8(a)’s Unapproved Mentor-Protege Arrangement Leads To Affiliation

An 8(a) small business was found to be affiliated with its large subcontractor under the ostensible subcontractor rule based in part on the fact that the large subcontractor was providing mentoring services to the small business–even though the SBA had rejected a proposed mentor-protege agreement between the companies.

The recent decision of the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals in Size Appeal of Brown & Pipkins LLC, SBA No. SIZ-5621 (2014) is a warning to 8(a) firms about the potential dangers of accepting mentoring services outside the confines of a SBA-approved mentor-protege agreement.

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8(a) Program: “Honest Mistake” Not Grounds For Termination

An honest mistake made in a company’s 8(a) Program application may not support termination of the company from the 8(a) Program.

In a recent decision, the SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals held that the SBA could not validly terminate an 8(a) participant for submitting false information in the 8(a) application because the SBA had not considered whether the 8(a) participant honestly, and reasonably, believed that she was not required to report the information.

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Joint Ventures: SBA Proposes Major Changes

The SBA has proposed major changes to rules governing joint venturing for set-aside contracts.

As part of a proposed rule released last week, the SBA proposes to eliminate so-called “populated” joint ventures, and proposes additional changes regarding joint venture certifications, performance of work reports, and more.

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Mentor-Protege For All: SBA Proposes “Universal” Mentor-Protege Program

The SBA has proposed to establish a government-wide mentor-protege program available to all small businesses.

In a proposed rule released yesterday, the SBA proposed to establish a single, “universal” mentor-protege program, open to all small businesses, not just those with certain socioeconomic designations.  And critically, the SBA’s proposed mentor-protege program would allow SBA-approved mentor-protege joint ventures to qualify as “small” for any federal government prime contract or subcontract–a benefit currently available only to 8(a) companies.

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Spring 2015 Travel: WA, CO & IA

Although it doesn’t feel like it yet, spring is on the way.  For me, that means that it’s almost time to hit the road for some government contracts conferences and industry events.

This spring, my travels will take me to Washington State, Colorado, and Iowa for events I am really looking forward to attending.

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GAO: “Mechanical” Cost Realism Evaluation Was Improper

An agency’s cost realism evaluation was improper because the agency “mechanically” compared an offeror’s proposed staffing to an undisclosed government estimate.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that it was improper for the agency to apply its own estimates for labor hours and costs without considering the protester’s unique technical approach.

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Task Order Size Status Based On Proposal Date, Not Award Date

A contractor was eligible for award of a small business set-aside task order because the contractor was “small” as of the date of its task order proposal–even though the contractor outgrew the size standard by the time the task order was awarded.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that a contractor may qualify for the award of a set-aside task order based on the date of its initial proposal, even in cases where the agency is prohibited from taking small business credit for the award.

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