In VA Tiered Evaluation, Small Business Couldn’t Protest SDVOSB Discussions

After the Supreme Court’s unanimous Kingdomware decision affirmed the VA’s statutory obligation to prioritize SDVOSBs in its contracting, the VA authorized the use of so-called “tiered evaluations.” In a typical VA tiered evaluation, various categories of offerors can submit proposals, but SDVOSB proposals are considered first, then VOSB proposals, and so on.

Recently, a non-SDVOSB small business protested the VA’s decision to open discussions with the only SDVOSB offeror to submit a proposal–discussions that allowed the SDVOSB to win the contract. But according to the GAO, the small business couldn’t file a valid protest because the small business wasn’t in the same tier.

Continue reading

Strings Attached? Don’t Put Conditions on SDVOSB Ownership, Cautions OHA

Ownership of a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Business has to be unconditional. As the owner of an SDVOSB recently found out, unconditional ownership generally means there can be no restrictions on the service-disabled veteran owner’s ability to sell the ownership interest. Let’s explore the details.

Continue reading

GAO: VA’s Market Research Improperly Compared Apples to Oranges, Violated Rule of Two

Under the VA’s Rule of Two, the VA is required to set aside solicitations for veteran-owned businesses if there is a reasonable expectation of receiving offers from two or more such businesses capable of performing the required work at a fair and reasonable price. But how reasonable does the VA’s expectation have to be in a given procurement?

GAO recently reviewed the reasonableness of VA’s efforts and found them lacking.

Continue reading

OHA Denies Protest: Veteran Didn’t Need to List Disability on Social Media

The SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals denied an SDVOSB-status protest recently where the protester’s main argument amounted to an allegation that the owner of a competitor failed to identify on social media that he had a service-related disability.

OHA called the allegation “completely without merit.”

Continue reading

GAO: VA Rule of Two Doesn’t Apply if Pricing Isn’t Reasonable

GAO recently gave its blessing to a VA decision not to follow the Rule of Two, despite knowing several SDVOSBs would bid. The VA’s decision was based on the contracting officer’s opinion that prices would not be fair and reasonable based on an evaluation of prices and market research.

The decision is important for providing some clarification on what research a contracting officer must undertake to establish that prices will not be fair and reasonable for purposes of the Rule of Two.

Continue reading

OHA Denies First-Ever VA SDVOSB Status Protest

The Small Business Administration Office of Hearings and Appeals has denied a protest of the service-disabled veteran-owned small business status of a company seeking to perform work for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The decision was not particularly controversial or otherwise notable in and of itself. What is notable is that this was the first VA-status SDVOSB protest decision ever issued by OHA.

Continue reading

SDVOSB Eligibility Update: SBA Issues New Rule

Earlier this week, Steve updated SmallGovCon readers on a very important SDVOSB eligibility change: beginning October 1, the VA will begin using the SBA’s eligibility rules to verify SDVOSBs and VOSBs.

The SBA has now followed suit—in a final rule published today, the SBA has amended its eligibility rules for SDVOSBs. These rules provide important clarity into SDVOSB eligibility going forward.

Let’s take a look at some of the most important changes.

Continue reading