Link: GAO Decision
Protestor: Crosstown Courier Service, Inc.
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 requirement at a reasonable price before proceeding with a Federal Supply Schedule acquisition
General Counsel PC Highlight:
Crosstown Courier Service, Inc. protested the terms of an RFQ for commercial carrier services to transport diagnostic blood and urine specimens from outlying VA laboratories to the main VA laboratories in Palo Alto and Livermore, California. Crosstown argued that the agency failed to comply with the requirement of the Veterans Benefits, Health Care, and Information Technology Act of 2006, and its implementing regulations to determine whether the procurement should be set aside for service-disabled, veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs). Crosstown asserted that, had the agency conducted market research as required, it would have found at least two SDVOSBs capable of performing for a reasonable price.
The GAO noted that it recently sustained a protest arguing the same issue, pointing out that the arguments presented in the agency’s briefs in both cases were identical. For the same reasons discussed in Aldevra, the GAO rejected the VA’s arguments in the current protest. It sustained Crosstown’s protest and recommended that the agency conduct reasonable market research regarding its requirement under the solicitation. If the agency determines that there is a reasonable expectation that two or more SDVOSBs (or VOSBs) can meet the requirement at a reasonable price, the GAO recommended that the agency cancel the solicitation and reissue as an SDVOSB (or VOSB) set-aside.
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.