Attorney Steven Koprince produced another good piece in his SmallGovCon blog the other day. It was one that immediately put me into "Ethical Stalker" mode as it directly relates to some of the lesson's we teach during our eight-hour market research workshops.
The piece in question tells the story of a small business deemed "nonresponsible" on two different solicitations issued by GPO, a federal agency, based on the company's previous performance on contracts at that agency. The company filed a GAO protest citing GPO should have referred the matter to SBA under the Certificate of Competency program.
GAO rejected the protest. Why? Because not all federal agencies are created equal.
GPO is a legislative branch agency and the Legislative and Judicial branches of government are not required to follow the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) nor is the FAA, the U.S. Mint and other agencies. This effectively means aspects of the FAR, say for example, the Small Business Act, do not apply to these agencies, including anything related to the SBA Certificate of Competency program.
I'm sorry to see a small business lose business as in this case, but they could at least have saved themselves the time and expense of a GAO protest (and winding up in Steve's blog!) had they known more about the rules in play when dealing with GPO and similar agencies. A little "Ethical Stalking for Government Contractors™" could go a long way!
Peace.The Chief Visionary
"The person who says it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it."