcome Bonus Of 125,000 Points & Free Night
At the moment the IHG Premier Card is offering an excellent two-part welcome bonus, which is earned after spending $3,000 within the first three months:
Receive 125,000 IHG Rewards pointsReceive a free night award valid at a property costing up to 40,000 points
Personally I value IHG points at 0.5 cents each, so the 125,000 points are worth ~$625 to me, while the free night certificate can be worth up to ~$200.
The welcome bonus on the IHG Premier Card isn’t available to those who currently have this specific card, or those who have received a new cardmember bonus on this card in the past 24 months. You’re eligible for the IHG Premier Card even if you have the no annual fee IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card (review).
Furthermore, you’re eligible for the IHG Premier Card even if you have IHG’s previous co-branded credit card. These cards are even great complements to one another.
While you can get multiple cards, note that Chase also typically lets you product change between personal cards, assuming you’ve had a card for at least 12 months. You’ll need to phone up the number on the back of your card to find out more.
Chase’s 5/24 Rule
Chase has what’s known as the 5/24 rule. This means that if you’ve opened five or more new card accounts in the past 24 months you typically won’t be approved for this card. So if you do apply for this card, make sure you’re under that limit. Chase’s other general application restrictions apply.
$89 Annual Fee
The IHG Premier Card has an $89 annual fee. You can add additional cardmembers to your account at no extra cost. As I’ll explain below, the annual fee is well worth it even if you don’t spend money on the card, since you get an anniversary free night certificate.
Earning Points With The IHG Premier Card
The IHG Premier Card offers some bonus categories, though in general this isn’t a card that I would put much spending on, given the relatively low value of IHG Rewards points.
10x Points At IHG Properties
If you have the IHG Premier Card then you can earn a total of 25x IHG Rewards points per dollar spent at IHG properties. However, in reality, not all of those points are coming from the credit card as such. Here’s how this breaks down:
You earn 10x points from IHG for being an IHG Rewards memberYou earn 5x points from IHG with Platinum status, which is a benefit of this cardYou earn 10x points for paying with your IHG Premier CardEarn 10x points for stays at IHG properties
2x Points At Gas Stations, Grocery Stores, And Restaurants
The IHG Premier Card offers 2x points for purchases made at gas stations, grocery stores, and restaurants. Given my fairly low valuation of IHG points, that translates to a return of about one cent per dollar spent.
Personally, I wouldn’t recommend spending money in these categories with this card, since there are much better options out there.
Earn 1x Points On Other Purchases
For categories in which you can’t earn 2-10x points, the card offers one IHG Rewards point per dollar spent. I would highly recommend against spending money on the card at that rate, since you can do better with other cards.
No Foreign Transaction Fees
The IHG Premier Credit Card has no foreign transaction fees, so it’s a good card for purchases abroad. That’s especially true when staying at IHG properties abroad, as well as for dining and commuting outside the United States.
IHG Premier Credit Card Benefits
Anniversary Free Night
Every year on your account anniversary you get a free night certificate, valid at any property costing up to 40,000 points per night. This will be issued shortly after your anniversary and is valid for 12 months. This is in addition to the free night certificate currently being offered as part of the welcome bonus.
This covers a vast majority of IHG properties worldwide, and I’ve consistently gotten outsized value with this. For example, I’ve now three times in a row redeemed it at hotels that would have cost $250+ for one night if paying cash.
I’ve used a free night certificate at the Kimpton EPIC Miami
Fourth Night Free On Award Redemptions
Just for having the IHG Premier Card you get a fourth night free on award redemptions. When you stay four consecutive nights on an award redemption then you only have to redeem points for the first three nights.
This is an awesome perk, since it can be used an unlimited number of times (you can even use it to book multiple rooms at the same hotel). If you usually redeem points for stays in increments of four nights, this is like getting 25% off all your redemptions.
Get a fourth night free on an award at the InterContinental Maldives
IHG Rewards Platinum Status
You receive IHG Rewards Platinum status for as long as you have the card. While IHG isn’t the richest program in terms of elite benefits, this more than does the trick for those who only occasionally stay with IHG.
Among other things, IHG Rewards Platinum members receive:
Complimentary room upgrades, subject to availability50% bonus pointsLate check-out, subject to availabilityPriority check-inComplimentary internetWelcome amenityGet room upgrades as an IHG Rewards Platinum member
Global Entry Or TSA Pre-Check Credit
The IHG Premier Card offers a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit once every four years. Just charge the membership fee of up to $100 to your card, and it will automatically be reimbursed. It doesn’t matter who the fee is being paid for, as long as you charge it to your eligible card.
