With every new administration, there is both great uncertainty and opportunity in federal government contracting. To help you navigate the rough seas of doing business with the federal government in this new administration, we have assembled nationally recognized practitioners who will cover topics relevant to government contractors large and small, novice and seasoned. Session topics include:
– Ten Things Every Contractor Needs to Know When Doing Business with the Federal Government
James F. Nagle | Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker LLP | Seattle, WA
 
– Writing a Winning Technical Proposal – From the Contracting Officer’s Perspective
Mona Carlson, Mary Jo Juarez | PTAC Kitsap Economic Dvlpmnt. Alliance – Navy Contracting Officer (retired) | Kitsap, WA
 
– Keys to Winning Bid Protests and Defending Contract Awards
Adam K. Lasky | Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker LLP | Seattle, WA
 
– Navigating the Complex Rules Governing Data Rights
Jonathan M. Baker | Crowell & Moring LLP | Washington D.C.
 
– Overlooked Risks of Being a Lower-Tier Government Contractor
Alan C. Rither | Pacific Northwest National Laboratory | Richland, WA
 
– Mistakes to Avoid in the Claims and Litigation Process
Donald G. Featherstun | Seyfarth Shaw LLP | San Francisco, CA
 
– Adapting to Buy American and Domestic Preference Rules in the Trump Administration
Howard W. Roth | Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker LLP | Seattle, WA
 
– Understanding & Managing the Risk of Suspension & Debarment
Dominique L. Casimir | Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholler LLP | Washington D.C.

Thursday, November 16th 

SEATING IS VERY LIMITED AND WILL GO QUICKLY!
You may also attend via WEBINAR

Register for seminar or webinar at www.washingtonptac.org/seminar

Click HERE to see the event flyer.

 SEATTLE AGC BUILDING
Second-floor conference room
1200 Westlake Avenue North – Seattle WA 98109
Parking will be validated.

060110-N-3019M-001In a decision publicly released June 5, 2017, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) ruled in favor of Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker LLP’s (“Oles Morrison”) client, TOTE Services, Inc. (TOTE), in a bid protest challenging the U.S. Navy – Military Sealift Command’s (MSC) award of $32 million O/M contract for the Sea-Based X-Band Radar (SBX-1).  The SBX-1 is the floating, self-propelled, mobile radar system used by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency to detect and track incoming ICBMs fired at the United States.

GAO sustained TOTE’s protest, holding that MSC had committed multiple errors in the evaluation of the awardee’s past performance.  Namely, MSC improperly credited the awardee for relevant performance without considering the quality of that performance, and credited the awardee for positive performance without considering its relevance.  GAO also held that MSC lacked a reasonable basis to conclude that the awardee’s singular past performance contract of its own was “very relevant.” Continue Reading Oles Morrison’s Government Contracts Team Wins GAO Bid Protest Challenging Award of O/M Contract for Missile Defense Radar Vessel – SBX-1

cropped-cropped-cropped-web-header1Oles Morrison attorney, Adam K. Lasky,  has been invited to present at the Alliance Northwest 2017 Conference on Thursday, March 19 at the Washington State Fairgrounds Showplex. His presentation, “A Contractor’s Guide to Mitigating Negative Past Performance Reviews” will provide contractors with a roadmap for dealing with negative past performance reviews, including best practices for collecting CPARS, responding to and disputing negative CPARS, and drafting proposals and creating teaming arrangements to mitigate negative CPARS. The presentation will also explore the availability of monetary damages for unfair negative CPARS.

The Alliance NW Conference is the premier government contracting event in the Northwest, bringing together over 750 prime contractors, government agencies and small businesses for a full day of relationship building and educational opportunities. For a schedule of events and activities at the conference, or to register for the conference, click here. Readers of The Procurement Playbook can receive $20 off their registration fee of $115 with the code “FriendANW2017.” 

14076937585_ca93f6db1a_kAs past performance reviews become an increasingly important part of the bid evaluation process, the performance assessments catalogued in the Contractor Performance Assessment Reporting System (“CPARS”) will have greater significance than ever before. CPARS reviews generally set forth the Government’s evaluation of a contractor’s performance based on several factors, including quality of performance, adherence to performance schedule, cost control, and management capabilities. While each assessment is theoretically based on objective facts and data, it is not unheard of for contractors to receive biased, inaccurate, or misleading evaluations. These unfair assessments can substantially damage a contractor’s prospect for securing future Government contract awards, but contractors currently have limited avenues to address them.

