SmallGovCon Week In Review: July 27-31, 2015

With July almost over, we are looking forward to the remainder of the summer.  But even in the hottest weather, government contracting news never stops.  In this week’s SmallGovCon Week In Review, a new study pushes back at “bid protest hysteria,” Guy Timberlake continues his important discussion of federal agency classifications, CNN investigates alleged corruption in the AbilityOne program, and more.

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GAO: “Rule of Two” Market Research Must Examine Capabilities

When conducting market research to determine whether a small business set-aside is appropriate under the “rule of two,” a procuring agency must do more than determine whether multiple small businesses are likely to submit proposals–it must also make reasonable efforts to ascertain whether those small businesses are capable of performing the work.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that an agency had improperly issued a solicitation as a small business set-aside because the agency’s market research did not reasonably consider whether the identified small businesses were capable of performing the contract requirements.

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SmallGovCon Week In Review: July 20-24, 2015

I was on the road during the latter half of last week–first a stop in Columbia, Missouri for a workshop with the Missouri PTAC, and then on to the greater Chicago area, where I gave a presentation at a procurement conference.  My travels prevented me from getting SmallGovCon Week In Review posted on its usual Friday date, so here is a special Monday morning edition of government contracting news and commentary.

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Thank You, Illinois!

I am back in Lawrence after a trip to the greater Chicago area, where I spoke at The Next Level: Federal Contracting conference.

The conference was a great chance for experienced federal contractors to avoid beginning level seminars (“how to register in SAM” and so forth) and concentrate on information designed to help them take their government contracting businesses to the next level.  I was honored to be part of an all-star roster of speakers, including Tom Johnson and Alice Lipowicz of Set-Aside Alert, Richard Hernandez of, and Jamie Bratten of EZGovOpps.  My presentation focused on the SBA’s proposed new “universal” mentor-protege program.

Many thanks to Rita Haake and Amber Gardner of the Illinois PTAC at the College of DuPage for putting on this conference and inviting me to speak.  A big “thank you,” as well, to all of the contractors and industry professionals who attended the event, asked great questions, and seem poised to take full advantage of the new mentor-protege program.

Pass/Fail Past Performance Evaluation: No Comparison Required

Where a solicitation contemplated a “pass/fail” evaluation of past performance, and stated that an offeror without relevant past performance would nonetheless be rated “Acceptable,” there was no basis for the agency to compare the relative quality or amount of offerors’ past performance.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that the procuring agency properly refused to give the protester credit for its allegedly superior past performance because the pass/fail evaluation scheme did not allow for such a comparative evaluation.

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