SmallGovCon Week in Review: November 26-30 , 2018

Thanksgiving has come and gone, so that means holiday season is upon us! It was a balmy 62 degrees here in Kansas on Turkey Day, and 48 hours later we were in the middle of a blizzard. Gotta love Kansas weather!

Stuffed full of turkey and snowed in, we had some time to catch up on what’s been happening in the government contracting world. In this two-week edition of SmallGovCon, we’ll look at GSA’s proposed consolidation to its schedule contracts, a DOL hiring discrimination dispute, Amazon’s role in the federal marketplace, and more.

Have a great weekend!

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Size Protest Was Untimely Because CO Did Not Require Size Recertification

Let’s suppose that you, a small business, were previously awarded a long-term contract set aside for small businesses. But over the past few years, business has been good and you’ve outgrown the size standard assigned to the contract. Can you still be awarded a task order under the contract? Yes–if the contracting officer doesn’t require you to recertify your size in connection with the task order request, and no contract-specific terms–like mandatory off-ramps–say otherwise.

This important principle recently played out in DNT Solutions, LLC et al., SBA No. SIZ-5962 (2018).

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Alert! House Committee Proposes Ending SDVOSB Self-Certification

SmallGovCon readers know that the federal government currently operates two SDVOSB socio-economic designations: a VA-specific program (that requires the business to be verified by the VA’s Center for Verification and Evaluation), and a program through the SBA (that allows the business to self-certify).

These dual programs have been the source of confusion among SDVOSBs. Thankfully, relief might be on the way, as the House Small Business Committee has introduced legislation to consolidate SDVOSB verification under the SBA.

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SBA OHA: Contracting Officer’s Termination Decision Won’t Change Size Appeal Deadline

Following a size determination, any person adversely affected by that determination may file an appeal with the SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals. To be timely, the appeal has to be filed within 15 calendar days from the date the person receives the determination. If not timely-filed, the appeal will be dismissed.

This 15-day deadline is strict. The OHA doesn’t have the power to extend it, even if good reason exists to do so. In fact, the OHA’s recent decision in Sentient Digital, Inc. dba Entrust Government Solutions, SBA No. SIZ-5963 (2018) makes clear that this deadline applies even when an agency changes its decision to terminate a contract following an adverse size determination.

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The Mysterious Case of the Missing SBA Women-Owned Small Business Certification Program

On December 19, 2014, then-President Obama signed the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act into law.  The 2015 NDAA eliminated the statutory basis for federal agencies to award women-owned small business set-aside contracts to self-certified companies.  In essence, then, the 2015 NDAA effectively eliminated WOSB self-certification.

Flash forward almost four years, and the SBA has not yet implemented a WOSB certification program.  In fact, the SBA hasn’t even proposed rules to implement such a program.  Instead, although the SBA continues to license a few third-party certifiers, the SBA also continues to say that WOSBs “can self-certify directly at certify.sba.gov by answering questions and uploading documents.”

So where the heck is the mysteriously missing SBA WOSB certification program?  And is it even legal for the SBA to continue allowing WOSB self-certification?

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I Fought the Law, and the Law Won? Standing Issues Prevent Claim of Agency’s Rulebreaking

As we discussed in July 2017, Timberline Helicopters, Inc. has been involved in ongoing litigation regarding the Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management’s (a.k.a. “BLM”) procurement of helicopter flight services to aid in fire-fighting and fire-suppression missions, services essential now more than ever.

Most recently, in Timberline Helicopters, Inc. v. United States, No. 18-1474C (Fed. Cl. Nov. 14, 2018), the Court of Federal Claims held that Timberline no longer had standing to bring its claims.

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