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 Proposes Elimination of SDVOSB Ownership & Control Rules

The VA has formally proposed to eliminate its SDVOSB and VOSB ownership and control regulations.

Once the proposed change is finalized, the VA will use the SBA’s regulations to evaluate SDVOSB and VOSB eligibility, as required by the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act.

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VA CVE Unreasonably Decertified SDVOSB, Court Rules

The VA Center for Verification and Evaluation unreasonably decertified an SDVOSB based on the results of an SBA SDVOSB decision.

According to the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, it was improper for the VA to remove the SDVOSB from the VA’s database without evaluating whether the SBA’s determination was consistent with the VA’s separate SDVOSB requirements.

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Unverified SDVOSB JV Partner Couldn’t Protest VA Set-Aside Solicitation

A non-SDVOSB company couldn’t protest the terms of a VA SDVOSB set-aside solicitation, despite entering into a joint venture agreement with an SDVOSB–because the joint venture hadn’t started the process of becoming verified by the VA.

In a recent bid protest decision, GAO held that because neither the protester nor the joint venture was included in the VIP database, or likely to be included during the protest process, the protester wasn’t an “interested party” under the GAO’s bid protest regulations.

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SDVOSB Programs: 2017 NDAA Sharply Curtails VA’s Authority

The 2017 National Defense Authorization Act will essentially prevent the VA from developing its own regulations to determine whether a company is a veteran-owned small business.

Yes, you heard me right.  If the President signs the current version of the 2017 NDAA into law, the VA will be prohibited from issuing regulations regarding the ownership, control, and size status of an SDVOSB or VOSB–which are, of course, the key components of SDVOSB and VOSB status.  Instead, the VA will be required to use regulations developed by the SBA, which will apply to both federal SDVOSB programs: the SBA’s self-certification program and the VA’s verification program.

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Contractor Misrepresented VOSB Status For $152 Million Lease, Says VA OIG

The VA failed to verify the accuracy of a contractor’s representation that it was a veteran-owned small business, according to a new report issued by the VA’s Office of Inspector General.

According to the VA OIG, the VA failed to verify the claim of Westar Development Company, LLC to be a VOSB–and “[t]he evidence does not support a finding that Westar is or ever has been a Veteran-Owned Small Business.”   The VA’s failure to verify Westar’s VOSB status is just one of many serious flaws identified by the VA OIG in its audit of the award of a major VA lease to Westar.

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VA CVE FOIA Email Unnerves SDVOSBs–Now What?

On February 27, the VA CVE sent an email to companies listed in the VetBiz database, suggesting that all documentation submitted to the CVE may be subject to Freedom of Information Act requests.  Many SDVOSBs and VOSBs were outraged–was the VA really stating that tax returns, payroll, bank signature cards, and other closely-guarded information would be made available to the public?

Now, after push back from SDVOSBs and VOSBs, the CVE has issued a press release clarifying that some documentation submitted to the CVE may be withheld under FOIA on a “case by case basis” and that the CVE will seek to limit the exposure of proprietary and personally identifiable information.

The press release is a good start, but in the wake of its misguided email, the CVE needs to do more to assure SDVOSBs and VOSBs that their proprietary information is safe in the government’s hands.

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