Friday, January 11, 2019

Once You've Graduated, You Cannot Go Back

Graduation day is a good thing. Why would someone want to keep hanging around the old haunts after graduation? Wouldn't that be a little weird?

That's what Miracorp wants to do. Back in July of last year, DOE (Energy) issued a solicitation for administrative support services. The solicitation was set aside for companies in SBA's 8(a) program. Miracorp was the incumbent contractor but had graduated from the 8(a) program the prior February. After DOE eliminated Miracorp from competition because it was no longer an 8(a) contractor, the company appealed to the GAO  (Government Accountability Office).

GAO denied the protest on the grounds that Miracorp was not an "interested party" because it was not a member of the 8(a) program. Miracorp acknowledged that although it had graduated, it retained its 8(a) status because it was an 8(a) company when the original multiple-award contract was awarded.

GAO (and SBA) didn't agree. The agencies explained that to be an eligible 8(a) concern, the firm must be a current 8(a) participant as of the date specified for receipt of offers contained in the request for quotations for the order. Miracorp was not an 8(a) participant on the dated specified in the RFQ for receipt of quotations and therefore not eligible to receive the order.

The purpose of the 8(a) program is not to encourage entities to feed from the public trough forever. Companies get up to nine years to bid on contracts restricted to small disadvantaged businesses during which time the experience and seed money should be sufficient to give them a chance for success without the Government incentives.

You can read the full GAO decision here.

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