The government’s use of two separate SDVOSB programs–with differing rules and requirements–has caused widespread confusion among the very veterans the programs were designed to assist.
Yesterday, I joined Francis Rose of Federal News Radio for a conversation about the government’s two SDVOSB programs. You can download my audio segment on the Federal News Radio website, and catch Francis every weekday from 4:00 to 7:00 p.m. Eastern on Federal News Radio.
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.
In the movies, the heroes are often loud and brash. But in real life, the heroes I know are, almost without fail, extraordinarily modest.
Veterans don’t tend to boast about their accomplishments on the battlefield, and they don’t expect sympathy for the sacrifices they made. Instead, they pursue their post-military careers with the same work ethic, determination and honor that are hallmarks of our military. It is little wonder that many of my most successful clients are veteran-owned small businesses.
Veterans are extraordinarily modest. They don’t ask for, or expect, a “thank you.” But that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve one. If you are a veteran, thank you very much for your service. If you are not a veteran, take a moment today to thank the veterans in your life.
To all, Happy Veterans Day.
The U.S. Court of Federal Claims has ordered the VA to pay attorneys’ fees to Miles Construction, LLC stemming from the Court’s February decision that the company’s ”right of first refusal” provision did not render it ineligible for the VA’s SDVOSB program.
In ordering the VA to pay attorneys’ fees, the Court held that the VA’s defense of its broad interpretation of “unconditional ownership” was not substantially justified–but also suggested that the Court might not reach the same result under the SBA’s SDVOSB rules.
A SDVOSB was improperly downgraded for not identifying its subcontractors in its proposal, according to a recent GAO bid protest decision.
In Coburn Contractors, LLC, B-408279.2 (Sept. 30, 2013), the GAO held that the VA improperly applied an unstated evaluation criterion by requiring that the protester identify its subcontractors, because according to the solicitation, a subcontractor list was only required at the task order level.
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.”
The “Center for Veterans Enterprise” is no more. Technically speaking, anyway.
Tucked away in today’s interim final rule on SDVOSB protests and appeals is a notation that the VA CVE has renamed itself the “Center for Verification and Evaluation.” According to the rule, the purpose of the new name is to “more accurately reflect the mission of this office which is to determine the status of SDVOSBs and VOSBs with respect to VA’s SDVOSB/VOSB set-aside acquisition program established by 38 U.S.C. 8127.”
As a practical matter, the name change will have no effect on SDVOSBs and VOSBs. But perhaps in connection with other positive developments this year–most notably, the pre-determination findings program–the “new” VA CVE will begin to improve its standing with frustrated veterans.