Run Through the Base, Not To the Base
Thankfully, baseball season is back. While listening to a broadcast of my favorite team yesterday, I heard the announcer repeat the fundamental lesson of “running through the base, not to the base.” Running to a base leaves the runner no option or momentum to continue. When running through the base, the runner has the option to stop or keep going to the next base. This too is an important lesson for government contractors – run through your goals to preserve your options.
Recently, a contractor’s appeal was dismissed when the ASBCA found it had no jurisdiction because the contractor did not first submit a claim to the contracting officer. In the contractor’s defense, he probably (and understandably) thought a claim wasn’t necessary when a settlement had already been reached between the contractor and the Army, as evidenced by a written agreement from the contracting officer.
However, “through bureaucratic indifference, the government failed to keep its promise to pay appellant, failed to explain why it was not paying, and failed to retain records that demonstrate what happened.” ASBCA No. 60597, decided March 3, 2017 (underlining added). The Board was “sympathetic” to the contractor’s “predicament,” but the absence of a certified claim meant the Board was powerless to do anything.
To keep your options open and maintain momentum, claims may be necessary even when they shouldn’t be.