GovCon Voices: What the Government Wants, What It Really Really Wants

According to USASpending.gov, the government spent $472,158,562,285 last year through contracting for services and products with large and small companies nationwide. This was a $34 billion increase over the previous year, and 2017 is anticipating another increase, especially in Department of Defense spending. None of the noted totals include entitlements, grants or non-contract obligations.

The real questions most contractors ask are what does the government really want, and how does it decide who wins what contract?

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Limitations On Subcontracting: FAR Change In The Works

It’s been more than a year since the SBA issued a final rule overhauling the limitations on subcontracting for small business contracts.  The SBA’s rule, now codified at 13 C.F.R. 125.6, changes the formulas for calculating compliance with the limitations on subcontracting, and allows small businesses to take credit for work performed by similarly situated subcontractors.

But the FAR’s corresponding clauses have yet to be changed, and this has led to a lot of confusion about which rule applies–especially since many contracting officers abide by the legally-dubious proposition that “if it ain’t in the FAR, it doesn’t count.”  Now, finally, there is some good news: the FAR Council is moving forward with a proposed rule to align the FAR with the SBA’s regulations.

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SmallGovCon Welcomes Jennifer Tucker

I am very pleased to announce that Jennifer Tucker has joined our team of authors here at SmallGovCon.  Jennifer is an associate attorney at Koprince Law LLC, where her practice focuses on federal government contracts law.  Before joining Koprince Law LLC, Jennifer practiced contracts law with the Kansas Department of Transportation and the University of Kansas.  Jennifer also had the fortune (or is that misfortune?) of being classmates with a certain other government contracts attorney in the 2015 Leadership Lawrence program.

You can check out Jennifer’s biography on the Koprince Law LLC website, and her first SmallGovCon post (about the GAO’s very strict rules for electronic proposals) right here.  Be sure to check back regularly for more legal news and notes from Jennifer and our other great SmallGovCon authors.

27 Percent Of DoD Mentor-Protege Agreements Are Deficient, GAO Says

The GAO estimates that 27 percent of DoD mentor-protege agreements are deficient.

In a comprehensive new report, the GAO says that many active DoD mentor-protege agreements are missing basic (and necessary) information, like the protege’s primary NAICS code.  Also missing, in some cases: the parties’ signatures.

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SBA Publishes List Of Active All Small Mentor-Protege Agreements

The SBA has published a list of active All Small mentor-protege agreements.  The list, which is available on the SBA’s website, is dated April 5, 2017.  It’s not clear how often the SBA intends to update the list.

The April 5 list reveals that there are approximately 90 active All Small mentor-protege agreements, covering a wide variety of primary industry classifications.  All major socioeconomic categories (small business, 8(a), SDVOSB, HUBZone, EDWOSB and WOSB) are represented.

There’s no reason why mentor-protege pairings should be a secret.  Kudos to the SBA for publishing the list, which will be useful to contracting officers and industry alike (as well as those of us who are simply curious by nature).

Missing JV Agreement Sinks Offeror’s Proposal

A small business joint venture’s proposal was excluded from the competition because the joint venture failed to submit a signed copy of its joint venture agreement, as required by the solicitation.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that the procuring agency acted properly in excluding the joint venture’s proposal, even though the joint venture’s price was more than $300,000 lower than the lowest-priced awardee’s.

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GAO Report Highlights Recent Trends In Government Contracting

Earlier this month, the GAO  released a comprehensive report detailing the trends in government contracting over a five-year period (from fiscal year 2011 through 2015). The entire report is available here. If you have a few hours to spare, it’s worth a read; if not, this post will summarize a few of its most eye-catching nuggets.

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