There has been much written in the media lately by purported advocates for Small business, pitting Smalls against Mids in the hunt for government contracting real-estate. While on the surface, these actions may appear to have merit – in reality they are to the detriment of the Small business community at large, particularly government contractors.
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February 19, 2015
In 2015, 3,417 areas that were redesignated, mostly as a result of census results a few years ago, will lose their HUBZone status.
However, the only time these firms will be directly notified by SBA that they are located in a redesignated area is when they receive a notice of proposed decertification from the program after their status of the area expired.
Now, to be fair it must be noted that the SBA “is analyzing existing resources” and by July, plans to implement an enhanced mechanism to better inform certified firms of HUBZone designations changes or, at least, explain how a redesigned area can affect their participation in the program.
In the meantime, if you are currently certified in the program:
(1) check your status by reviewing the map on the SBA’s website: https://www.sba.gov/content/hubzone-maps,
(2) review the following GAO report to become better informed: http://www.gao.gov/assets/670/668468.pdf, and,
(3) if you need any assistance extending or defending your HUBZone certification, please contact us to set a time to discuss your options at: http://www.vcita.com/v/warwick
Boston Warwick Law
Download GSA OASIS Source Selection Files @: http://teaming-exchange.com/pages/gsa-oasis-pia-violation-narrative-files
[NOTE] If you LOST on GSA OASIS, it may be as a result of GSA’s disclosure that you lost and many of the apparent awardees made the top 40 in the pool(s) that your firm sought to compete in. Indeed, had it not been for GSA’s disclosure, the current winners – and perhaps the entire ranking order in the competitive range – would have been different; and indeed, your firm very well may have been amongst the apparent awardees.
Should you decide to, you still have recourse to file a PIA claim at the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and/or the Court of Federal Claims (CoFC). Alternatively, a Class Action filing is currently being formulated. If you lost on GSA OASIS and have interest in this Class Action, please email BizEvangelist@vsbaonline.com. You will have 10-days from the date this posting to file with the GSA KO in order to maintain standing as an interested party.
The Procurement Integrity Act (PIA) prohibits the release of source selection and contractor bid or proposal information and GAO precedent establishes that in order to prevail, a Protester must demonstrate that it was prejudiced by this release. However, in accord with rulings at both GAO and the Court of Federal Claims – proof of prejudice notwithstanding – [the act alone is a violation and the mere possibility that the integrity of the federal procurement apparatus may have been breached is in and of itself grounds for procurement termination.]
SUMMARY BACKGROUND AFFIDAVIT
AA-I & Co. assisted 13 companies for the purpose of their participation in the Teaming Exchange, and 6 ultimately became apparent awardees. Although there are numerous illustrations of the competitive value of this information that I am unfortunately not at liberty to disclose due to non-disclosure agreements; I can share one basic example of advantage that was provided in assistance to our client’s strategic choice of “Past Performance” submission on OASIS SB.
It is a well-known fact that GSA essentially uses businesses as a virtual “sales force” through all of its contract vehicles, and intends to do the same with OASIS SB. It was also quite obvious from some of the interview dialogue in the source selection material shared that GSA was indirectly seeking agency “first adopter buy-in” commitment for OASIS SB to justify its contracting approach.
Therefore, we advised our clients, where possible, to make it a priority to submit only those past performances from the agencies that had been noted from the interviews conducted and cited in the source selection material whom expressed an affinity for using the GSA OASIS contract vehicle in the interviews. We did not tell them, however, that the agency list we provided originated from source selection material; rather, we advised them to “prioritize” their submission based upon a list of agencies we provided.
Read the entire AFFIDAVIT and download the GSA OASIS Source Selection Documents @: http://teaming-exchange.com/pages/gsa-oasis-pia-violation-narrative-files
GAO does not administer the requirements to stay award or suspend contract performance under CICA. 31 U.S.C. secs. 3553(c), (d); 4 C.F.R. sec. 21.6. The only time we consider an agency’s override of a CICA stay is in the context of recommending a course of action where we sustain a protest, see, e.g., Exelis Systems Corporation, B 407111.5 et al., May 20, 2013, 2013 CPD ¶ 123 at 14-16, but we have made no conclusions on your protests at this point. Otherwise, whether or not to suspend or proceed with contract award or performance is left to the procuring agency’s discretion under CICA. See 31 U.S.C. secs. 3553(c), (d).
Pedro Briones, as stated to Mssrs. Bob Freeman of Nexagen & Michael Lin of LinTech regarding the GSA override of CICA Stay provision on B-408685.15 & B-408685.17. A ruling on both Protests by GAO is expected in late July.
