Under FAR Part 16 Task Order Solicitation, Agency Can Establish Competitive Range Without Notification

Under FAR Part 15 negotiated procurements, an agency must give notice and an opportunity to request a debriefing to offerors eliminated from the competitive range. But the notice requirement does not apply for task and delivery order procurements under FAR Part 16 where FAR Part 15 is inapplicable.

A recent GAO decision highlights this distinction.

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GAO Fends Off ‘Killer Tomato’ Protest

I always knew my legal career would some day overlap with my love of terrible movies, before-they-were-stars trivia, and naval warfare. Today is that day.

When I saw that GAO had dismissed a “killer tomato” protest, several things came to mind. First, I thought, wait, are they talking about “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes“? Then I though, wait, wasn’t George Clooney in that—and didn’t he have a terrible 80’s mullet? Naturally, my curiosity got the best of me. I clicked.

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SBA Mentor-Protégé Joint Ventures: Even GAO Appears a Tad Confused

The SBA’s All Small Mentor-Protégé program offers a tremendous opportunity for participants to pursue set-aside contracts as joint venture partners.  But misunderstandings and misconceptions about how SBA mentor-protégé joint ventures work are pervasive.

One very common misconception is that the SBA must pre-approve a mentor-protégé joint venture.  In most cases, that’s not so.  In a recent bid protest decision, even the GAO appeared a little confused, repeatedly mentioning SBA approval of a joint venture even though no such approval was required for the contract in question.

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GAO: Competition Alone Doesn’t Mean Prices are Reasonable

When the federal government awards a contract, the government must ensure that the price it pays is “fair and reasonable.”  In other words, the government cannot pay a price that is too high.

If a contract is awarded on the basis of competitive proposals, an agency may be able to establish price reasonableness by comparing the prices proposed by competing offerors.  But as demonstrated in a recent GAO bid protest decision, competition alone doesn’t mean that the prices received are reasonable–the government still must compare offerors’ prices to determine reasonableness.

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GAO: WOSB Set-Asides and Sole Sources are Discretionary, not Mandatory

Historically, Uncle Sam has struggled to meet its WOSB contracting goals. It wasn’t until 2015, in fact, that the government first met its WOSB contracting goal and, since then, has continued to struggle to meet it.

Thankfully, agencies are authorized to use set-asides and sole-source awards to increase WOSB participation. But as a recent GAO decision shows, an agency isn’t required to use either procedure.

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GAO Recommends Successful Protester Be Placed in MATOC Pool

Multiple-award task-order contracts are becoming an increasingly common feature of government contracting, and many carry very high ceiling values. This places participation in MATOC awards at a premium.

Unsurprisingly, base MATOC awards are being protested with some frequency before GAO. In a recent decision, GAO provided a unique solution for sustaining MATOC protests without causing substantial disruptions: simply adding the successful protester to the pool.

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Protester Must Wait for Conclusion of Extended Debriefing to Protest, Says GAO

As those familiar with government contracts are undoubtedly aware, ensuring a bid protest is timely filed with GAO is a paramount consideration. GAO takes a particularly dim view of protests not filed in accordance with its timeliness regulations, which can encourage parties to file a protest as quickly as possible. As GAO recently explained, however, in the context of extended debriefings, there is such a thing as filing too soon.

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