VA Suspends SDVOSB/VOSB Applications Effective May 21

On May 21, 2018, the VA will suspend SDVOSB and VOSB applications for “approximately thirty (30)” days while the VA transitions to a new VIP interface.

According to a notice posted on the VA OSDBU website, the suspension will affect “both new applications and applications for re-verification.”  However, the VA CVE “will continue processing previously submitted applications during the suspension.”  The VA doesn’t beat around the bush: “any applicants (Veterans) that desire to have their cases begin the verification process before the suspension start date, should strongly consider case submission completion to VIP prior to May 21, 2018.”

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VA Issues Post-Kingdomware Acquisition Guidance

The VA has released an Acquisition Policy Flash providing guidance to VA Contracting Officers on implementing the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Kingdomware Technologies, Inc. v. United States.

The Policy Flash suggests that the VA is, in fact, moving quickly to implement the Kingdomware decision–and if that’s the case, it is good news for SDVOSBs and VOSBs.

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VA Will “Immediately Comply” With Kingdomware Decision

The VA will “immediately comply with the Court’s decision” in Kingdomware Technologies, Inc. v. United States, according to a top VA official.

In written testimony offered in advance of a Senate committee hearing tomorrow, the Executive Director of the VA’s Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization tells Congress that the VA will work to implement the Kingdomware decision, including by improving its market research processes.

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SBA Lacks Authority Over VA SDVOSB Protests

The SBA lacks authority to determine whether a company is an eligible service-disabled veteran-owned small business for purposes of a VA SDVOSB set-aside procurement.

In a recent decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals confirmed that the SBA lacks such authority, which is reserved solely for the VA’s Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization.

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VA CVE Improperly Disqualified SDVOSB, Says Federal Court

SDVOSBs—and basic fairness and common sense—were big winners in a recent decision issued by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

In its decision, the Court held that the VA’s Center for Verification and Evaluation violated the law when it disqualified a SDVOSB, without giving the SDVOSB the opportunity to contest the reasons for the disqualification. In an opinion reminiscent of last year’s landmark Miles Construction case, the Court then held that the CVE’s substantive reasons for the disqualification were arbitrary and unreasonable.
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VA SDVOSB Protests: New Rule Allows Appeals

The VA SDVOSB protest process has been criticized by some (including a certain Kansas-based government contracts attorney) for failing to offer a right of appeal.  Under the VA’s rules, if a protested company was found to be ineligible as a SDVOSB, its only option was to sue the VA in federal court–an expensive and time-consuming proposition.

Until now.

Today, the VA published an interim final rule, under which a protested SDVOSB has the right to an appeal within the VA.  The new system isn’t perfect, but it’s a step in the right direction.

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VA CVE Reverses Course on Ownership Transfers, Offers Expedited Reconsideration

Reacting to a February federal court decision, the VA’s Center for Veterans Enterprise has reversed its position on provisions restricting the rights of service-disabled veterans to transfer their ownership interests in their service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses.

Previously, the VA CVE had taken the position that any restriction on a service-disabled veteran’s right to transfer his or her interest in the company was improper.  Because such transfer restrictions are commonplace, many otherwise-eligible SDVOSBs had their verification applications denied.

No more.  In a newsletter to SDVOSBs issued yesterday, the VA CVE stated that it would no longer deny verification based on certain ownership transfer restrictions–and offered an expedited reconsideration process to companies previously denied on this basis.

The VA CVE’s position is welcome news, but doesn’t mean that most SDVOSBs should rush to include transfer restrictions in their bylaws or operating agreements, because the SBA may not agree with the VA CVE’s change of heart.

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