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4.29. My company has a backdrop contract with the Office of General Services (OGS). In accordance with FAQ 4.15, the mini-bid process associated with the backdrop contracts is subject to the new State Finance Law provisions. What am I authorized to do if a released mini-bid violates the contract requirements? For example, if the mini-bid appears to violate the contract requirements about meal breaks, can I communicate with OGS since it is the body responsible for interpreting the contract without running afoul of the requirements of State Finance Law §§ 139-j or 139-k? (Last Updated: 10/12/2006)

A:  This question raises the issue of the contract administrator’s responsibilities for ensuring that the terms and conditions of a contract are met. The terms of the contract set out specific instructions for use and provide OGS with binding authority to interpret the contract terms.  A vendor’s communications with OGS about whether the requirements of a backdrop contracts are being followed are a matter of contract administration. OGS, as the Governmental Entity that is obligated to manage the backdrop contracts, may receive such communications which would constitute factual exchanges of information and not be deemed a Contact.  In accordance with its contract administration responsibilities, OGS would communicate with the procuring governmental entity about how it has not met the contractual requirements. To the extent that OGS deems the communication to be outside of the contract administration role and a reasonable person would deem the communication to be an attempt to influence the governmental procurement during the Restricted Period, OGS would need to record it and refer it to the Governmental Entity conducting the mini-bid.

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