VA awards new veteran-owned small business program management contract — spurring another lawsuit

December 8, 2014 by

Spurred by a protest in a federal court, the Department of Veteran Affairs picked a new company to manage the process of getting veteran-owned small businesses verified. The result? Another lawsuit from the prior winner that saw its contract terminated.

It’s the latest in something of a contracting debacle for the department, which has left the management of its Center for Veterans Enterprise in a state of flux for more than a year.

The VA decided to award to the $39.9 million contract to manage its Center for Veterans Enterprise to Loch Harbour Group Inc. of Alexandria. The bulk of that work is for processing contractor applications to be verified as veteran-owned, which in turn allows them to be able to compete for work set aside by the VA. That contract was originally awarded to Monterey Consultants Inc. of Dayton, Ohio, but terminated in November when the VA opted to take corrective action in response to a protest filed by Loch Harbour in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

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GAO sustains protest resulting from agency’s failure to make referral to SBA

December 5, 2014 by

A procuring agency erred by essentially assigning a small business a failing past performance score without referring the matter to the SBA.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that the assignment of a failing past performance score under a past/fail system constituted a non-responsibility determination–and that the SBA was entitled to review the agency’s determination under the SBA’s Certificate of Competency procedures.

The GAO’s decision in FitNet Purchasing Alliance, B-410263 (Nov. 26, 2014) involved a Bureau of Indian Affairs solicitation for gym floor racks, covers, and accessories.  The solicitation was posted on the FedBid reverse auction website and was set aside for small businesses.

FitNet Purchasing Alliance submitted the lowest price.  However, the Contracting Officer elected to make award to the second-lowest bidder, Nationwide Supplies.  A single-page document in the agency’s file stated that the Contracting Officer had declined FitNet’s bid because of adverse past performance information about FitNet.  The agency’s file did not mention Nationwide’s past performance, or indicate that the Contracting Officer had considered Nationwide’s past performance in making the award decision.

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Former CEO of defense contractor pleads guilty to bribery

December 4, 2014 by

The former chief executive of a Northern Virginia defense contractor pleaded guilty to a federal charge of providing gratuities to a federal contracting official, and the company agreed to pay a $300,000 fine for its involvement in the bid-rigging scheme, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

Harry Martin, who stepped down as the head of Intelligent Decisions last month, pleaded guilty to charges that he and other company officials paid illegal gratuities to an Army procurement official based in South Korea, spending more than $10,000 on dinners and golf outings and, in one case, agreeing to spend more than $30,000 on a Lexus ES350 for the official to use, according to the department.

In return, the company received lucrative contracts from the official, identified as Seon Lim, and preferential treatment on Army subcontracts worth up to $4 million.

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Comments due Jan. 15 on draft GSA Schedule 70 SIN

December 3, 2014 by

On the heels of an industry day held on Nov. 18, 2014, the General Services Administration (GSA) released a working draft of terms and conditions for adding a Special Item Number (SIN) to IT Schedule 70 specifically for cloud services.

The agency is asking the private sector and other stakeholders to review the draft document and submit feedback as they get closer to creating the new SIN, likely in the spring of 2015.

Specifically, GSA is looking for comment on six questions.

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Here are the Georgia companies who won federal contracts in November 2014

December 2, 2014 by

Ever wonder who’s winning federal contracts in Georgia?

Wouldn’t this information be helpful if you are looking for subcontracting prospects?  Or when you’re trying to figure out who your competitors are?  Or when considering who might be a good partner on an upcoming bid proposal?

Federal Contract Award Winners in GeorgiaEach month, the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC) publishes a list of federal contracts awarded to Georgia businesses.  The list comes complete with point-of-contact information on the awardees, the name of the awarding agency, the dollar value of the contract, and much more.

Download details on the award winners for November 2014 right here: FEDERAL CONTRACT AWARDS IN GEORGIA – NOV. 2014

Winners of federal contracts earlier this year may be found at the links below:

For information on Georgia businesses who won federal contracts in 2013, click here.

VA cancels contract award for management of its veteran-owned small business program

December 2, 2014 by

Once again, the Department of Veteran Affairs is trying to figure out what company will manage the process of getting veteran-owned small businesses verified.

CVE logoThe agency decided to rescind its September $39.9 million contract award to Monterey Consultants Inc. of Dayton, Ohio, to manage its Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE). That award, the bulk of which was for processing contractor applications to be verified as veteran-owned, which in turn allows them to be able to compete for work set aside by the VA, was protested in September by Loch Harbour Group Inc. of Alexandria.

