Eagle Eye: Government May Slip a Sole-Source Award Past an Unaware Contractor

Contractors would be wise to keep a close watch on FedBizOpps.gov, otherwise they run the risk missing the chance to protest a sole source award.

When an agency decides to make an award without competition, it often must publish a Justification and Approval (referred to simply as a “J&A”) on FedBizOpps explaining why a competition would not meet the agency’s needs. A potential competitor seeking to protest such an award at the GAO must file the protest before 10 days have passed from publication of the J&A, otherwise the protest may be untimely. A competitor that is not paying attention could be out of luck.

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SmallGovCon Week In Review: March 6-10, 2017

I am headed back to Kansas after a great trip out west to speak at the 2017 Alliance Northwest Procurement Conference in Puyallup, WA. It was great seeing many familiar faces and meeting many other new ones. But I won’t be home long: I will be off to fabulous Las Vegas for the National RES Conference, where I’ll be presenting on Monday. If you will be at RES, please be sure to connect.

Even with all of this travel, I’ve been keeping a close eye on government contracting news–and that means that it’s time for the SmallGovCon Week In Review. In this week’s edition, scammers are using the HHS OIG telephone number in a spoofing ploy, the GAO releases a report on developments in the HUBZone program, a Coast Guard employee makes a funny FedBizOpps post (no, really!) and more.

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GAO: No “Public Posting” Of Solicitation In Closed Government Office

An agency failed to meet its obligations to properly publicize a simplified acquisition valued between $15,000 and $25,000 where the agency placed the solicitation in a three-ring binder at the reception desk in a government office–and that office was closed during most of the relevant time.

In a recent decision, the GAO affirmed that principle that even when the dollar value of a simplified acquisition doesn’t meet the requirement for electronic posting on FedBizOpps, the agency still must take reasonable steps to maximize competition.

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GAO: ASFI Website Is No FedBizOpps

Under the GAO’s bid protest rules, an offeror is not presumed to have knowledge of information published on the Army’s Single Face to Industry (ASFI) website.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that an offeror did not have “constructive knowledge” of an amendment posted on the ASFI because, unlike FedBizOpps, the ASFI has not been designated as a government-wide point of entry for the publication of solicitations.

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FedBizOpps Searches: Be Thorough (Or Be Out Of Luck)

If one type of FedBizOpps search does not turn up a solicitation, try a different search–or run the risk of missing the solicitation.

That is the message to contractors from a recent GAO bid protest decision, in which an offeror was unable to discover a VA opportunity by searching the “Place of Performance” field on FedBizOpps.  As it turned out, the solicitation would have popped up if the offeror had tried other types of FedBizOpps searches, and the GAO held that it was the offeror’s responsibility to more thoroughly attempt to locate the solicitation.

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Simplified Acquisitions: Soliciting Three Local Sources Satisfied Competition Requirements

The Army did not violate the Competition in Contracting Act by soliciting only three local sources for a simplified acquisition to be performed outside of the United States.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO explained that under the circumstances, the Army was not required to publish notice of the procurement on the FedBizOpps website, and satisfied the competition requirements by seeking quotations from three local sources.

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Contractor Delays Reading Solicitation; GAO Denies Proposal Extension

A contractor’s technical problems in accessing a solicitation did not entitle the contractor to an extension to submit its proposal, because the contractor delayed attempting to read the solicitation until nearly three weeks after it was issued.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO suggested that the contractor’s failure to try to access the solicitation was unreasonable, and held and that the agency was justified in refusing to extend the proposal due date.

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