Perhaps no single aspect of federal government contracting causes more confusion than the fact that the government currently runs two SDVOSB programs: one under the VA’s rules and the other under the SBA’s.
The current system can lead to inconsistent results, such as a company being a “SDVOSB” for purposes of VA contracts, but not those issued by other agencies (or vice versa). As SmallGovCon readers know, I am on record as stating that the “two SDVOSB programs” approach is idiotic and ought to be scrapped. (Okay, maybe I wasn’t on record with the word “idiotic” before. I guess I am now.)
But while I cross my fingers and hope that Congress will simplify things, SDVOSBs are stuck with the current system. And, as a recent SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals case demonstrates, SDVOSBs should be aware of the important differences between the two SDVOSB programs.
A SBA size determination issued in 2007 was not binding on the question of whether the same company was still small in 2013.
According to a recent decision of the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals, there is no rule providing that an SBA Area Office must follow its own prior size determination. Rather, an SBA Area Office is free to issue a size determination contradicting its own prior ruling.
A service-disabled veteran, who owned 80% of this business and served as its highest officer, “controlled” the company within the meaning of the SBA’s SDVOSB regulations, according to a recent decision of the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals.
SBA OHA’s commonsense decision overturned an earlier SBA determination that the veteran’s majority ownership and officer position did not amount to “control.”
A participant in the SBA’s 8(a) program must obtain the SBA’s prior approval before switching its business structure–or else.
Case in point: recently, an 8(a) participant was terminated from the 8(a) program because it switched its corporate structure from a corporation to a limited liability company without the SBA’s prior approval.
When it comes to the SBA’s ostensible subcontractor rule, managing a contract, by itself, is not enough to avoid affiliation.
As demonstrated in a recent decision of the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals, a small business and its subcontractor violate the ostensible subcontractor rule whenever the subcontractor will perform the primary and vital work required under the prime contract–even if the small business will perform the management function.
The SBA’s claim that it could not access information provided by an 8(a) program applicant in DVD format was “not credible,” according to a recent 8(a) program appeal ruling issued by the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals.
In Sunrise Staffing, SBA No. BDPE-499 (2013), the SBA OHA–in an unusually sharply-worded opinion–rejected the SBA’s excuses for not reviewing relevant information provided by the 8(a) program applicant, and granted the applicant’s 8(a) appeal.
An 8(a) firm’s failure to actively pursue its business has caused the SBA to terminate the firm from the 8(a) program.
Upholding the termination, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals noted that if an 8(a) firm’s fails to make substantial and sustained efforts to obtain business, the SBA is justified in kicking the firm out of the 8(a) program.