The federal suspension and debarment blacklist is the single most powerful administrative tool in the Executive Branch arsenal to protect tax-supported activities against fraud, waste, abuse, non-compliance, poor performance and a wide variety of other policy concerns. Business entities, exempt organizations, and individuals whose names are placed on the federal blacklist face serious, if not catastrophic, economic consequences. In many cases, being blacklisted results in financial ruin for individuals and even collapse of a business – both in the federal contacts and assistance space and in the private sector.
Virtually every attorney, no matter what area of law you practice, should be aware of this blacklisting system. Who is vulnerable? What factors are considered by the listing officials? Who may be sharing information about your client within the government? What are your clients’ rights and how to you protect your client from improper use of this tool? Join attorney Robert F. Meunier in this revealing program of instruction to build attorney awareness about the federal suspension and debarment system. Don’t miss MR. Meunier’s insights as he shares an interesting history of creating the federal blacklist and the execution of it as only he, as one of the founders and most-experienced former federal officials in the arena, can provide.
Robert Meunier (Bob) has more than 37 years of experience in the federal suspension and debarment arena. Upon his retirement from federal service in 2008, he founded Debarment Solutions Institute as a vehicle to provide authentic and reliable interpretation and application of the rules, policies and practices of the Federal Debarment and Suspension Program, as well as the unofficial informal practices that influence the use of the government’s most powerful economic sanctions. DSI also serves as an objective consultant to government and private sector legal practitioners, industry and businesses of all sizes and sectors. It also provides independent monitoring services for businesses under special agreements with the government.
As an attorney with initial experience in EPA’s Office of Enforcement, Bob transferred to the Office of Resources Management and shortly thereafter began working building an EPA debarment program to address vulnerabilities in the agency’s Construction Grants Programs. He was appointed to serve on the Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) Government-wide Task Force to establish the non-procurement suspension and debarment system including writing its guidelines and approving the rules of all Executive Branch agencies. He also coordinated rulemaking activities and served as an advisor on various rulemaking activities under the federal procurement system. Bob was appointed the first Chairperson of the OMB Interagency Suspension and Debarment Committee (ISDC) established by President Reagan and served in that capacity continuously for more than 20 years. As Chair, he coordinated suspension and debarment policy and practice information among all civilian and military agencies in both the procurement and non-procurement arenas. He consolidated all EPA discretionary debarment operations with those facilities under mandatory debarment for violations of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act into a single cohesive Debarment Program which he headed from 1995 until his retirement in 2008.
Virtually his entire federal career was devoted exclusively to federal suspension and debarment law, after having served briefly in environmental enforcement and grants policy positions. He served as debarment program counsel coordinating debarment case activities with criminal and civil investigators, auditors and program officials, as well as state and local authorities. He served 5 years as debarment and suspension hearing officer, 7 Director of the Suspension and Debarment Division. and thirteen years as EPA’s full time Debarring and Suspending Official for procurement, non-procurement and environmental compliance issues.
During his career, he authored EPA’s suspension and debarment rules for assistance programs; co-authored the government-wide non-procurement rule in both 1988 and the revised rule in 2003. He authored, and was primary instructor for the advanced agent’s National Suspension and Debarment Training Program at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center. He also authored and taught the introductory suspension and debarment segment for new agents at the Inspector General Academy. He provided suspension and debarment instruction to federal prosecutors, procurement and grants officials, lawyers and others in a variety of programs offered by the Army Judge Advocate General School, DOJ National Advocacy Center, George Washington University Graduate Law Center, American Bar Association and in a wide variety of other training programs. He has testified before Congress regarding proposed legislation, and assisted the FAR Council in developing the Mandatory Disclosure Rule.
Since October 2008 Bob has served as CEO and President of Debarment Solutions Institute, LLC. In that capacity he has provided independent monitoring services, consulting services and educational instruction to the federal government, private industry, non-profit organizations, trade associations, lawyers and individuals in an objective, neutral and non-conflicted capacity. Bob has provided testimony as a subject matter expert concerning the federal suspension and debarment process.
Neither Bob, nor anyone acting on DSI’s behalf, serves as legal representative for or on behalf of any individual or organization appearing before a debarring official or in any legal proceeding. DSI provides process consultation and training to the legal and business communities to preserve its ability to provide the best source of reliable and unbiased information to aide those who serve in legal, corporate policy or representative capacities.
Although Bob does not provide legal representation in his current position, Bob has been a member of the Virginia State Bar in good standing since his admission in 1978. He is a member of the American Bar Association (ABA) and has, over the years, served several terms as Co-chair of the Public Contract Law Section’s Committee on Debarment and Suspension. He has been a contributing author to the ABA’s four editions of the Practitioner’s Guide to Suspension and Debarment and the ABA’s Guide to the Mandatory Disclosure Rule: Issues, Guidelines and Best Practices.
Great presentation. All attorneys working in government contracts area should watch.
Excellent presentation. The presenter gave an excellent overview of the history of suspension and debarment and the various laws and regulations governing the area. The discussion on affiliation was very helpful as well as the discussion on preparing for a PMIO and access to the administrative record (official and unofficial).
Good topic, and excellent moderator support
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