Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of Veterans Affairs
Disposition: Protest denied.
Protest that agency improperly rejected protester’s low bid under a solicitation set aside for service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSB) is denied where the agency’s Center for Veterans Enterprise determined prior to the due date for submission of bids that the protester did not qualify as an SDVOSB concern and this determination remained in effect at the time bids were due.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
GCS contends that as the low bidder it was entitled to receive the award because “at the time of the bid . . . [GCS was] merely awaiting an overdue ruling on [GAO’s] request for reconsideration.”
GAO states that according to the terms of the IFB, a bidder had to be “certified” by the VA’s Center for Veterans Enterprise (CVE) as a valid SDVOSB prior to the submission of its bid, not prior to award. The record reflects that GCS submitted its SDVOSB application to the CVE prior to the submission of bids. However, the CVE rejected GCS’ application, concluding that it was not an eligible SDVOSB, and GCS remained in this ineligible status through September 29, after bid closing. While GCS ultimately prevailed on its request for reconsideration, its status as a valid SDVOSB, as determined by CVE, became effective on September 29 when it received the letter from the CVE resolving its reconsideration request. Thus, by the express terms of the IFB, the protester was ineligible to compete under this SDVOSB set aside. The protest is denied.