Link: GAO Decision
Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
Disposition: Protest Sustained.
The Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act of 2006 requires the Department of Veterans Affairs to determine whether two or more service-disabled veteran-owned small business concerns can meet its requirements at a reasonable price before proceeding with Federal Supply Schedule acquisitions.
General Counsel PC Highlight:
Aldevra protested the terms of eight solicitations for miscellaneous kitchen equipment for VA Medical and Health Care Centers at various locations throughout the United States. The solicitations were issued on an unrestricted basis to vendors holding FSS contracts. Aldevra argued that the agency failed to first conduct market research to determine whether the procurements should be set aside for SDVOSB (or VOSB) concerns.
The GAO noted that it has sustained similar protests by Aldevra on the same grounds in the past year. Consistent with its analysis in the earlier protest, the GAO found that the Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act of 2006 requires that the VA conduct market research to determine whether there are two or more eligible SDVOSB (or VOSB) concerns capable of performing the agency’s requirements prior to conducting the procurements using FSS procedures.
The VA is required to consider setting aside a procurement for SDVOSBs or VOSBs before conducting full and open competition or electing to procure through the FSS. SDVOSBs and VOSBs should maintain their status in the VIP database so as to qualify as an interested party should the VA fail to follow set-aside regulations. This is the latest in a string of VA procurements that Aldevra has successfully protested to the GAO. However, the VA officially notified the GAO in previous decisions that it would not follow the GAO recommendation based on the VA’s disagreement with the GAO over interpretation of the law.