Incumbent’s past performance score lowered as a result of missing subcontracting goals

February 18, 2015 by

A large incumbent contractor was properly assigned a mere “satisfactory confidence” past performance rating because the large business failed to meet its small business subcontracting goals under four of the five contracts it submitted for evaluation.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO upheld the agency’s assignment of a satisfactory confidence score to the large incumbent–despite the incumbent’s strong performance in many areas–because of the incumbent’s failure to satisfy its subcontracting goals.

In Science Applications International Corp., B-408690.2, B-408690.3 (Dec. 17, 2014), the Defense Logistics Agency issued a solicitation to provide supplies and services pursuant to DLA’s tailored logistics support prime vendor program in the Southeast Region of the United States.  The solicitation provided that each contract would be awarded on a best value basis, considering three evaluation factors: past performance, technical merit, and price.

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The 4 stages of a construction dispute

February 17, 2015 by

In this posting, construction attorney Christopher G. Hill of Richmond, VA discuses the four stages of a construction dispute.  He writes:

What started as a kernel of thought in my mind turned into what has seemed to be a popular set of four posts that I hope were both informative and interesting.  Because of the great feedback I’ve gotten, I thought that I’d consolidate the posts into one so that my readers (thank you, by the way) will have them all in one place.  Here they are:

The Anatomy of a Construction Dispute- The Claim– This post discussed the steps for setting out a claim under your construction contract and the steps to lay the groundwork should you need to move forward with a more formal means of collection.

The Anatomy of a Construction Dispute Stage 2- Increase the Heat– This post discussed various methods to increase the heat on the party with whom you have a claim prior to litigation or arbitration.

The Anatomy of a Construction Dispute Stage 3- The Last Straw–  This post discussed what to do when your construction claim is not resolved in either of the first two stages and the steps in either litigation or arbitration.

Anatomy of a Construction Dispute- An Alternative– This post discussed my favorite form of dispute resolution, mediation, as an alternative to the cost and uncertainty of construction litigation or arbitration.

Each of these posts provides a brief overview of the construction dispute process.  Your particular construction issues and necessary actions will depend on your state’s laws and the contract between you and the other party.  I always recommend that you consult a local construction attorney to help advise you through this process.


Contractor whistleblowers proposed to be covered in new regulation

February 16, 2015 by

The U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has issued a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) to revise its regulations to accept covered disclosures of wrongdoing from employees working under a contract or grant with the Federal government, 80 Fed. Reg. 3182.

The proposed rule can be seen at:

Comments on the proposed rule are due March 23, 2015.


Attention ‘agile’ contractors: Come show and tell for 18F

February 13, 2015 by

The Obama administration has ambitious plans to embed a full-scale digital-service team within each agency to help overhaul the way government delivers IT projects.

But the teams won’t do it alone.

Officials at the General Services Administration (GSA) and its in-house digital shop 18F are now sending a message to the traditional contracting industry: We need your help, too.

That was the takeaway from the February 3, 2015 joint GSA-18F industry day where officials and industry representatives mulled over plans for a new agile-only contracting vehicle that will eventually help agencies purchase services specifically from companies that specialize in quick-turnaround software deployments

18F has been doing its part over the past year to help agencies revamp citizen-facing services. All told, the office has agreements with about 18 agencies to perform development and design work, officials said.

The relatively small shop — its staff size currently hovers around 100 — has faced “explosive” demand for its services and can’t keep up, said Greg Godbout, 18F’s executive director.

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Clayton County Water Authority holds monthly vendor workshops

February 12, 2015 by

The Clayton County (GA) Water Authority has a contract preference program for small local businesses.  In addition, businesses currently certified as a small business with City of Atlanta, DeKalb County, or Clayton County may be provisionally certified as a small local business with the Water Authority.

To learn more about Clayton County Water Authority contract opportunities and their small business program, you may wish to attend one of their monthly vendor orientation workshops.

The vendor workshops are held each month in the Water Authority’s Community Use Room located at 1600 Battle Creek Road, Morrow, GA 30260. By attending, you can learn about the Water Authority’s new Small Local Business Certification Program and upcoming opportunities, and hear from guest speakers and other business resources that may benefit your company.