One of the great features of Chase cards is access to Chase Offers, which provides savings on purchases with all kinds of retailers. The program wasn’t launched that long ago, but has already saved me a significant amount of money.
Secondary Car Rental Coverage
The IHG Premier Card offers auto rental collision damage waiver coverage. Decline the rental company’s collision insurance and charge the entire rental cost to your card.
Coverage is provided for theft and collision damage for most cars in the United States and abroad. Do note that domestically the coverage is secondary to your personal insurance, though.
Protection With Trip Delays, Lost Luggage, And More
The IHG Premier Card offers a variety of other protection when traveling. Among these features is:
Trip Cancellation & Trip Interruption Insurance — be reimbursed up to $5,000 per trip when your trip is canceled or cut short due to sickness, severe weather, etc.Lost Luggage Reimbursement — be reimbursed up to $3,000 per passenger if you or your immediate family member check or carry on luggage that is damaged or lost by an airlineBaggage Delay Insurance — be reimbursed up to $100 per day for three days for essential purchases when your bag is delayed by over six hours
Make sure you check your cardmember agreement for all of the details, since there are terms & conditions.
Is The IHG Premier Credit Card Worth It?
I think the IHG Premier Card is absolutely worth having. While this isn’t a card I would put much spending on, the card is worth the $89 annual fee for the incredible perks that it offers. The card offers an anniversary free night certificate, a fourth night free on award redemptions, IHG Rewards Platinum status, a Global Entry fee credit, and more.
Everyone in my family has an IHG Card, if for no other reason than that we consistently redeem the free night certificates at hotels that would cost $250+ when paying cash.
IHG isn’t my favorite hotel group, but there are 5,000+ locations, and I inevitably end up staying at IHG hotels several times per year, because the brand often has the best options.
Let’s discuss a few other aspects of the card, though…
Quick Comparison: IHG Premier Vs. IHG Traveler Card
Above I’ve written about the $89 annual fee IHG Premier Card, though there’s also the no annual fee IHG® Rewards Club Traveler Credit Card (review). The Premier Card is absolutely worth the annual fee. Why?
The Premier Card offers an anniversary free night, while the Traveler Card doesn’tThe Premier Card offers IHG Platinum status, while the Traveler Card offers IHG Gold statusThe Premier Card offers a Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check credit, while the Traveler Card doesn’tThe Premier Card offers a huge welcome bonus
Like I said, the single best benefit of the Premier Card is the anniversary free night certificate, and that’s worth way more than its annual year.
Other Options For Earning IHG Points
The IHG Premier Card doesn’t actually offer great points earning rates when you factor in the fairly low per point value of IHG Rewards.
Do keep in mind that IHG is transfer partners with Chase Ultimate Rewards, so you could transfer points at a 1:1 ratio. For example:
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® Card (review) offers 3x points on dining and travelThe Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card (review) offers 3x points on dining, online groceries, and streaming services, and 2x points on travelThe Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card (review) offers 3x points on the first $150,000 spent annually on travel, shipping purchases, internet, cable and phone services, and advertising purchases made with social media sites and search enginesThe Chase Freedom Unlimited® (review), in conjunction with one of the above cards, earns 3x points on dining and drugstores, and 1.5x points on all purchasesThe Chase Freedom FlexSM (review), in conjunction with one of the above cards, earns 3x points on dining and drugstores, and 5x points in rotating quarterly categories
That being said, in general I absolutely wouldn’t recommend transferring Chase points to IHG. As I said, I value IHG points at ~0.5 cents each, while you can instead transfer points at the same ratio to programs like World of Hyatt, where I value the points at ~1.5 cents each (three times as much).
Sometimes it can make sense to buy IHG points when the program has a sale. IHG Rewards sometimes sells points with a 100% bonus, which brings down the cost per purchased points to 0.5 cents each. When you stack that with the fourth night free offered by this card and the Platinum perks you’ll receive, that could be well worth it.
Have The IHG Select Card?
Back in the day, there was the IHG Select Card, which is no longer open to new applicants. If you have that card, then you should absolutely hold onto it and then also apply for this card, as you’re eligible for both. Why? Because you can stack the benefits on both cards:
Both cards offer an anniversary free night certificate, so you could earn two of those each year, and use them for back-to-back staysThe old card offers a 10% refund on redeemed points (up to 100,000 refunded points per year), while the new card offers a fourth night free on award redemptions, and you could stack those benefits; in other words, if you make a four night stay at a hotel costing 70,000 points per night you’d end up paying 210,000 points, and then would get 21,000 points back, for a total cost of 189,000 points, which is over 30% off
The IHG Premier Card is a card that I highly recommend getting. Not because it makes sense to put a lot of spending on the card long term, but because the anniversary free night certificate can be worth way more than the $89 annual fee.
