In this five-part podcast series, sponsored by Affiliated Monitors, Inc. (AMI); I am joined by AMI Managing Director Rod Grandon. We consider the responsibility of federal contractors to maintain their status as “Responsible Contractors” and explore the benefits of having an effective compliance and business ethics program not only to increase business efficiencies and profitability but prepare you in good stead if the regulators come knocking. In this first episode, we introduce the concept of Responsible Contractors.

Grandon had a long service in the federal sector, going back about 30 years. He has been a Judge Advocate General and a uniformed attorney in the Army, where he spent time in a procurement role. In 2003, he moved over to the Department of the Air Force and the Office of the General Counsel and spent a number of years on the acquisition side. From there he became more focused on fraud prevention and remedy stamp point moved over to a different division within the General Counsel’s (GCs) office with a clear focus on contracting community. He ended his government service as Deputy General Counsel (DGC) for Contractor Responsibility and conflict Resolution as the Air Force’s Debarring and Suspending Official. With this background, Grandon is uniquely suited to engage with industries to promote contractor responsibility, e.g., encouraging the use of appropriate internal controls, emphasizing the need for robust ethics and compliance programs and advocating continuous efforts to enhance individual integrity.

In this series, we examine the impact of two key Federal Acquisition Regulations (FARs),  FAR3.1002 and FAR 52.203-13, Contractor Code of Business Ethics and Conduct, in the context of other authorities relating to corporate integrity programs, along with proactive steps contractors can take to better position their companies should federal enforcers come calling. It has certainly been Grandon’s experience that companies that proactively embrace robust ethics and compliance programs tend to become better companies for their employees and customers. Grandon emphasized that the government is focused on what it terms “responsible contractors”. While there is no FAR laying out the definition of this term, Grandon noted it has come to have a very broad meaning. First, it addresses performance characteristics that a responsible contractor “should have the ability to perform as it said that it would perform pursuant to its contract.” This includes a contract with goods or services. It is beyond ethics and compliance “as it encompasses the concept that a contractor should have the financial wherewithal to complete the contracted task, the facilities or physical plant to perform the work, accounting systems and purchasing systems that are up to the task, property management systems, and all other such systems should be in place. It also means having a workforce that is capable of performing. Finally, it also includes a workforce that is committed to compliance and promoting all they do with integrity.”

Grandon concluded by noting that suspension and debarment is a tool which is used in a very limited fashion. Yet it is draconian in its impact if a contractor is dependent on federal revenues. He noted, “a suspension or a debarment could be the end of that company.” This means there are multiple considerations that go into the use of the sanction. He concluded, “the bottom line is suspension and debarment can be used only to protect the government from non-responsible contractors.”

Join us in our next episode where discuss what the government expects from contractors. To find out more about Affiliated Monitors, Inc. check out their website