December 22, 2014 by cs
It appears the Department of Veterans Affairs will move forward with a new contract supporting its program for verifying veteran-owned small businesses, more than a year after the VA ended the old contract and following a number of bizarre delays spurred by legal and regulatory wrangling.
The Small Business Administration has determined that Loch Harbour Group in Alexandria does indeed qualify to perform the work as a small business, according to the company’s attorney in the matter. That determination came after the VA filed a size protest that could have prevented the contractor from landing the work.
“It was a lot of work, on both sides, but it appears that the issues between Loch Harbour and the government have finally been resolved and they can move forward working together to do the important work of verification,” which is required to bid on work set aside by the VA, said Lee Doughterty, a principal at the Vienna office of law firm Offit Kurman who represents Loch Harbour.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.bizjournals.com/washington/blog/fedbiz_daily/2014/12/done-deal-va-could-finally-have-a-contractor-to.html
December 19, 2014 by cs
The Homeland Security Department’s research and development arm recently released a pre-solicitation notice to small businesses regarding the potential development of innovative technologies from forensics to cybersecurity to wearable communications.
The Science and Technology Directorate released the joint pre-solicitation with the Domestic Nuclear Detection Office, or DNDO, which is also part of DHS, through its Small Business Innovation Research, or SBIR, program. It focuses on nine areas, including seven for S&T and two for DNDO.
The program began accepting proposals starting Dec. 18, according to FedBizOpps.
“While we want to stimulate innovation to meet the needs of the homeland security enterprise by having offerers submit proposals that concentrate on proving the scientific and technical feasibility of their ideas, they must consider the commercialization potential of their proposed effort,” Lisa Sobolewski, S&T’s SBIR program director, said in a statement.
December 17, 2014 by cs
Two of the agencies participating in a Small Business Administration innovation program opted to open the program to small businesses that are majority-owned by venture capital firms, says a Nov. 20 Government Accountability Office report.
The Health and Human Services Department and the Energy Department opted to open part of their Small Business Innovation Research programs to small businesses that are majority-owned by multiple venture capital or similar firms, allowing such companies to apply for and receive SBIR awards, the report says.
Specifically, HHS’s National Institutes of Health and the DOE’s Advanced Research Projects Agency allowed such companies to participate.
For fiscal 2013 and fiscal 2014, NIH and ARPA together received 20 applications from majority-owned portfolio companies and made 12 SBIR awards to them, totaling about $7.9 million, the report says.
December 16, 2014 by cs
General Electric, the venerable maker of light bulbs, refrigerators, and other appliances, recently announced that it was selling off its consumer products division because the profit margins are too low. While GE bids that division goodbye, it’s holding onto its highly lucrative government-contracting business, in which a less-demanding customer leaves room for higher margins. Between 2007 and 2012, GE secured more than $16 billion worth of federal contracts, which might have something to do with the fact that it spent $150 million on lobbying during that period.
How often do these sorts of contracts roll in for companies that spend heavily on political advocacy? Unfortunately, there’s not enough public information to say.
Journalists and critics frequently bring up the dizzying totals that special interests put into elections—one estimate was that $3.7 billion was spent on last month’s midterms—but it’s much less common to hear about the impact of that money on the government’s decision-making.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2014/12/how-companies-hide-spoils-winning-government-contracts/100572
December 15, 2014 by cs
The General Services Administration will be able to offer its third iteration of the office supplies strategic sourcing contract again after the last of its bid protests was denied.
The Government Accountability Office denied on Dec. 3, 2014 Coast-to-Coast Computer Product’s bid protest, claiming it didn’t have merit.
That marks the sixth unsuccessful bid protest of the GSA OS3 contract from various vendors since GSA announced the 21 awards in August.
The GAO decision lifts the stay of performance on OS3 and GSA can now offer OS3 to federal agencies, a Dec. 4 GSA statement says.
The OS3 contacting vehicle is meant to save the federal government money on everyday office supplies like pens, paper and printing items by providing agencies with a list of vendors with already negotiated prices.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/gao-rejects-last-os3-bid-protest-gsa-contract-back-open-business/2014-12-09
December 12, 2014 by cs
The Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has issued its semi-annual report focusing on the most critical risks facing the SBA, including several aspects of government procurement.
Covering the period April through September 2014, the OIG’s report covers key SBA programs and operations, including financial assistance, government contracting and business development, financial management and information technology, disaster assistance, management challenges, and security operations.
Of particular interest to the government contracting community are findings such as:
- Over $400 million in federal contracts that were awarded to ineligible firms, which may have contributed to the overstatement of small business goaling dollars for the Small Disadvantaged Business and the HUBZone Business Preference Programs in FY 2013.
- The owner of a Colorado real estate firm and 5 family members were charged in a 37-count indictment by a state grand jury in connection with a $2,323,000 SBA-guaranteed loan to refinance an office building and other existing debt.
