Thread Subject: Re: Buying a non-conformant test product
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From: Baquis David
Date: Thu, Jan 11 2007 9:30 AM
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This is actually not a far fetched discussion related to empathizing
with the government procurement perspective. Agencies want to know what
they have to do to be compliant with the law. They look to the
regulations to spell out what is required and what is allowable. If
something like this appears to be missing, then it causes concern. The
agencies know that the law is enforceable and were rightly paranoid,
even though it is obvious to all that it would not seem appropriate for
a disabled product tester to complain about accessibility of a sample
test product. They knew it seemed stupid, but wanted an external hook to
hang their determination on, not their personal interpretation. This was
a specific complaint about the 508 Standards and a specific wish that
the next advisory committee be responsive to their frustration. The
matter of "intent" is interesting. One of the government's intents is
to avoid getting sued, and to avoid liability, and even the perception
of wrong doing.
Training may not be sufficient as an answer because the published
Standards and Guidelines will reach more people than training ever will.
In addition, the training is easier if I can give participants something
solid to put their finger on as a basis for their decision making, so it
does not appear that decisions are made arbitrarily.
To be consistent, I suppose we could argue about other provisions that
do not seem necessary to have in regulations, but could be handled
through training. This is not the only exception or issue that might
seem to have a weak basis. If you want the technical assistance answer
to be "you should know because it is common sense", then that is a
slipperly slope because leaving it up to people to figure things out for
themselves is how we get so many different outcomes, for example in
"best meets" determinations.
Finally, consider in this case that we would not have to make up an
exception that does not already exist. We could simply resuse what (I
have been told) is in the FAR.
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