Contractor’s Creative Staffing Proposal Leads to Elimination from Competition

In the competitive federal marketplace, businesses are always looking for ways to make their proposals more competitive. With millions of dollars at stake, it is no surprise that some competitors develop clever approaches to give their proposal a competitive edge. As one competitor recently discovered, however, there is a point where an offer can get too clever, which may result in proposal elimination. Especially when an agency views the clever approach as violating a solicitation staffing requirement.

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Novation Disaster: SBIR Phase III Award Stripped by GAO

Contractors interested in acquiring participants in the SBA’s Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program beware: successfully novating SBIR contracts has been made significantly harder by a recent GAO decision. Worse still, SBIR novation mistakes can jeopardize future awards under the SBIR contract vehicles. Tread lightly.

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New Avenue for SBA Protests: Ostensible Subcontractor Status Protests

SBA has issued a final rule, effective December 30, that will now provide an avenue to protest situations where the prime contractor on a SDVOSB, HUBZone, or WOSB set-aside contract is subcontracting most or all of the work to a non-similarly situated—but still small business—concern. It will also allow SBA to review eligibility for 8(a) Program contracts on this ground as well.

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Negotiation Impasse Results in Cancelled Solicitation

In any negotiation, either party may walk away from the deal at any time for any reason. While this is typically viewed as a negotiation “nuclear option,” it does happen. Unlike the private commercial space, doing business with Uncle Sam typically goes through a progression ultimately resulting in an awarded contract. As one contractor recently discovered, however, agencies still retain the nuclear option–cancelling the solicitation–if they cannot obtain value for the government.

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GAO: We’re Not Wrong, But Our Original Recommendation Was Not Right

Whenever GAO issues a bid protest decision, some parties are happier than others. In limited circumstances, however, an unhappy party may petition GAO to reconsider its decision if the outcome was based on errors of either fact or law. It is extremely rare for GAO to reverse itself during a reconsideration request. That may explain why in a recent reconsideration decision, GAO maintains that its decision was correct based on the facts presented to it, but GAO nevertheless modified its recommendations substantially in the face of new facts. As a kicker, GAO also took away its recommendation that the agency pay protester’s attorney fees.

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One Protest Spoils the Bunch

GAO recently dismissed several bid protests to an $82 billion procurement because of the actions of a company that had already lost its protest.

In AECOM Management Services, four different companies protested the U.S. Army’s logistics civil augmentation program procurement for various “Setting the Theater” services for the Army’s Northern Command, Southern Command, African Command, European Command, Central Command, Pacific Command, and Afghanistan.

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