The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs properly limited its SDVOSB market research to firms located in the geographic area where the contract would be performed, according to a recent GAO bid protest decision.
In an era in which many contractors bid on procurements nationally, the GAO’s rationale is debatable–but should serve as a reminder that SDVOSBs cannot take VA set-asides for granted, even when the VA does not use the Federal Supply Schedule.
One day back when I was in fourth grade, my teacher informed our class that Thomas Jefferson had never been a United States president. I marched to the back of the classroom, pulled out the Encyclopedia Britannica, and quickly proved that Mr. Jefferson had, in fact, served in our nation’s highest office, leading to a chorus of laughter among the fourth graders of Winship Elementary. After all, it’s rather amusing to find out that the person in charge got it wrong. (No wonder my teacher never liked me very much after that stunt).
In a recent GAO bid protest decision, both the procuring agency and the SBA initially got it wrong, too, by erroneously relying on outdated regulations to argue that the agency need not consider a SDVOSB set-aside before awarding a small business set-aside contract. Fortunately for SDVOSBs, the GAO set matters straight.