GAO: ‘Mechanical’ cost realism evaluation was improper

February 27, 2015 by

An agency’s cost realism evaluation was improper because the agency “mechanically” compared an offeror’s proposed staffing to an undisclosed government estimate.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that it was improper for the agency to apply its own estimates for labor hours and costs without considering the protester’s unique technical approach.

The GAO’s decision in CFS-KBR Marianas Support Services, LLC; Fluor Federal Solutions LLC, B-410586 et al. (Jan. 2, 2015) involved a Navy procurement for base operations support services.  The solicitation contemplated the award of a cost-reimbursement contract, which was to be awarded on a “best value” basis.  Among the evaluation factors, the Navy was to consider offerors’ proposed staffing and resources.

Keep reading this article at:

San Antonio businessman sentenced in VA contract fraud

February 26, 2015 by

San Antonio 71-year-old Jonathan Patrick Saunders, president of Saunders MEP, Inc., was sentenced last week to one year and one day in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $1,494,000 restitution for defrauding the Department of Veterans Administration (VA) in connection with architectural and engineering contracts.

Justice Dept. sealOn January 6, 2015, Saunders pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud.  By pleading guilty, Saunders admitted that over a period of five years beginning in March 2008, he knowingly provided fraudulent information to the VA in order to obtain up to $2 million in task orders from the VA for projects to be performed in and around San Antonio.

On Feb. 19, 2015, United States District Judge Orlando Garcia found that Saunders made false representations to the VA.  In his SF-330 “Architect-Engineer Qualifications” package, Saunders falsely represented that his business qualified as a Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business, that certain persons with particular qualifications worked for his firm, and that certain projects were completed by his firm.  Saunders used interstate wires to execute his fraud scheme.

This case was investigated by agents with the Office of Inspector Generals from the VA and the Small Business Administration.  Assistant United States Attorney Thomas P. Moore prosecuted this case on behalf of the Government.


America’s ‘largest seed fund’ is coming to Atlanta on Mar. 26th

February 25, 2015 by

The SBIR Road Tour is a national outreach effort to convey the “non-dilutive technology” funding opportunity provided through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs. Over the course of this year individual program managers from the 11 participating agencies representing $2.5 billion in early stage funding will embark on a 20-state road tour, participating in a series of events alongside technology entrepreneurs and innovation supporters from across the United States.

The SBIR Road Tour is scheduled to arrive in Atlanta on Thursday, March 26, 2015.

SBIR Road TourIf you’re an innovator, entrepreneur, researcher, or small technology firm, don’t miss this opportunity. Every SBIR Road Tour stop provides an in-depth understanding of agency technology funding priorities, and one-on-one meetings with high level decision makers.

The Atlanta event will be hosted by the Metro Atlanta Chamber, located at 235 Andrew Young International Blvd., NW, Atlanta, GA 30303.

A featured speaker at the Atlanta event will be Connie Casteel of Georgia Tech’s Advanced Technology Development Center (ATDC).  Here’s what the Atlanta agenda looks like:

Atlanta SBIR Agenda 03.26.2015

To register for the Atlanta event, go to:

Other stops on the tour include:

  • Louisville, KY – Tuesday, March 24, 2015
  • Nashville, TN – Wednesday, March 25, 2015
  • Atlanta, GA – Thursday, March 26, 2015
  • Columbia, SC – Friday, March 27, 2015
  • Long Beach, MS – Monday, April 27, 2015
  • Ruston, LA -Tuesday, April 28, 2015
  • Oklahoma City, OK – Wednesday, April 29, 2015
  • Wichita, KS – Thursday, April 30, 2015
  • Columbia, MO – Friday, May 1, 2015
  • North Central Tour – the week of July 13th
    • Indianapolis, IN
    • Chicago, IL
    • Iowa City, IA
    • Omaha, NE
    • Sioux Falls, SD
  • Pacific Northwest – the week of August 17th
    • Seattle, WA
    • Portland, OR
    • Boise, ID
    • Missoula, MT

For more information, visit:

VA holding webinars on VOSB verification process

February 24, 2015 by

The Veterans Administration’s Center for Verification and Evaluation (CVE) is hosting training for interested Service-Disabled Veteran Owned and Veteran Owned Small Businesses on different aspects of the verification process.

