Veterans Business Conference at Fort Bliss, TX

Earlier this week, I was privileged to attend and present at the 14th Annual Veterans Business Conference. As always, the Contract Opportunities Center at El Paso Community College did a great job organizing the conference and connecting contractors with information they need to thrive. In the morning, I presented on size/affiliation issues and joint ventures and mentor protégé agreements. And at lunch, I spoke about various legal developments affecting small businesses. After that, the whole conference was treated to a motivational speech by Jack Tilley, a former Sergeant Major of the Army.

All in all, the conference was a grand success, and I am grateful for my involvement. My special thanks goes to Pablo Armendariz and Melissa Murphy for their invitation and their superb organizing efforts.

For 2020, DOL Raises Minimum Wage for Federal Contractors to $10.80

The Department of Labor annually increases the minimum wage for federal contractor employees in accordance with Executive Order 13658. It recently noticed, via the Federal Register, that the 2020 minimum wage for most of these employees will increase from $10.60 to $10.80. For tipped employees, the cash wage will increase from $7.40 to $7.55.

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COFC Strikes a Blow to VA-Verified VOSBs and SDVOSBs

A few months ago, GAO confirmed that where VA uses GPO as its buying agent, it still must to comply with the Rule of Two in 38 U.S.C. 8127(d) (see our blog post on the case ). After VA took corrective action, however, another bid protest was again filed, but this time in the Court of Federal Claims. Surprisingly, there, the Court concluded differently, finding that GPO was not required to set aside the procurement for SDVOSBs or VOSBs, despite acting on VA’s behalf. In so doing, it has weakened the Rule of Two.

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Contractors Must Prove Increased Costs Caused by a New Wage Determination

Under some federal government contracts, the contractor is required to pay its workers a wage dictated by a wage determination issued by DOL. But what if, during contract performance, DOL raises the applicable wages? Under the FAR, contractors can recover their increased costs. Naturally, however, contractors have to prove them.

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SDVOSB Start-Ups Continue to Face Obstacles to CVE Verification

Several years ago, we argued that VA’s rule, requiring a veteran to devote herself full time to an SDVOSB during normal working hours, unnecessarily handicapped SDVOSB start-ups seeking CVE verification. This same requirement–though now in a slightly different form–continues to impede new businesses from obtaining verification, a key credential for many SDVOSBs. Beyond that, CVE’s application of the managerial experience requirement also poses a potential hurdle for incipient SDVOSBs.

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Court Denies Protest of Procurement, Holds Dept. of Education Had Rational Basis

The Court of Federal Claims recently wrote that “[t]here is no such thing as a perfect procurement.” To anyone familiar with federal government contracts, this commentary states the obvious. But springing from the Court’s observation is another important reality: “a flawed procurement is not necessarily an illegal one.”

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