It’s no secret that federal contract opportunities are becoming more and more competitive. But as we’ve previously gushed, small businesses enjoy a tremendous tool for enhancing their competitiveness: participating in a joint venture with another company.
Properly formed, a joint venture allows its participants to augment their capabilities and experiences in the quest to win (and successfully perform) a particular opportunity. But there’s the trick—to enjoy the benefits of a joint venture, that joint venture must meet various regulatory requirements. One misstep and the joint venture might not be eligible for the award.
A recent SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals decision shows the importance of making sure these regulatory requirements are met.
What happens when an SBA area office finds a joint venture compliant with SBA rules in a size protest, but SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals says the same agreement fails to meet requirements in a status protest? Let’s find out.
In Warrior Service Company, LLC, SBA No. SIZ-6046 (Jan. 24, 2020), the SBA reminded small business contractors that it determines whether a contractor has violated the ostensible subcontractor rule as of the date of bid submission; SBA won’t consider any changes that come later.
SBA sometimes makes mistakes in the 8(a) application process, but the appeals process may be able to remedy those miscues. Recently, an applicant appealed the SBA’s denial of her 8(a) status based on net worth. She argued that the SBA Area Office had double counted the value of her rental property, which automatically disqualified her from being found economically disadvantaged. SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) agreed and remanded the denial decision.
As I’m sure most other attorneys can commiserate with, I
often have a recurring nightmare that I miss a filing deadline. Doing so can lead
to terrible results: dismissed cases and, in some cases, sanctions against the
attorney. For this reason, we always check, double-check, and triple-check our
filing deadlines, and strive to file documents early, when possible.
Given my fear, I gain no pleasure in reading about missed
filing deadlines, especially when the goof is the subject of a matter outside
the attorney’s control.
But as a recent decision by the SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals demonstrates, even the most sympathetic of excuses won’t excuse a late appeal filing.
Just like one word answers don’t work with your mom (who you should call this Sunday!), one sentence CVE Appeals don’t usually work for OHA. In one recent case, Secure2ware, Inc., SBA No. CVE-111 (Apr. 18, 2019), OHA provided reminders about what CVE Database appeals must include.
Contracting officers are given significant discretion in choosing NAICS codes for procurements. But, as decision makers, they aren’t infallible. As a recent OHA case shows, using the NAICS Manual can help small business contractors challenge an incorrect NAICS code.