Add in the IHG Platinum status, fourth night free on award redemptions, Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check credit, and more, and this card is a no-brainer. The card even has a top notch bonus right now, getting cardmembers even more value.
I know some people are opposed to having a lot of credit cards, but often it can make sense to have some cards just for the perks they offer, even if they’re not worth spending much money on. This is one of those cards.
Source Here: onemileatatime.com
Commentary: “Hockey Day” Was a Rousing Success
FITCHBURG — Money aside, it’s safe to say Saturday’s “Hockey Day in the Burg” was a success.
That’s not to say the thousands of people who entered the Wallace Civic Center didn’t raise a boatload of money for the Thibeault Family Rehabilitation Trust. They certainly did.
But the smile that was pasted on Jake Thibeault’s face — clearly visible at all times, even with a mask on — was proof that the event was successful. That happiness, the escape it brought even temporarily, was worth more than any amount of money.
Thibeault was greeted by friends, teammates and coaches. In a way, it was akin to a family reunion for the teen.
He was welcomed back to his hometown rink as rock star, posing for photos, chatting with each and every person who came up to say hello. Turn and look at any 10 people and at least one would be wearing one of the “TBOTOUGH” T-shirts that were being sold.
What a boost that must be for Thibeault, who arrived back to his home in Fitchburg Friday for the first time since a hit during a September hockey game left him without sensation from the waist down. Until then, it had been all hospital time in Boston, working hard in rehab to hopefully someday walk again.
If any of that was on Thibeault’s mind throughout Saturday’s three hockey games, you wouldn’t know it. He was back with teammates, embraced by coaches. When I mused that it would be a long day for him, Thibeault smiled and said “yeah, but it’ll be a great day.”
If you haven’t had a chance to talk to Jake Thibeault, here’s a primer on what you pick up on immediately. He’s polite. Thoughtful. Wise beyond his years. Engaging. Determined.
His positivity is contagious. Inspiring. The road ahead of Jake Thibeault is a long one that will be filled with challenges, but it’s one he’s meeting with the mindset of a hockey player: he’s going to grind it out every day and he’s going to win.
“Every day is a new day with ups and downs, but I try to minimize the bad days and just have bad moments,” he told me. His focus is on the good.
Want a glimpse at what kind of young man Jake Thibeault is?
He’s not worried about living a fulfilling life; he knows he’s going to no matter what obstacles are ahead. And his biggest concern? Letting people know how grateful he is for the support he’s received.
“I have so many people that I have to repay and I don’t know how I will,” he said.
Humble. Determined. Full of respect and love for those who have shown the exact same thing to him.
It’s been an incredibly tough few months for the Thibeault family, but Mike and Tracy — Jake’s parents — know they’ve raised a remarkable young man. He didn’t become that way because of a tragic accident on the ice; he’s been that way for a long time.
Whether or not he walks again doesn’t change that one bit. Jake Thibeault off the ice is what he’s always been on the ice to teammates and coaches; a dedicated and determined leader who works hard and is the kind of kid you root for.
And using Saturday’s showing at the Wallace Civic Center as a clear indication, he still has a lot of people rooting for him.
Source Here: sentinelandenterprise.com
Large Scale Renovation Plans for Richford Arms Soon to Be Unveiled
A large scale plan to renovate one apartment building in Downtown Erie is close to being unveiled.
The owner of Richford Arms, the apartment building located on State Street, has reportedly planned what they’re calling a “kick off event” for January 24th.
Beacon Communities has already begun the work on the north side of the apartment building.
The project has been priced at 27 million dollars and will include major updates inside and outside of the 100 unit building.
For news delivered right to you, subscribe to JET 24/FOX 66/YourErie.com’s breaking, daily news & severe weather email lists
According to Beacon, the changes will include a two story addition and six new fully-accessible units.
Source Here: yourerie.com
Global1 month ago
C.D.C. Panel Will Discuss Blood Clot Risk Linked to J.&J.’s Vaccine
Medicine2 months ago
In Finland, New Swedish PM Discusses Forestry, Security Policy
Biz2 months ago
What You Need to Know About Online Business in 2022
Biz2 months ago
OnlineBusiness.com Acquires CSEO, a Leading Marketing Company for Small Businesses
Biz2 months ago
Top Domain Sales for Q3 2021
Commerce2 months ago
USDA Invests $633 Million in Climate-Smart and Resilient Infrastructure for People in Rural Communities
Global2 months ago
Omicron Case With a New York Tie Shows How Virus Outpaces Response
Lifestyle2 months ago
OpEd: LIRR Better Than Ever With Infrastructure Upgrades