DoD Proposes Aligning DFARS 8(a) Nonmanufacturer Rule with Existing SBA Regulations

The DoD recently issued proposed revisions to the DFARS 8(a) nonmanufacturer rule, found in 48 C.F.R. § 252.219-7010. The proposed revisions would update the admittedly “outdated text regarding the nonmanufacturer rule with updated text” that reflects SBA’s May 2016 final rule implementing the Fiscal Year 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.

While the changes are only for 8(a) concerns, the differences between the existing DFARS and proposed change are significant nonetheless.

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Losing Key Owners of SBA Set-Aside Businesses – Now Out in Contract Management Magazine

Clients who own businesses under one of SBA’s socioeconomic designations have often asked us, what happens after I’m gone? Meaning, if the key owner becomes incapacitated or dies, what happens to the set-aside designation for future contracts and ongoing contracts, and are there restrictions on transferring the ownership interest?

While we can’t answer all their questions, my recent article in the March 2019 issue of Contract Management Magazine (the monthly publication of the National Contract Management Association), outlines some of the key issues and answers from the government contracting perspective.

The magazine has nicely allowed us to reprint the article. Click here to read!

GAO Faults Contractor for General Manager’s Sickness

When an incumbent contractor’s general manager got sick and had to quit, the contractor promptly found a replacement, which the agency approved. But there was still one problem: the incumbent had already proposed to use the same general manager for the next contract.

According to GAO, the agency was right to eliminate the contractor from the competition, even though the agency knew that the contractor had a new general manager and had, in fact, approved the replacement.

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SBA Didn’t Properly Justify 8(a) Termination, Says Court

SBA’s regulations provide that an 8(a) program participant that no longer is owned or controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged person can be terminated from the 8(a) program. But the decision to terminate is not one to be made lightly: SBA must make sure that it not only has evidence in support of its termination decision, it must also explain how that evidence demonstrates its conclusions.

This requirement was at issue in a recent court decision that found an SBA 8(a) program termination decision to be based on “numerous erroneous assumptions” and “unsupported conclusions, not substantial evidence.”

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SBA “Adverse Impact” Analysis Not Required For Large Business

The SBA was not required to conduct an “adverse impact” analysis before placing a procurement under the 8(a) program because the company requesting the adverse impact analysis was not a small business under the incumbent contract.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that the incumbent contractor–which, according to the SBA, had violated the ostensible subcontractor affiliation rule–was not entitled to insist on an adverse impact analysis.

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NAICS Code Appeals Allowed On 8(a) Set-Asides, Says SBA OHA

A NAICS code appeal can be filed even after a SBA District Office accepts the procurement for competition in the 8(a) Business Development (BD) Program.

In a recent decision, SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals rejected the argument that acceptance of a procurement into the 8(a) Program results in the approval of the NAICS code assigned to that procurement, thus preventing subsequent NAICS code appeals.  Had SBA OHA reached the opposite conclusion, the decision might have effectively excluded 8(a) contracts from the reach of traditional NAICS code appeals.

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8(a) Subcontracting Limitations: Compliance Oversight Lacking

Compliance with the limitations on subcontracting are not adequately being monitored by the contracting officers responsible for 8(a) contracts, according to a recent GAO report.

After reviewing a representative sample of ten 8(a) contracts, the GAO determined that contracting officers effectively monitored subcontracting limit compliance on two of those contracts.  In other cases, agency contracting officers failed to effectively monitor compliance, even in situations presenting a heightened risk of potential violations–such as where ineligible incumbents were serving as subcontractors.

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