Upcoming 2015 Workshop dates are:

Feb 18th – 2 pm      March 12th – 5pm     April 16th – 9 am

May 19th – 5pm      June 16th – 2 pm       July 16th – 5 pm

Aug 12th – 9 am      Sept 16th – 5 pm        Oct 21st – 2 pm

Nov 12th – 5 pm

Download the workshop flyer here: Clayton County Small Business Workshops 2015

Register to attend workshops at:




Top 3 trends from 2014 to influence government contractors in 2015

February 11, 2015 by

Federal government contractors, especially those in the manufacturing sector, continue to experience the economic impact of budget cuts, decreased federal spending, and increased regulatory requirements.

Nonetheless, the federal government continues to be one of the largest consumers in the country, spending more than $500 billion annually on procuring goods and services.

Here is a summary of the key trends in government contracting in the areas of cybersecurity and privacy, mergers and acquisitions, and bid protests from 2014 and how they are likely to impact government contractors in 2015.

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FAR prohibitions on human trafficking take effect Mar. 2, 2015

February 11, 2015 by

The Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Council has published the a  final rule implementing Executive Order 13627 and title XVII of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013, requiring contractors on federal contracts to certify, both prior to award and annually, their human trafficking compliance and monitoring.  The Final Rule prohibits contractors from:

  • engaging in severe forms of human trafficking during the period of performance of the contract,
  • procuring commercial sex acts during the period of performance of the contract,
  • using forced labor in the performance of the contract,
  • destroying, concealing, confiscating or otherwise denying employees’ access to identity or immigration documents,
  • engaging in fraudulent or misleading recruitment practices,
  • employing recruiters that violate the labor laws of the country where the recruitment takes place,
  • charging recruiting fees,
  • failing to provide return transportation to an employee who is not a national of the country where the work is to take place, subject to limited exceptions,
  • providing housing, if required, that fails to meet host country safety or housing laws, and
  • failing to provide a written work document, if required.

The Final Rule is broadly applicable to all Federal contractors and subcontractors, regardless of contract type or dollar amount, including contractors providing commercial items, commercially-available off-the-shelf items, or goods on General Service Administration (GSA) Federal Supply Schedules (FSS).  In addition, certain contractors providing goods and services abroad will be required to make new certifications and implement compliance plans.  Failure to comply may result in financial penalties, termination for default, suspension or debarment, and potential litigation, including false claims suits.

This Final Rule will be effective on March 2, 2015.  The FAR Council has recommended that Contracting Officers to include the Final Rule in Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts with task orders remaining after March 2 through bilateral modification, so both new and existing contracts will be subject to the Final Rule after that date.

To supplement and implement the new FAR provisions in Department of Defense (DoD) contracts, DoD is issuing a final rule in the form of its Defense Federal Acquisition Regulation Supplement (DFARS) at Subpart 252.235-7004.  In addition, DoD Procedures, Guidance and Information (PGI) can be found at PGI 222.17.  Included is a sample checklist for auditing compliance: CTIPs_Audit_Checklist_10_May_2011.

GTPAC event supports Georgia small businesses, federal agencies, and large prime contractors alike

February 10, 2015 by

The Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) hosted an event on January 22, 2015 designed to bring clients, federal agencies, and large prime contractors together in order to allow everyone to discuss working together in the future. More than 300 vendors attended, and they participated in over 400 one-on-one matchmaking appointments.

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Attendees at the Jan. 22 GTPAC-hosted small business event used a smartphone app to check-in and make matchmaking appointments.

Management of this large gathering — including the massive amount of appointment-making needed for the event — was made possible through the use of a new technology application developed by the IVSN Group LLC for GTPAC.   The app featured automated appointment-making capability on smart phones, tablets, laptops and PCs.  Once registered, each vendor representative received automatic confirmation via the app and email.  Confirmations included a bar code that attendees utilized to print their own name tags at the event’s check-in desk.

Breaks between workshop sessions allowed attendees to actively collaborate and network.

Breaks between workshop sessions allowed attendees to actively collaborate and network.

