Bankruptcy Pending, But Contractor Still Wins Award

Contracting officers have wide discretion to determine that a business can perform the work in question—even if the business is about to enter bankruptcy.

In a recent GAO protest, an unsuccessful offeror challenged just such a determination, saying that there is no way the awarded business could perform because it was nearly bankrupt. But according to the GAO, so long as the agency considered the pending bankruptcy, it was not improper to make an award.

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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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Small Business Wins Contract Despite “Unacceptable” Key Personnel Score

A small business received an “unacceptable” score for its key personnel, but nevertheless was awarded the contract after the matter was referred to the SBA under the Certificate of Competency procedures.

A recent decision by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims demonstrates the breadth and power of the so-called “COC” process, which can allow an otherwise “unacceptable” business to wind up in the winner’s circle.

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SBA Size Protests: Subcontracting Limits Off The Table

The SBA does not evaluate compliance with the limitations on subcontracting as part of the SBA size protest process.

In a recent decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals confirmed that subcontracting limits are the domain of the procuring agency, which is to consider compliance (or lack thereof) as part of its responsibility determination.

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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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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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