Two firms, Nexagen, Inc. and LinTech Global, Inc., have filed Procurement Integrity Act (PIA) Violation Protests at GAO, B-408685.15 & B-408685.17, alleging un-redacted source selection material was released publicly by GSA OASIS contracting officer Tommy Thomas. These firms have posited that it was as a result of GSA’s disclosure that several firms became apparent awardees.
They are requesting that GSA cancel solicitation no. GS00Q-13-DR-0002, and all awards made to date, in order that the solicitation may be re-competed.
Yet, according to its website post dated June 25, 2014: : https://interact.gsa.gov/document/gsa-issues-notice-proceed-oasis-small-business-sb , On June 20, GSA issued the Notice to Proceed (NTP) for OASIS Small Business (SB).
The Procurement Integrity Act, 41 U.S.C. § 423(a) (2006), prohibits any present or former official of the United States, with respect to a federal agency procurement, from “knowingly” disclosing contractor bid or proposal information or source selection information before the award of a federal agency procurement contract to which the information relates. The statute defines source selection information to include bid and proposal prices, source selection and technical evaluation plans, technical and cost/price evaluations of proposals, competitive range determinations, rankings of bids/proposals, and reports/evaluations of source selection panels, boards, or advisory councils. 41 U.S.C. § 423(f)(2). Ref Case(s): Kellogg Brown & Root Services, Inc., B-400787.2; B-400861.
The Voice of Small Business in America (VSBA): http://linkd.in/OneVoice has confirmed that both Protesters did file not later than 10 days after the basis of the protest is known or should have been known or within 10 days of debriefing as required by 4 C.F.R. § 21.2(a)(2).
Under CICA Stay, 31 U.S.C. 3553(c) and (d), an Agency may not award a contract after notice of pending protest, and the Head of Procuring agency must notify GAO if it intends to override the Stay.
Apparently, neither the GAO nor the GSA advised the Protesters of this intent to override.
Stay tuned, more to come.
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee
Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee
I am a small business and government contracts consultant dedicated to helping small firms successfully navigate the federal marketplace. In addition to providing small businesses with guidance on complying with the Federal Acquisition Regulation and other key government contracts rules, my firm, Aljucar, Anvil-incus & Co. prepares and manages teaming, joint venture and mentor-protégé arrangements with large-cap firms. As a result of the above stated, my firm sometimes must defend its interest by GAO bid protest.
SUMMARY OF INQUIRY
The GAO is not a court of law. Therefore, by what [specific] legal or regulatory authority is the agency able to establish legal precedent? [NOTE]: This same inquiry was made to the Office of the Comptroller General on June 3, 2014 without response.
The GAO has presumed to create “impromptu” rules to supplement the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) §21 by virtue of its case precedent. I am requesting your assistance in determining on whose specific authority and/or by what specific law or regulation citation the GAO is able create impromptu rules to supplement the Code of Federal Regulations §21 by virtue of its own legal precedent in doing so. We have combed the laws incepting the agency and those governing its operations, and can find no requisite anywhere in CFR §21 that authorizes GAO attorney’s or management to append regulation and create rules by virtue of legal precedent.
Examples of rule supplements by GAO include the filing of “Motions” and the requirement for “Comments” on an Agency Report during a bid protest proceeding.
MOTIONS – GAO regulations [explicitly] state that [n]o formal briefs or other technical forms of pleadings or motions are required. This is all consistent with Congresses ‘mandate that the Comptroller General “provide for the inexpensive and expeditious resolution of protests” to “the maximum extent practicable.” However, federal agencies consistently file “Motions to Dismiss” during bid protests which are accepted and acted upon by GAO.
COMMENTS – It has been confirmed that there is no federal law or regulation that defines “comments on a report” in the context of a GAO protest by the agency’s Chief Quality Officer, Mr. Timothy Bowling and its Head of Procurement Law, Mr. Ralph White (see attached). However, according to Mr. White:
“The [definition] of “comments on a report” is not based on a specific regulation, but rather on long-standing [legal] precedent in connection with bid protests before GAO.”
The GAO has taken this position despite the agency NOT being a court of law. Indeed, the agency does not employ procedures that include discovery and evidentiary rules; it does not employ appellate review; and, it does not have the power to enforce its judgments.
Therefore I am respectfully requesting to know if this is truly Congress’ intent and if so by what [specific] law or regulation this authority to establish enforceable legal precedent is codified. Your time in consideration and response to this inquiry is greatly appreciated.