Task Order Labor Categories Don’t Match Schedule Contract; GAO Sustains Protest

The GAO sustained a protest of the award of a GSA Schedule task order because the labor categories awarded under the task order were outside the scope of the awardee’s underlying GSA Schedule contract.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that the awardee’s GSA Schedule labor category–management analyst–did not align with the task order solicitation’s requirement for research analysts, general consultants, and legal administrative specialists.  As a result, the task order award was improper.

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PTAC Spotlight: Iowa PTAP Helps Contractors Prosper

The Iowa State University Procurement Technical Assistance Program provides its clients a wide range of resources thanks to its existence as a part of  ISU’s Center for Industrial Research and Service.  “We engage with our clients at multiple levels to help them develop successful businesses,” says Pam Russenberger, the statewide PTAP director.

The Iowa PTAP works extensively with small businesses new to the government market, assisting contractors in developing marketing initiatives and preparing their first successful proposals. “Helping a new government contractor receive its first contract, even if it is for only $5,000, is an incredibly rewarding experience,” Russenberger says.

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SBA “Adverse Impact” Analysis Not Required For Large Business

The SBA was not required to conduct an “adverse impact” analysis before placing a procurement under the 8(a) program because the company requesting the adverse impact analysis was not a small business under the incumbent contract.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that the incumbent contractor–which, according to the SBA, had violated the ostensible subcontractor affiliation rule–was not entitled to insist on an adverse impact analysis.

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Subcontracting Plans: SBA Proposes Stronger Enforcement

Large businesses’ subcontracting plans would be subject to stricter compliance standards under a SBA proposed rule introduced December 29.

The intent of the new regulations is to compel prime contractors to make good faith efforts to comply with their subcontracting plans by implementing reporting mechanisms and harsher penalties for fraudulent actions or actions made in bad faith.  Small businesses subcontractors are likely to agree that these are positive changes.

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FedBizOpps Searches: Be Thorough (Or Be Out Of Luck)

If one type of FedBizOpps search does not turn up a solicitation, try a different search–or run the risk of missing the solicitation.

That is the message to contractors from a recent GAO bid protest decision, in which an offeror was unable to discover a VA opportunity by searching the “Place of Performance” field on FedBizOpps.  As it turned out, the solicitation would have popped up if the offeror had tried other types of FedBizOpps searches, and the GAO held that it was the offeror’s responsibility to more thoroughly attempt to locate the solicitation.

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Ostensible Subcontractor Affiliation: SBA Proposes Exception For “Similarly Situated” Entities

The ostensible subcontractor affiliation rule would be modified to include an exception for “similarly situated” entities serving as subcontractors, if a recent rule change proposed by the SBA goes into effect.

Under the SBA’s proposal, a small business would be exempt from ostensible subcontractor affiliation with another small business for a small business set-aside contract, an 8(a) participant with another 8(a) participant for an 8(a) set-aside contract, and so on.

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GAO Task Order Jurisdiction: No Exception For “Bridge” Order

The GAO lacked jurisdiction to consider the protest of a “bridge” task order valued under $10 million, even though the original order related to the bridge exceeded the $10 million threshold.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that it had no legal basis to consider the value of the original order in determining whether it had jurisdiction to decide a protest related to a bridge order.

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