SmallGovCon Week in Review: November 7-11, 2022

On this Veteran’s Day, our firm salutes veterans. Veterans are extraordinarily modest.  They don’t ask for, or expect, a “thank you.”  But that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve one.  If you are a veteran, thank you very much for your service.  If you are not a veteran, take a moment today to thank the veterans in your life. We appreciate you and we truly thank you for your service today and every day.

We’ve included some articles on federal government contracting that we found informative, this week. Enjoy the weekend and happy Veteran’s Day!

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OHA: Provisions in Operating Agreements for SBA Set-Aside Program Participants can Sink Eligibility

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.

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OHA: Multiple Service-Disabled Veterans Control Company, Despite Internal Dispute

Control over a Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business can be held by multiple service-disabled veterans. Having control reside in multiple individuals can make things a little more complicated, though. SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals recently examined a situation where multiple service-disabled veterans shared control of a company, but did not have a united front when responding to information requests concerning a company’s eligibility.

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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.

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DoD SDVOSB Contracts: OIG Reports Major Problems

The Department of Defense Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently released an audit report about Service-Disabled Veteran-Owned Small Business Contract Awards at DoD . The report noted major concerns with how DoD is confirming eligibility for SDVOSB contract awards as well as monitoring subcontracting limitations.

These concerns could lead to increased monitoring and enforcement, so SDVOSB contractors should be keen to see what the report unearthed.

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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.”

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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.

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