VA sealAt the conclusion of these training sessions, CVE will host a Town Hall on the Verification Program to solicit feedback from participants.

The two featured webinars are:

  • Pre-Application Brief Webinar: Designed for firms interested in knowing more about CVE’s Veteran’s First Program and the Verification Process.   Dates Conducted: Last Tuesday of the month (starting March 2015).
  • Reverification Training Webinars: Designed for firms whose verification status is set to expire.  CVE encourages firms to participate in BOTH training sessions for the most comprehensive re-verification overview. Dates Conducted: Part 1: Re-verification Overview – 1st Tuesday of the month; Part 2: Uploading Documents – 3rd Tuesday of the month.

The times and schedule for the next webinars are:

CVE Schedule

Participation in all webinar/town hall online events is voluntary. If you would like more information, would like to register, or are unable to attend during your firm’s scheduled expiration month, please contact CVE via email at vog.avnull@sfeirBPPA-ERPEVC.UBDSOAV.  In your correspondence, please include your business name, DUNS number, your firm’s expiration date (if you have it), and what month you are interested in attending.


Deadline for comments is Feb. 27 on proposed rule affecting small business federal contracts

February 23, 2015 by

Are you a small business owner doing business with the government?  As previously reported here, the Small Business Administration (SBA) recently published a proposed rule to implement Section 1651 of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (NDAA), proposing to change several key areas that could impact you:

  • The performance requirements applicable to small business and socioeconomic program set aside contracts and small business subcontracting.
  • The nonmanufacturer rule and affiliation rules.
  • The performance requirements for joint ventures.

From the SBA’s point of view, the proposed regulations should benefit small businesses by allowing small business concerns to use similarly-situated subcontractors in the performance of a set-aside contract, thereby expanding the capacity of small business prime contractors and potentially enabling small businesses to compete for and win larger contracts. SBA also believes the proposed rules will strengthen the small business subcontracting provisions, which may result in more subcontract awards to small business concerns. The proposed regulations also seek to address or clarify issues that are ambiguous or subject to dispute, thereby providing clarity to federal contracting officers as well as small business concerns.

Have comments? Visit the Federal Register online for information and to submit your comments by February 27, 2015.

Task order size status based on proposal date, not award date

February 19, 2015 by

A contractor was eligible for award of a small business set-aside task order because the contractor was “small” as of the date of its task order proposal–even though the contractor outgrew the size standard by the time the task order was awarded.

In a recent bid protest decision, the GAO held that a contractor may qualify for the award of a set-aside task order based on the date of its initial proposal, even in cases where the agency is prohibited from taking small business credit for the award.

The GAO’s decision in Research and Development Solutions, Inc., B-410581.2 (Jan. 14, 2015) involved a Navy task order solicitation for technical and engineering services.  The solicitation was issued as a small business set-aside under the SeaPort-e IDIQ contract vehicle.

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Announcing the February ‘Face of Manufacturing’

February 18, 2015 by

Toward the end of 2014, the Georgia Manufacturing Extension Partnership (GaMEP) at Georgia Tech announced a program designed to honor the hard-working, dedicated people throughout the state who work within or are affected by manufacturing companies.

The first “Face of Manufacturing” was announced in mid- January.  Today (Feb. 18, 2015), we are proud to reveal the second Face of Manufacturing.

Faces of Manufacturing in Georgia

Knowing he liked working with his hands, being creative, and problem-solving, the February Face of Manufacturing chose industry over arts in high school because he was a “gearhead at heart.” ‘From joining a robotics team to obtaining a college apprenticeship in a machine shop, at 22 Steven Shaw has found his passion in manufacturing.’

Read Steven’s story here and see the video:

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.