The VA will “immediately comply with the Court’s decision” in Kingdomware Technologies, Inc. v. United States, according to a top VA official.
In written testimony offered in advance of a Senate committee hearing tomorrow, the Executive Director of the VA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization tells Congress that the VA will work to implement the Kingdomware decision, including by improving its market research processes.
In his testimony, Executive Director Thomas J. Leney states that his office has “already engaged VA’s acquisition workforce with new guidance, focusing most urgently on procurements currently in progress, but not yet awarded.” Unfortunately, however, Mr. Leney doesn’t specify what guidance the acquisition workforce has been given regarding ongoing procurements; hopefully that’s something that the Committee members will be able to flesh out at the oral hearing.
Mr. Leney devotes much of his written testimony to pledges to strengthen the VA’s market research processes to identify qualified SDVOSBs and VOSBs. “This means,” he writes, “market research must consist of more than merely finding firms in a particular industry code listed in the System for Award Management.” Mr. Leney explains that VA Contracting Officers “can make better use of Requests of Information, or RFIs, for data-driven decision making.” Additionally, Contracting Officers “need to meet with procurement-ready VOSBs to understand their capabilities and what they are already accomplishing.”
Mr. Leney concludes his written testimony by stating, “embracing the Court’s decision in Kingdomware . . . improves the Veteran experience, both as Veteran small business owners and as Veteran customers receiving the health care and benefits they have earned and deserve.”
Mr. Leney won’t be the only one testifying at tomorrow’s hearing. LaTonya Barton of Kingdomware Technologies will also go before the Senate. In her written testimony, Ms. Barton states:
We hope the VA takes the Supreme Court decision and Rule of Two mandate seriously and diligently works to implement it. We have already lost almost ten years. It is time for the VA to stop looking for loopholes and to redirect that energy into making the mandate work.
Hopefully, Mr. Leney’s comments reflect a genuine change of heart on the VA’s part, and a commitment to truly “embrace” Kingdomware, as Ms. Barton hopes. Time will tell.