8(a) Program Improvements Needed, Says SBA OIG

8(a) Program improvements are needed to allow more disadvantaged firms to receive 8(a) contracts, according to a recent report issued by the SBA Office of Inspector General.

In its report, the SBA OIG credits the SBA with positive steps taken to improve the 8(a) Program, but says that more must be done to ensure that 8(a) business development assistance reaches more 8(a) Program participants.

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Past Performance: Agency Need Not Seek Updated Information At Source Selection

Once an agency has completed its past performance evaluation it is not required to seek updated past performance information from offerors.

As demonstrated in a recent GAO bid protest decision, an agency may rely on the most recent past performance information available at the time of evaluation, and is not required to seek more recent information at the time of the source selection.

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GAO Bid Protests: Gold Coast Presentation Now Available

GAO bid protests were the focus of my presentation at this year’s Navy Gold Coast conference in San Diego.  If you weren’t able to make it to Gold Coast in August, I have good news: the conference organizers have made all of this year’s presentations available online, free of charge.

My GAO bid protest presentation covers the GAO’s jurisdiction, who can file a protest, the timeliness rules, how the protest process works, protest outcomes, success rates, and more.  To view my Gold Coast presentation on GAO bid protests, just follow this link.  And don’t forget to check out the other great presentations from this year’s Gold Coast conference, too.

8(a) Program: Accent, Lack of English Proficiency Not Evidence of Bias

A Bulgarian immigrant’s thick accent and lack of English proficiency were not evidence of bias, and did not support the immigrant’s 8(a) Program application.

In a recent 8(a) Program decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals expressed sympathy for the language difficulties many immigrants face, but held that such difficulties, by themselves, do not constitute evidence of “social disadvantage” for 8(a) Program purposes because the 8(a) Program requires a showing of bias or prejudice.

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GovConChat: The CVE, WOSB Sole Sources, GSA Schedule, & More

My friend Guy Timberlake of the American Small Business Coalition has launched GovConChat, which Guy described as a “candid and informative conversation with movers, shakers and thought-leaders from around the federal contracting community.”

Earlier this week, I joined Guy for a GovConChat segment.  We discussed several major changes that could be implemented as a result of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, as well as a recent court case holding that an offeror did not qualify for a GSA Schedule task order when the offeror’s affiliate (but not the offeror itself) held a GSA Schedule contract.  You can listed to our entire chat by following this link.

GovConChat is a great new resource to help contractors obtain perspectives from across the industry.  Go check it out, and let me know if there is a particular blog post–or other government contracts legal issue–that you would like to hear me discuss in a future segment.

8(a) Fraud: Guilty Plea In Pass-Through Case

A California man faces up to 20 years in prison after pleading guilty to 8(a) fraud charges.

According to a Department of Justice press release, Wesley Burnett admitted that his non-8(a) companies performed all of the work required under various 8(a) set-aside contracts.  And if the pass-through scheme wasn’t enough, Burnett also admitted to falsely self-certifying his companies as SDVOSBs and SDBs, resulting in additional unjustified contract awards.

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VA CVE Improperly Disqualified SDVOSB, Says Federal Court

SDVOSBs—and basic fairness and common sense—were big winners in a recent decision issued by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

In its decision, the Court held that the VA’s Center for Verification and Evaluation violated the law when it disqualified a SDVOSB, without giving the SDVOSB the opportunity to contest the reasons for the disqualification. In an opinion reminiscent of last year’s landmark Miles Construction case, the Court then held that the CVE’s substantive reasons for the disqualification were arbitrary and unreasonable.
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