Protesting IDIQ Solicitation Ambiguities at the Task Order Level? Too Late, Says GAO

Patent ambiguities present in the solicitation for an Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity procurement must be protested prior to the close of proposal submission for the base contract—waiting to protest at the task order level may be too late.

A recent GAO decision shows that when an IDIQ solicitation contains an obvious ambiguity, the rule is “speak now or forever hold your peace.” By the time task order competitions get rolling, the chance to protest will likely be gone.

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SmallGovCon Week In Review: October 9-13, 2017

My heart rate has finally come down after the exciting finish to Game Five of the Cubs-Nationals playoff series last night.  I caught the first few innings waiting for my flight in Salt Lake City, and the game (which clocked in at more than 4 1/2 hours) was still going when I landed in Kansas City a couple hours later.  Thanks in part to the magic of instant replay, my Cubs were victorious, and will continue their World Series title defense against the Dodgers this weekend.

Clearly, my mind is on sports–but I’m also closely watching developments in government contracts.  In this week’s SmallGovCon Week In Review, the GAO reminds agencies that they have the power to override the automatic stay, the SBA updates the WOSB/EDWOSB NAICS codes, a bill to improve the SBIR and STTR programs passes the House unanimously, and much more.

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Wrong File Format? No Problem, Says GAO (At Least This Time)

Ahh, fall. A time for football, hay rides, and returning to campus. Being in a college town, we are always reminded that students are back on campus due to the increased traffic, the homecoming parade, and the increased buzz (no pun intended) around the town. The onset of fall sometimes dredges up unwanted memories about turning in term papers and meeting all the inane requirements insisted upon by the professor.

A recent GAO opinion also brought me back to my college days. Specifically, what happens when the government (kind of like a college professor) sets a requirement for a certain type of file format for a solicitation, but the offeror submits a proposal in a different file format?  A recent GAO opinion answers that question in the contractor’s favor–although GAO’s ruling isn’t a blanket permission slip for contractors to ignore file format requirements.

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Thank You, Utah!

I am back from a great trip to Salt Lake City, where I spoke at the Utah PTAC Symposium.  My talk at the symposium centered on prime/subcontractor teams and joint ventures–topics of ever-increasing interest for small and large contractors alike.

It was wonderful to see so many clients and old friends at the Symposium and meet so many new people, too.  A big “thank you” to Chuck Spence and his team at the Utah PTAC for organizing this event and inviting me to speak.  And thank you, also, to everyone who attended my seminar and stopped by the Koprince Law LLC booth to talk about government contracts.

I’ll be sticking around Kansas for a few weeks, although I’ll be making a short trip down to Wichita on Tuesday to give a half-day session on the SBA’s All Small Mentor-Protege Program, sponsored by the Kansas PTAC.  If you’re a Kansas contractor, I hope to see you there.

How Joint Ventures Really Work: My “Game Changers” Podcast

Ah, joint ventures.  Few topics in government contracting these days seem to cause as much confusion.  And that’s due, in large part, to some common misunderstandings I hear repeated over and over.

Recently, I joined host Michael LeJeune on the “Game Changers” podcast to talk about some of the most common areas of confusion regarding joint ventures.  What is the relationship between joint ventures and the SBA’s new All-Small Mentor-Protege Program?  How do the rules for joint venture work share operate?  What are some frequent mistakes companies make when they draft joint venture agreements?  And so on.

My podcast is available now on the Federal Access website.  Click here to give it a listen, and while you’re there, check out the many other great podcasts featuring a range of government contracts thought leaders.

GAO: Navy Cannot Order Items Not Listed on Vendor’s FSS Schedule

Like many, I enjoy a good meal out on the town. I tend to order strictly from the menu without any additions or substitutions. Perhaps, it is from all my years of waitressing prior to attending law school. In a recent GAO decision, however, the Navy attempted to order items not on the vendor’s menu only to have GAO determine that the order was beyond the scope of that menu.

In Bluewater Management Group, LLC, B-414785, Bluewater protested the Navy’s award of lodging and transportation services to DMC Management Services, LLC, alleging the award was improper because DMC’s GSA Schedule contract did not include transportation services.

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SmallGovCon Week In Review: October 2-6, 2017

The baseball playoffs are back, and tonight I’ll be watching my Cubs begin their quest for back-to-back titles.  (If you’re not a lifelong Cubs fan, you may not realize how strange it feels to write that previous sentence).

Before the games begin, it’s time for our weekly dose of government contracting news.  In this week’s edition of the SmallGovCon Week in Review, the DOJ charges four men with participating in a bribery and kickback conspiracy, the GAO publishes a report finding that many contracts weren’t closed on time, a court reverses a contractor’s debarment, and more.

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