Agencies May Evaluate Contractor Responsibility under FSS Orders, Says GAO

Contractor responsibility is to be considered before every federal contract award, but what about task orders issued under an FSS contract? Are contractors still subject to responsibility inquiries when competing for orders?

According to GAO, the answer is, “yes.”

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GAO: Agency Properly Refused SBA COC Time Extension

A contracting agency is not required withhold a contract award so that the SBA has more time to process a Certificate of Competency, even when the SBA itself asks for an extension.

The Government Accountability Office decided recently that it was reasonable for an agency to move ahead with an award while the SBA was still in the process of determining the competency of a small business that lost out on the contract.

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GAO Doubles Down On FedBid/COC Ruling

The GAO has sustained a second protest based upon FedBid’s suspension of a contractor from its system.

For the second time in less than one week, the GAO held that the contractor’s suspension from FedBid–and resulting inability to bid on a contract–was improper because the matter was not referred to the SBA under the SBA’s Certificate of Competency procedures.

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Small Business’s FedBid Suspension Was Improper, Says GAO

The suspension of a small business’s FedBid account was improper because the matter was not referred to the SBA under the SBA’s certificate of competency procedures.

In an important decision for small businesses participating in reverse auctions, the GAO recently held that FedBid could not properly suspend a small business’s user account for a supposed lack of “business integrity,” thereby causing the small business to be ineligible to bid on a federal solicitation, without a referral to the SBA.

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Agency Doesn’t Make SBA COC Referral; GAO Sustains Protest

A procuring agency erred by essentially assigning a small business a failing past performance score without referring the matter to the SBA.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that the assignment of a failing past performance score under a past/fail system constituted a non-responsibility determination–and that the SBA was entitled to review the agency’s determination under the SBA’s Certificate of Competency procedures.

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SBA Certificate Of Competency Cannot Cure Incomplete Proposal

The SBA’s Certificate of Competency procedures cannot be used to cure a small business’s incomplete proposal.

In a recent bid protest decision, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims held that the procuring agency could not lawfully cure a firm’s omission of mandatory proposal information by submitting the matter to the SBA for a Certificate of Competency.

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SDVOSB Not Required To Inform Agency Of Veteran’s Death, Says Court

A SDVOSB was not required to inform a procuring agency that the service-disabled veteran owner had passed away following submission of the SDVOSB’s proposal, according to a recent decision of the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

In NEIE, Inc. v. United States, No. 13-164 C (2013), the Court sharply criticized the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for unjustifiably maintaining that the SDVOSB in question was required to inform the EPA of the veteran’s death, even though there is no such requirement in the regulations and the veteran’s death had no impact on the SDVOSB’s contract eligibility.

The NEIE case is not only a good reminder of when a SDVOSB must be eligible to receive a non-VA SDVOSB set-aside (typically, at the time of the initial priced offer), but a troubling example of an over-zealous procuring agency misinterpreting and misapplying the SDVOSB regulations to the detriment of an eligible SDVOSB.

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