The SBA’s OHA administrative judges recently sent a warning to all small business contractors that they need to keep an eye on their email inboxes no matter how late in the business day it is. In a size appeal decision, OHA found that even an unread email could derail a contractor’s plans for a size appeal, depending on when it arrived in your inbox.Continue reading
Over the years, SBA size regulations have included the general rule that the size status of a business generally relates back the time of initial offer on a contract. Therefore, a small business generally stays small for the duration of a federal contract, with some exceptions. However, there was also language in the rule that required small businesses to recertify their size status after being acquired or going through similar transactions. The effect of this recertification requirement was always a little unclear. If you recertify as large, does that have any effect on your small business status for orders under contracts awarded when the business was small? Now, OHA has answered that concern.Continue reading
The case of Superior Optical Labs, Inc. (Superior) v. United States focuses on the control of a Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) and how that control, or more precisely, lack of control, can disqualify an SDVOSB with 69% service-disabled veteran ownership from a solicitation set aside for SDVOSBs. This particular Solicitation was set aside entirely for an SDVOSB to provide prescription eyeglasses and related services through the Veterans Integrated Services Network (VISN). Superior was awarded the contract, which was then protested by PDS Consultants, Inc. (PDS) challenged the SDVOSB eligibility of Superior. In the end, OHA held that Superior did not qualify as a SDVOSB for purposes of the procurement due to a lack of control as required by SBA rules. PDS then challenged OHA’s decision at the Court of Federal Claims.Continue reading
The decision in Bravo Federal Consulting, LLC, SBA No. CVE-213 (Dec. 1, 2021) is both an important reminder of the importance of keeping all database information up to date and a cautionary tale of the unfortunate consequences that can happen when you don’t. In that decision, SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) denied an appeal by Bravo Federal Consulting, LLC (Bravo). Bravo submitted a request to change its name, setting off a chain of events that ended in Bravo losing its verified status as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB).Continue reading
This matter again involves NASA and a particularly interesting government procurement, this time concerning NAICS appeals. NAICS codes, or the North American Industry Classification System codes, are how both businesses are classified by their industry and procurements are classified by what they’re for. If the procurement uses an inappropriate NAICS code, a protestor can appeal this code determination. It is important to note that some NAICS codes have “exceptions” which can affect their corresponding size standards. For example, NAICS code 541330, “Engineering,” has a size standard of $16.5 million, but, if the engineering services are for military equipment and weapons, an exception applies that balloons the size standard to $35.5 million. But, just like regular NAICS codes, these exceptions have to make sense in light of the kind of solicitation in question, leading us to this matter.Continue reading
The organizational documents for a business seeking certification under a SBA socio-economic program can play an important part in a company demonstrating its eligibility under the SBA’s requirement for control by the company’s owners, such as a service-disabled veteran or disadvantaged owner. Unlike some of the SBA’s requirements for eligibility, the manner in which a program applicant or participant might run afoul of this requirement are not always obvious. Typical provisions in the organizational documents that, under “non-SBA” circumstances may seem innocuous, may unintentionally undermine the disadvantaged owner’s requirement of showing of unconditional ownership and control.
In a recent OHA decision regarding Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business (SDVOSB) eligibility, (CVE Protest of: Randy Kinder Excavating, Inc. d/b/a RKE Contractors, Protester Re: E&L Construction Group, LLC), an unsuccessful bidder filed a protest of a set-aside contract award, alleging that the company was not unconditionally controlled by the disadvantaged owner. After considering a variety of arguments, OHA issued a decision based on a handful of provisions in the respondent’s operating agreement.Continue reading
In my last blog post I wrote about a contractor’s unsuccessful attempt to convince the GAO that its solicitation was improperly dismissed as being untimely because the State Department didn’t recognize its automatic “out of office” email reply response. It appears that federal agencies in general are unforgiving when it comes to a contractor’s reliance on electronic communications without follow-up.
In a recent case, the SBA Office of Hearing Appeals (OHA) rejected a contractor’s petition for reconsideration upholding the OHA’s appeal of a cancellation of the contractor’s verified status as a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Businesses because it could not access a cancelation letter through a link provided by the VA.Continue reading