The event, entitled “Building Partnerships and Collaborating for Success,” was held in the auditorium and break-out rooms at the Georgia Tech Research Institute in Midtown Atlanta.  The GTPAC team used IVSN’s new technology on-site to expedite extra registrations, and to supplement the one-on-one appointments.  Helpful messages were “pushed” through the app to attendees throughout the day.  Any attendees who did not download the app in advance used a QR code on display in multiple locations at the event to allow them to download the app on-site.

Attendees were given access to a QR code in order to download an app that displayed the agenda, speaker profiles, presentation materials, and other resources.

Attendees were given access to a QR code in order to download an app that displayed the agenda, speaker profiles, presentation materials, and other resources.

Here’s a summary of what was accomplished:

  • All pre-registrants were given instruction on how to come prepared with an elevator speech and a written capabilities statement.
  • GTPAC’s program director Joe Beaulieu acted as emcee of the event with speakers from the CDC, EPA, and VA – and featuring the Regional Administrator of GSA, the Regional Director of SBA, and the Executive Director of the National Contract Management Association (NCMA).
  • Training seminars were held on the subjects of proposal-writing, project management, government contracting strategic planning, and business development.
  • All attendees benefited from individual matchmaking appointments with buyers from nine federal agencies, the State of Georgia, the City of Atlanta, and six major federal prime contractors, including big names like IBM, Lockheed Martin, and Northrup Grumman.
  • Scores of the small businesses in attendance also took advantage of this occasion to receive contract-related counseling from the team of GTPAC counselors who were on hand.
  • All of the day’s program elements and related resources were made available on an app which was downloaded by attendees to their mobile devices, laptops and PCs.
More than 300 Georgia business people got a chance to meet one-on-one with government contract decision-makers.

More than 300 Georgia business people got a chance to meet one-on-one with government contract decision-makers.

Presenting sponsors of the event were the Atlanta Chapter of the National Contract Management Association and the Small Business Administration. Supporting sponsors included Axiom Corporation, IVSN Group, and Unitech America.

Presently, GTPAC is soliciting event evaluations from all participants and plans to use the resulting feedback to improve future events and refine the event management app.

Copies of all presentations made at the event can be downloaded below.  They are listed in alphabetical order:

Federal officials like GSA's Torre Jessup (pictured here) briefed Georgia business reps on upcoming contracting opportunities.

GSA’s regional administrator Torre Jessup (pictured here) briefed Georgia business reps on upcoming contracting opportunities.  SBA regional director Cassius Butts also addressed an audience that packed the Georgia Tech Research Institute’s auditorium.




SBA proposes stronger enforcement of subcontracting plans

February 10, 2015 by

Large businesses’ subcontracting plans would be subject to stricter compliance standards under a SBA proposed rule introduced December 29, 2014.

The intent of the new regulations is to compel prime contractors to make good faith efforts to comply with their subcontracting plans by implementing reporting mechanisms and harsher penalties for fraudulent actions or actions made in bad faith.  Small businesses subcontractors are likely to agree that these are positive changes.

Many large businesses take their subcontracting obligations seriously, and make every effort to meet (or exceed) their goals.  But there are also the bad apples–those that continually over-promise and under-deliver when it comes to small business subcontracting.  Dealing with these bad apples have led some small businesses to become skeptical that large primes will follow through on their stated subcontracting intentions.

The SBA’s proposed regulation attempts to address this problem.

Comments on SBA’s proposed rule are due by Feb. 27, 2015.

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American Express OPEN Atlanta Guide features GTPAC

February 10, 2015 by

On January 21, 2015, you may have had a chance to attend the latest in a series of national forums on government contracting hosted by American Express OPEN.  On that date, OPEN conducted a forum in Atlanta designed to help businesses build connections with government officials, contracting experts, and other businesses to assist in winning government contracts.

American Express OPEN published a contracting guide in conjunction with its Jan. 21st event.  Entitled “Government Contracting in Atlanta: Maximizing Your Success,” the guide features interviews with Chuck Schadl of Georgia Tech; Necole Parker of The Elocen Group (a client of the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center); Cassius Butts, regional director of the Small Business Administration; and Adam Smith, purchasing director for the City of Atlanta.

The guide offers practical tips for pursuing government contracts.  You can download a copy by clicking on this link: Atlanta_Insight_Guide_01.21.2015

AMEX OPEN Atlanta Guide

For more information about American Express OPEN and related business resources, visit: