The standoff between the VA and the GAO over the VA’s use of the Federal Supply Schedule without putting “Veterans First” continues. This week, Michigan-based Aldevra–the SDVOSB company at the center of the battle–won another bid protest at the GAO.
We’ve all been down this road before, so I’ll make this post brief. In Aldevra, B-406774 et al. (Aug. 21, 2012), Aldevra filed a GAO bid protest, challenging the terms of eight separate VA solicitations for miscellaneous kitchen equipment for VA Medical and Health Care Centers. In each case, Aldevra alleged that the VA improperly failed to conduct market research to determine whether the procurements should be set-aside for SDVOSBs before procuring the equipment from the Federal Supply Schedule.
The VA admitted that it did not conduct the market research, and presumably repeated its now-longstanding position that it need not put “Veterans First” before using the Federal Supply Schedule.
In a brief opinion, the GAO sustained the protest. It stated that the issues were no different than previously presented in Aldevra, B-406205 (Mar. 14, 2012) and Aldevra, B-405271 (Oct. 11, 2011). The GAO again concluded that the VA had violated the law by failing to conduct SDVOSB set-aside market research before using the Federal Supply Schedule.
In October, we will reach the one-year anniversary of the initial Aldevra decision, with no end of this stalemate in sight. Aldevra is to be commended for keeping this issue alive and in the public eye through its repeated GAO protests, but it is readily apparent that the VA will not change its tune until it is forced to do so by the courts or Congress. Let’s hope that happens soon.