Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
Disposition: Protests denied.
Keywords: SDVOSB; Veterans First; sole-source award
General Counsel P.C. Highlight: When the VA awards a sole-source award under Veterans First it is not required to set aside the award for SDVOSBs.
Crosstown Courier Service, Inc. (Crosstown), a service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) protests the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) decision to award two sole-source contracts for courier services to another offeror under two solicitations.
The protester contends that the sole-source awards are improper because the VA failed to consider other qualified SDVOSBs for award. GAO states that under the Veterans First Contracting Program, the VA has authority to award contracts using other than full and open competition (including set-aside procurements and sole-source awards) in certain circumstances. With regard to setting aside procurements exclusively for veteran-owned small businesses (VOSBs) or SDVOSBs, a contracting officer can award contracts on the basis of competition restricted to VOSBs or SDVOSBs if the contracting officer has a reasonable expectation that two or more VOSBs or SDVOSBs will submit offers and that the award can be made at a fair and reasonable price that offers best value to the government. The VA has authority to award sole-source contracts to SDVOSBs when: (1) such concern is determined to be a responsible source with respect to performance of such contract opportunity; (2) the anticipated award price of the contract (including options) will exceed the simplified acquisition threshold . . . but will not exceed $5,000,000; and (3) in the estimation of the contracting officer, the contract award can be made at a fair and reasonable price that offers best value to the United States. Subsection (b) of 38 U.S.C. sect. 8127 provides that, for contracts with SDVOSBs for amounts less than the simplified acquisition threshold, the VA is also authorized to use noncompetitive procedures.
Here, the VA awarded the sole-source contracts to the awardee pursuant to its authority under the Veterans First Contracting Program. The protester’s assertion that the VA should have set aside the procurements for SDVOSBs is without merit because the requirement to set aside certain procurements only applies when the VA does not use its sole-source authority under the Veterans First Contracting Program. Therefore, because the VA used the authority provided in 8127(b) and 8127(c) to award sole?source contracts to the awardee, the VA was not required to set aside for SDVOSBs these procurements. The record shows that the agency’s decision to award these sole-source contracts to the awardee was in accord with the statute authorizing the award of sole-source contracts to SDVOSBs. The protests are denied.