Rule Of Two: Small Business’s Notification Of Interest Was Too Late

A small business’s expression of interest in a solicitation came too late to affect the agency’s set-aside decision under the so-called “rule of two,” even though there was no indication that the small business knew about the requirement early enough to affect the set-aside decision.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that an agency was not required to consider a small business’s expression of interest when that expression of interest occurred after the RFQ was released.  Although the GAO may have been correct as a matter of law, the result is still discouraging, because nothing in the GAO’s decision indicated that the small business knew (or should have known) of the requirement before the agency issued the RFQ.

Continue reading

SDVOSB Set-Asides: VA Properly Limited Market Research By Region, Says GAO

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.

Continue reading

GAO: Agencies Must Consider SDVOSB Set-Asides Before Issuing Small Business Set-Aside RFPs

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GAO bid protest decision, both the procuring agency and the SBA initially got it wrong, too, by erroneously relying on outdated regulations to argue that the agency need not consider a SDVOSB set-aside before awarding a small business set-aside contract.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.

Continue reading