The VA confirmed in a Nov. 18 court filing that the VA would re-evaluate Loch Harbour’s proposal to determine whether the company qualified for the award. Monterey will no longer be eligible for re-award of the contract, according to the filing, though Monterey executives said that the company is submitting additional information to the VA to counter the protest allegations in hopes that the agency reconsiders its decision.

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Extreme weather doesn’t excuse a late proposal

December 1, 2014 by

With winter weather descending on much of the country, it is all the more important for contractors to ensure that their proposals are submitted with time to spare.

In a recent bid protest decision, the Court of Federal Claims held that extreme weather at an offeror’s location did not excuse the offeror’s failure to deliver a timely proposal because there was no interruption of “normal government processes” at the government location designated to receive proposals.

The Court’s decision in Global Military Marketing, Inc. v. The United States, No. 14-622C (Sept. 29, 2014), involved a DeCA solicitation for the supply of fresh pork products. The solicitation instructed that proposals deemed untimely would not be considered and that “[d]elays caused by commercial means such as airlines, express carriers such as Federal Express, United Parcel Service, etc or municipal difficulties such as black-outs, are not excusable.” Offerors were expressly instructed to “[e]nsure enough time is allowed for the proposal to arrive on time.”After a series of amendments, the proposal deadline was extended to April 30, 2014, at 3:00 p.m.

Global tendered its proposal to Federal Express on April 29, 2014. However, “extreme weather” hit Pensacola, Florida involving “intense rain of over 20 inches in 24 hours, widespread and damaging floods destroyed numerous major roads and bridges in the area.”  This extreme weather caused severe “damage to infrastructure and residential and commercial buildings, and temporary closure of the Pensacola International Airport.”

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NY firm pays $2.72 million to settle bid-rigging and kickback charges

November 28, 2014 by

Sevenson Environmental Services Inc., an environmental remediation firm based in Niagara Falls, New York, has agreed to pay more than $2.72 million to resolve allegations that it violated the False Claims Act and the Anti-Kickback Act by accepting kickbacks, rigging bids and passing inflated charges to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in connection with work performed at the Federal Creosote Superfund Site in Manville, New Jersey, the Department of Justice announced Nov. 17, 2014.  Sevenson was the prime contractor responsible for the cleanup of the Federal Creosote Site, which was funded by the EPA.

“The integrity of the public procurement process is severely undermined when federal contractors engage in anticompetitive contracting practices for their own personal gain,” said Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General August E. Flentje for the Department of Justice’s Civil Division.  “The Department of Justice will hold those accountable who abuse their positions at the public’s expense.”

“EPA is vigilant to ensure that the type of fraud perpetrated by Sevenson employees at Federal Creosote is not tolerated and that federal funds are recovered,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck.

The settlement resolves allegations that Sevenson solicited and accepted more than $1.6 million in kickbacks from six companies in exchange for the award of subcontracts for work at the Federal Creosote Site.  It also resolves allegations that Sevenson conspired with the subcontractors to pass the majority of those kickbacks to the EPA and that it conspired with one subcontractor to pass to the EPA additional inflated charges for soil disposal.

This case was handled by the Civil Division’s Commercial Litigation Branch, with assistance from the New York Field Office of the department’s Antitrust Division, the EPA Region 2, the EPA’s Office of the General Counsel and the Kansas City District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.  The claims resolved by this settlement are allegations only, and there has been no determination of liability.


Mandatory privacy training rule for federal contractors expected soon

November 26, 2014 by

A rule to require federal contactors handling personally identifiable information to train their employees in safeguarding the information is close to release. Under the anticipated rule, contractor employees will have to undergo either agency training when the agency chooses to make it available, or will have to provide their own privacy training programs using an agency-approved syllabus and materials.

The privacy training rule, originally proposed in 2011, would apply to civilian and defense agency contracts in which contractor employees would have access to a federal agency system of records, handle personally identifiable information, or design, develop, operate, or maintain a federal system of records on behalf of a federal agency.

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Federal claims court invalidates key component of SBA’s nonmanufacturer rule

November 25, 2014 by

It has been the common understanding within the SBA, and the small business government contracting community as a whole, that the SBA’s nonmanufacturer rule applies only to contracts for the provision of supplies (i.e., goods) and not to service contracts, regardless of
whether or not such service contracts have a supply component. The SBA memorialized this understanding in a 2011 rulemaking. According to 13 C.F.R. § 121.406(b)(3), the nonmanufacturer rule does not apply to procurements that are assigned a services, construction, or specialty trade construction code.

The U.S. Court of Federal Claims (COFC) recently turned this common understanding about the nonmanufacturer rule on its head. In its September 19, 2014, decision in Rotech v. United States, COFC No. 14-502C (2014), the COFC invalidated 13 C.F.R § 121.406(b)(3).

Keep reading this article by clicking here  (pdf file).