Yesterday, the GAO issued a decision in Kingdomware Technologies, B-405727, in which it found that the Department of Veterans Affairs improperly sought to fulfill a requirement for subscription and support services from a non-mandatory FSS contract rather than conducting market research to determine if there existed two or more SDVOSB/VOSBs that could perform work. Sound familiar? Yes, its another Aldevra type case. Citing Aldevra, the GAO held that the Veterans Benefits, Health Care and Information Technology Act of 2006 and implementing regulations require the VA to use SDVOSB/VOSB set asides where the statutory prerequisites are met (i.e., the “rule of two”). (You can find the case on GAO’s website).
The VA attempted to argue that the protester, Kingdomware Technologies was not “an interested party” entitled to protest the FSS task order award because it did not submit a quote in response to the RFQ. The GAO disagreed. The GAO held that where a protester is challenging the terms of solicitation and the remedy sought is the opportunity to compete under a revised solicitation, the protester is an interested party even if it did not submit a quote in response to the original solicitation.
This has got to be getting expensive for the VA. The GAO recommended the VA reimburse the protester the costs of filing and pursuing the protest. In both Aldevra and in this protest, those costs are likely to be minimal as businessmen and women do not charge hourly rates or record their time like attorneys do. Had Kingdomware hired a government contracts attorney, (by the way, I know a good one in Northern Virginia), then the VA would have to pay some real money out. And if they had to do this each time. . . , maybe they would reconsider this approach. Because, after all, isn’t this all about money?