The strongest remedy available in recent years has been a declaration from the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals (“ASBCA”) or the Court of Federal Claims (“COFC”) that the evaluation was arbitrary and capricious together with a remand to the contracting officer with “proper and just” instructions, but this remedy does not necessarily scrub the negative review from CPARS. However, the ASBCA may have left the door open for a new type of remedy available to contractors who receive an unfair CPARS assessment. Continue Reading ASBCA Opens the Door to Contractors Seeking Monetary Damages for Unfair CPARS Reviews

Yesterday, we provided an overview of eleven of the biggest changes coming as a result of SBA’s release of its final rule expanding the mentor-protégé program to all small business.  One of the changes we noted was that, in small business set-asides procurements, agencies will be required to consider projects performed by the individual members of a mentor-protégé joint venture offeror when evaluating experience/past performance.

Today we dissect this specific change, and examine whether it actually benefits mentor-protégé joint ventures.  Arguably, this change does more harm than good to mentor-protégé joint ventures.

The Good

One thing the new rule solves is that it prohibits agencies from limiting consideration to projects performed by the joint venture itself when evaluating the experience/past performance of a joint venture offeror in a small business set-aside.  While such restrictions (as ridiculous they were) were sometimes upheld by GAO when protested, these restrictions were not common, and when an agency lacked a legitimate reason for these restrictions they were often found unduly restrictive of competition and improper by GAO.  So, since these restrictions were not common place, and often an agency voluntarily lifted such restrictions if protested, the benefit to mentor-protégé joint ventures from this new rule may be rather limited.

The Bad

On the other hand, the new rule does not solve, and possibly worsens, a related and more pressing problem for mentor-protégé joint ventures in experience evaluations — where the agency considers the experience of both the mentor and protégé, but then downgrades the joint venture’s experience rating on account of the protégé’s lack of experience (despite the fact that the mentor has plenty of experience).   Continue Reading Dissecting the Changes to SBA’s Mentor-Protégé Program: Do the New Past Performance/Experience Rules for Joint Ventures Actually Benefit Mentor-Protégés?

One might assume that if the top two proposals in a best-value procurement receive the same ratings on all non-price factors, the proposals are obviously equal in technical merit and the award must go to the lower priced proposal.  However, this assumption would be incorrect.  And, as GAO recently pointed out in CPS Professional Services, LLC, B-409811, B-409811.2, August 13, 2014, source selection officials who make this assumption put their contract awards at risk of being overturned by a bid protest.

The CPS Professional Services, LLC protest involved a solicitation issued by the Department of Homeland Security Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) for school certification support services, to be awarded on a best value trade-off basis (three equal factors: price, past performance and technical approach).  ICE received quotes from two firms (CPS and Arc Aspicio), and after evaluating each quotation assigned both firms the same ratings on both non-price factors (Technical Approach: Good; Past Performance: Low Risk).  ICE then awarded the contract to Arc Aspicio “because both firms received identical ratings under the non-price factors” and “Arc Aspicio submitted a lower-priced quotation than CPS.”

CPS protested the award, arguing that ICE had failed to fairly consider the relative merits of the vendors’ respective past performance in its award decision.  GAO agreed. Continue Reading Two Proposals Receiving Identical Adjectival Ratings are Not Automatically Equal in Merit

In a recent bid protest decision concerning the Department of Energy’s award of legacy management support services award contract, GAO held that the agency acted reasonably when evaluating protestor WSS’s past performance on the incumbent contract by disregarding two Contractor Performance Assessment Reports (“CPARs”), which reflected “exceptional” performance, in favor of a detailed award fee determination reflecting a mix of good and marginal performance. GAO determined that the agency acted reasonably in disregarding the CPARs because

not only were the reports ‘erroneously written and approved by a government employee without the authority or knowledge of the contracting officer and contracting officer representative,’ they were prepared by a person unfamiliar with the contractor’s performance.”

GAO’s discussion of this procurement reflects some serious problems with the CPAR system used for evaluating prime contractor performance on federal contracts. Continue Reading The Danger of Uniformed and Inaccurate CPARs