Thank You, SAME Seattle Post!

I am back in Lawrence after a great trip to the Pacific Northwest for the SAME 2017 Small Business Symposium, hosted by the SAME Seattle Post.  I gave two talks at the Symposium: the first focused on the legal requirements for joint ventures and prime/subcontractor teaming arrangements, and the second on the SBA’s new All Small Mentor-Protege Program.

A big “thank you” to Julie Erickson for organizing the event and inviting me to speak, and thanks also to Thomas Nichols for his kind introductions at both talks.  And of course, thank you to all of the contractors, government officials and clients who attended the sessions and asked such insightful questions.

I’ll be sticking around Kansas for the next several weeks, but that doesn’t mean that I’ll be taking a break from speaking about government contracts.  Please join me and the Kansas PTAC for in-depth sessions on the government’s four major socioeconomic programs: 8(a), SDVOSB, HUBZone, and WOSB.  These sessions will be held in Wichita and Overland Park; click here for details and to register.  Hope to see you there!

Joint Venture Past Performance: Agency Properly Considered JV Members’ “Percentage Of Effort”

In evaluating a WOSB joint venture’s past performance, the procuring agency considered each joint venture member’s contemplated percentage of effort for the solicitation’s scope of work, and assigned the joint venture past performance ratings based on which member was responsible for particular past performance.

The GAO held that the agency had the discretion to evaluate joint venture past performance in this manner–although it is unclear whether a relatively new SBA regulation (which apparently didn’t apply to the solicitation) would have affected the outcome.

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Missing JV Agreement Sinks Offeror’s Proposal

A small business joint venture’s proposal was excluded from the competition because the joint venture failed to submit a signed copy of its joint venture agreement, as required by the solicitation.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that the procuring agency acted properly in excluding the joint venture’s proposal, even though the joint venture’s price was more than $300,000 lower than the lowest-priced awardee’s.

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SBA Corrects Profit-Splitting Flaw In New Joint Venture Regulations

The SBA has corrected a flaw in the profit-splitting provisions of its new joint venture regulations.

Under the corrected regulations, which became effective on December 27, all of the SBA’s joint venture regulations–those for small businesses, SDVOSBs, HUBZones, 8(a)s, and WOSBs–will require that each joint venturer receive profits commensurate with the work it performs.  The SBA’s revisions clear up an inconsistency between the 8(a) joint venture regulations and the regulations for the SBA’s other set-aside programs, and eliminates a potential disincentive for joint venturers to avail themselves of the protections of a formal legal entity such as a limited liability company.

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DOL Offers “Fair Pay” Preassessment–But Will Contractors Use It Willingly?

The Department of Labor has announced a new “preassessment” initiative, under which a government contract can voluntarily ask the DOL for an assessment of the contractor’s record of labor law compliance.

The preassessment program is designed to help contractors discover if they may have any trouble with their mandatory disclosures under the new Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, which will take effect beginning on October 25. Voluntary use of the preassessment program may be a good idea for any contractor with a history of labor issues, but I wonder what will be more likely–contractors choosing to use it on their own, or being pushed to use it by prospective teammates?

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GAO Finds Offeror’s Protest of OCI Exclusion Untimely

To be timely, a GAO bid protest challenging the terms of the solicitation must be filed no later than the proposal submission deadline.

A recent GAO decision affirmed that, at least in some cases, this deadline applies to an offeror’s elimination from competition based on an organizational conflict of interest. Because the offeror knew of its potential conflict and the agency’s position on its eligibility before its proposal was submitted, its post-evaluation protest was untimely. GAO dismissed its protest.

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Unapproved Addendum Sinks 8(a) Joint Venture’s Bid

An 8(a) joint venture failed to obtain SBA’s approval of an addendum to its joint venture agreement—and the lack of SBA approval cost the joint venture an 8(a) contract.

In Alutiiq-Banner Joint Venture, B-412952 et al. (July 15, 2016), GAO sustained a protest challenging an 8(a) joint venture’s eligibility for award where that joint venture had not previously sought (or received) SBA’s approval for an addendum to its joint venture agreement.

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