Thank You, Alliance Northwest!

I am at the tail end of a great visit to the Pacific Northwest, where I spoke yesterday at the Alliance Northwest procurement conference.  My presentation focused on the many recent legal changes (and proposed changes) affecting small contractors, including SBA proposals on the limitations on subcontracting and a new “universal” SBA mentor-protege program.

Many thanks to the organizers of this wonderful event, which gets bigger and better every year.  Special thanks to Tiffany Scroggs, Stephanie Scott, Traci Hansen and their colleagues at the Washington PTAC for all of their hard work on the conference, and a big thank you to Ashley Coronado of the Washington PTAC for facilitating my session (including flawless pronunciation of “Petefish, Immel, Heeb & Hird.”)  And of course, a big “thank you” to everyone who attended my presentation and stopped by to visit on the trade show floor.

It’s a year away, but I certainly plan to be back in Washington next year for the 2016 Alliance Northwest event.  In the meantime, if you weren’t able to attend this year, I would be happy to send you my slides–please just contact me.

GAO: No Set-Aside Challenge After Proposal Due Date

A prospective contractor has the right to file a GAO bid protest challenging an agency’s refusal to set aside a solicitation for small businesses–but only if the protest is filed before the proposal deadline.

In a recent protest decision, the GAO applied the longstanding rule that “alleged improprieties in a solicitation that are apparent prior to the closing time for receipt of initial proposals be filed before that time,” and held that an agency’s failure to issue a set-aside is an “alleged impropriety” to which the timeliness rule applies.

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Non-Manufacturer Rule: Foreign-Made Products Didn’t Qualify

A contractor did not qualify as a small business under the non-manufacturer rule where it proposed to sell foreign-made products–even though the contractor itself was well below the solicitation’s 500-employee size standard.

In a recent decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals held that a contractor was ineligible to be awarded a small business set-aside contract for manufactured products because the products were to be manufactured in Turkey.

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8(a)’s Unapproved Mentor-Protege Arrangement Leads To Affiliation

An 8(a) small business was found to be affiliated with its large subcontractor under the ostensible subcontractor rule based in part on the fact that the large subcontractor was providing mentoring services to the small business–even though the SBA had rejected a proposed mentor-protege agreement between the companies.

The recent decision of the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals in Size Appeal of Brown & Pipkins LLC, SBA No. SIZ-5621 (2014) is a warning to 8(a) firms about the potential dangers of accepting mentoring services outside the confines of a SBA-approved mentor-protege agreement.

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GAO: Email Filings Must Timely Arrive At Official Address

When bid protest document is emailed to the GAO, the document must timely arrive at the GAO’s official protest email address (protests@gao.gov), or the document is not timely filed.

As one protester recently learned the hard way, a GAO protest filing cannot be accomplished by emailing a protest document to any other email address–including the individual “gao.gov” email address of the GAO attorney handling the protest.

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8(a) Program: “Honest Mistake” Not Grounds For Termination

An honest mistake made in a company’s 8(a) Program application may not support termination of the company from the 8(a) Program.

In a recent decision, the SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals held that the SBA could not validly terminate an 8(a) participant for submitting false information in the 8(a) application because the SBA had not considered whether the 8(a) participant honestly, and reasonably, believed that she was not required to report the information.

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