- Sixteen cases of contract-related bribery and/or fraud were identified in connection with contracts or subcontracts set-aside for 8(a), HUBZone, veterans, or other categories of small business.
- The OIG was unable to determine if the SBA appropriately issued waivers to the non-manufacturer rule because of a lack of established procedures, missing files, and other deficiencies.
The OIG’s full report can be downloaded here: SBA OIG Semi-Annual Report to Congress – Fall 2014
December 11, 2014 by cs
Days after the Department of Veterans Affairs awarded a contract to manage its verification program for veteran-owned small businesses, it’s questioning the winner’s own status as a small business.
The VA filed a size protest with the Small Business Administration against Loch Harbour Group Inc. of Alexandria, less than a week after awarding the company a $39.9 million contract to manage the VA’s Center for Veterans Enterprise, said Lee Doughterty, a principal at the Vienna office of law firm Offit Kurman who represents Loch Harbour.
That contract, which was set aside for veteran-owned small businesses and involves processing contractor applications to be verified as veteran-owned, was originally awarded to Monterey Consultants Inc. of Dayton, Ohio. The VA terminated the Monterey award in November, opting to take corrective action in response to a protest filed by Loch Harbour in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.
“It is a terrible tactical move,” said Dougherty, who added that Loch Harbour was deemed qualified to compete for the work during the contract evaluation process. “The retaliation taken by the program and contracting officer is absolutely inappropriate and a gross violation.”
December 10, 2014 by cs
Two years ago General Dynamics, one of the biggest federal contractors, reported a quarterly loss of $2 billion. An “eye-watering” result, one analyst called it.
Diminishing wars and plunging defense spending had slashed the weapons maker’s revenue and left some subsidiaries worth far less than it had paid for them. But the company was already pushing in a new direction.
Soon after Congress passed the landmark Affordable Care Act, the maker of submarines and tanks decided to expand its business related to health care. Its 2011 purchase of health-data firm Vangent instantly made it the largest contractor to Medicare and Medicaid, the huge government health plans for seniors and the poor.
“They saw that their legacy defense market was going to be taking a hit,” said Sebastian Lagana, an analyst with Technology Business Research, a market research firm. “And they knew legislation was coming up that was going to inject funds into the health-care market.”
Keep reading this article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/federal-contractors-now-find-opportunities-for-growth-in-healing-not-war/2014/12/04/3ed2ff08-7a63-11e4-9a27-6fdbc612bff8_story.html
December 10, 2014 by cs
Even if a proposal arrives in a government mailroom by the submittal deadline, the proposal is nevertheless “late” if it does not reach the location specified in the solicitation by the designated time.
In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO reaffirmed long-standing precedent that “receipt of a bid or proposal at a mailroom or other receiving area does not constitute receipt at the location specified in the RFP, provided the agency has established reasonable procedures to ensure that mailed bids or proposals are routed from the mailroom to the location designated in a solicitation for receipt.”
In Brian X. Scott, B-410195 (Nov. 7, 2014), the Military Sealift Command issued a request for proposals for a series of voyages to perform reapply deliveries to islands off the coast of California. The RFP stated that proposals were to be delivered to MSC offices at the Washington Navy Yard by 2:00 p.m. on July 30.
The RFP advised offerors that access to the Navy Yard was restricted. Accordingly, “Offerors, couriers, and other delivery services may encounter unpredictable and lengthy delays or denied access when attempting to enter that facility. Similarly, mailed and emailed proposals may encounter unpredictable and lengthy routing delays. In all cases, offerors are responsible for the risks associated with the chosen delivery method and for ensuring that the Government receives the complete proposal at the appropriate designated location prior to the due date and time for proposal submission.”
Keep reading this article at: http://smallgovcon.com/gaobidprotests/proposal-in-government-mailroom-was-still-late/
December 9, 2014 by cs
As part of the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the General Services Administration (GSA) have created a Prices Paid Portal. The goal of the Prices Paid tool is to reduce total cost of ownership for goods and services by providing greater visibility on the prices agencies have paid for them.
The Prices Paid Portal is part of an ongoing effort to collect transactional data across the government. The challenge in managing pricing data is to ensure it is used to identify contracting strategies and/or terms (like volume commitments) that increase competition and deliver greater value to the American people. Unfortunately, current data management practices will likely reduce competition and value over the long term.
Sound management of pricing and procurement data requires discipline, sophistication, and, most significantly, an understanding of markets and how companies respond to competitive dynamics. Moreover, price alone is incomplete data. In order to effectively understand pricing, one must have access to and understand the underlying terms and conditions, contract commitments, market and economic forces that drive pricing. Price is only one data point in determining “total cost of ownership.” An accurate measure of “total cost of ownership” includes much more than just price. It also includes acquisition cost (i.e. how much did it cost to conduct the procurement), operational costs, maintenance costs, and disposal costs. The emphasis solely on prices paid data ignores these fundamental cost elements.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20141201/BLG06/312010013