Thank You, Live Oak Bank & GMU!

I am back in Kansas after a whirlwind trip to Washington, DC where I was part of a fantastic governing contracting event sponsored by Live Oak Bank and George Mason  University.  My panel focused on the legal and practical issues that companies face when they grow out of their small business size standards–an important topic that doesn’t get nearly as much attention as it should.

Many thanks to Jackie Robinson-Burnette, Erin Andrew, Tess Mackey, Jerry McGinn and everyone else who planned and coordinated this event.  Thanks also to my fellow panelists, Gloria Larkin and Rosetta Rodwell–and to everyone who asked questions and stuck around afterwards to chat–for a great discussion about government contracts. And a big thank you to the chefs at Ray’s the Steaks, where I had dinner for the first time in about six years.  Tasty as ever!

Next on my travel agenda: New Orleans, where I’ll be attending the 2018 National Veterans Small Business Engagement and SAME Small Business Conference.  Hope to see you there!

ASBCA: Claim Must Include Request for “Final Decision”

As readers of this blog might know, the government contracts claims process is set by statute and includes a number of requirements, such as being certified if the dollar amount is over $100,000.

But a possibly lesser-known requirement is that, in order to be valid, a claim must request that the contracting officer issue a “final decision” on the claim. In a recent decision, the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals opined on this requirement.

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Get Your Novation Before Filing a Bid Protest with GAO

Only an “interested party” can bring a GAO bid protest. This generally means that a protester must be “an actual or prospective bidder or offeror” with a “direct economic interest” in the contract’s award.

You might ask: is there such a thing as an offeror without a direct economic interest in the outcome of the contract award? It can happen–and a novation may be relevant. In a recent case, GAO held that a pending novation meant that the protester didn’t meet the standard necessary to file a protest.

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Federal Judge Suggests Congressional “Kill Switch” For Kingdomware SDVOSB Preferences

In a strongly-worded opinion, a federal judge decried a “labyrinth of legal and regulatory hoops and hurdles” imposed on the VA as a result of the famous Kingdomware Supreme Court decision–and suggested that Congress could exercise a “kill switch” to curtail or even eliminate the SDVOSB and VOSB contracting preferences the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed.

While I have no reason to suspect that Kingdomware is in any danger of being overturned or curtailed by Congress, its certainly not great news for SDVOSBs and VOSBs that a federal judge seems to be pushing for that very thing.

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GAO Reviews Agency Actions in the Wake of Equifax Data Breach

It’s easy to forget that roughly a year ago, Equifax was hacked, which compromised the personal information of roughly 145.5 million individuals. The scope of the breach was concerning for a number of reasons, not the least of which was the fact that Equifax was providing identity verification services for three federal agencies at the time it was attacked.

In a recent report, GAO reviewed how these agencies responded to the attack. While not making any specific recommendations at this time, GAO’s report does highlight the extent to which federal agencies were not fully prepared for cyberattacks on private contractors.

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New Consolidated SDVOSB Eligibility Requirements: the Good, the Bad, and the Downright Ugly

New, consolidated SDVOSB eligibility regulations kicked in on October 1.  The new regulations replace the old VA and SBA rules, which provided separate eligibility standards for SDVOSBs.

Veterans have long been confused by the fact that the Government operated two separate SDVOSB programs, each with its own standards.  The consolidated rule will eliminate that confusion, and that’s a very good thing.  There are also several other pieces of the new SDVOSB eligibility rule that veterans should like–but also some that aren’t so great, or that require further clarification as to how they’ll be applied.

My colleague Matt Schoonover provided a broader overview of the new regulations earlier last week.  Now it’s time for me to get on my soapbox.  Without further ado, here’s my list of the good, bad, and the downright ugly from the new SDVOSB regulations.

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