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  1. For small businesses and their teammates, few topics in government contracting are as confusing as the limitations on subcontracting for set-aside and socioeconomic sole source contracts. And if that isn’t stressful enough, the “LoS” is an area of heavy enforcement: get it wrong, and a contractor can face major penalties. Wouldn’t it be nice if someone would explain the limitations on subcontracting in plain English? Well, if you’re a PTAC counselor, you’re in luck. On November 5, 2020, Koprince Law LLC Senior Partner Steven Koprince will present a session at the 2020 APTAC Fall Confe
  2. The SBA’s new rule on Consolidation of Mentor-Protégé Programs contained a lot of updates. One of those was concerned the level of control that a lead joint venture member has to have over a joint venture. In particular, SBA now says that the lead venturer doesn’t have to have unequivocal control as the Office of Hearings and Appeals had suggested in the past. The other joint venture partners can have some say in the joint venture, but how much? Earlier this year, we wrote about an OHA decision involving a service-disabled veteran-owned joint venture. The joint venture in question req
  3. SBA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) recently inspected SBA’s 2019-2020 corrective actions to determine whether they had effectively reduced the risks previously found in SBA’s 8(a) Program eligibility determinations. Apparently, the OIG liked what it saw. The SBA’s September 15, 2020, OIG Report explains that the OIG first identified the 8(a) Program’s administration as a “top management challenge” for the SBA in 2003. The OIG’s most recent audits identified two significant internal control weaknesses that allowed improper 8(a) Program certification and continued participation of
  4. SBA's New Rule It's a win for government efficiency. SBA's New Rule is a Win for Government Efficiency By: Edward Bailey Share on linkedin Share on twitter Share on facebook
  5. In many industries, small business status under SBA’s government contracting rules depends on a company’s average annual receipts. But if a company is a member of a joint venture, it can be confusing figuring out which joint venture receipts count toward the company’s small business size. Fortunately, in its recent new rule, SBA has provided two important clarifications. Let’s take a look. “Proportionate Share” Means Workshare Currently, the applicable regulation says, “[f]or size purposes, a concern must include in its receipts its proportionate share of joint venture receip
  6. We’ve made it through another week–well done! I wanted to give a shoutout to the University of Texas San Antonio PTAC. Steven Koprince and I enjoyed discussing some legal updates with them earlier this week. This week, we also explored some key changes from the recent SBA rule on Consolidation of Mentor-Protégé Programs. These included changes regarding replacing the three-in-two joint venture rule, consideration of subcontractor experience, joint venture Facility Security Clearance, and joint venture limitations on subcontracting. But there were a lot of other federal contracting sto
  7. Joint ventures operating under the SBA’s regulations are subject to two work share restrictions: the limitations on subcontracting, which governs work share between the joint venture and its subcontractors) and the so-called “40 percent rule,” which governs work share between the joint venture partners. It can be easy to get confused about how the rules work together. Fortunately, in a new rule published on October 16, SBA has provided some much-needed clarity. First, SBA clarifies how to calculate compliance with the 40 percent rule. In the context of small business joint vent
  8. When required, bid bonds are an essential aspect to a proper bid. Under FAR 52.228-1, they secure the liability of a surety to the government by providing funds to cover the excess costs of awarding to the next eligible bidder if the successful bidder defaults by failing to fulfill these obligations. There is a standard form for bid bonds. Though it’s not required, using the standard form is probably the safest bet to avoid possible rejection of a bid, as one contractor learned the hard way. In a recent decision, Pac. Dredge & Constr., LLC, B-418900 (Sept. 18, 2020), the GAO
  9. I am pleased to announce that Quinten Fisher has joined our team of government contracts attorney-authors here at SmallGovCon. Quinten is an associate attorney with Koprince Law LLC, where his practice focuses on federal government contracts law. Before joining our team, Quinten was at a civil litigation firm in Kansas City, where he worked on cases at the state and federal levels and developed useful legal knowledge and skills that enable him to competently advocate for clients. Check out Quinten’s full biography to learn more about our newest author, and don’t miss his first SmallGovCon
  10. For joint ventures operating under the SBA’s regulations (including SBA-approved mentor-protege joint ventures), dealing with security clearances has been a particularly vexing issue: some contracting officers have insisted that a joint venture (an unpopulated, limited-purpose entity) separately obtain a Facility Security Clearance, even when both joint venture members hold FCLs. Soon, though, joint venturers will be able to stop worrying about obtaining separate FCLs for their unpopulated joint ventures. A new SBA regulation taking effect next month allows a joint venture to rely on the
  11. It’s commonly misunderstood that the FAR requires procuring agencies to consider the capabilities, past performance and experience of an offeror’s proposed subcontractors. Unfortunately, that’s just not true. But now, as part of a comprehensive new final rule, the SBA will require agencies to consider the capabilities, past performance and experience of small business subcontractors in certain cases. Many people believe that the FAR mandates consideration of a subcontractor’s qualifications, particularly past performance. Instead, for negotiated procurements, FAR 15.305(a)(2)(iii)
  12. If you’ve attended one of my presentations on joint ventures over the years, you’ve probably heard me climb up on my soapbox and proclaim that the so-called “three in two” joint venture rule is one of my least favorite rules in government contracting. If you ask me, the rule is both terribly confusing and so easily circumvented as to be largely meaningless. Perhaps the SBA was listening to me and others who strongly dislike the rule, because the the three-in-two rule is going away. Effective November 16, 2020, the SBA will replace the three-in-two rule with a different and much less co
  13. Amidst all the uncertainty that FY 2020 has brought, don’t let your understanding of SBA’s affiliation rules add to that list! Instead, join me and my colleague Steven Koprince for an exciting new learning opportunity. We will be presenting “Affiliations,” a virtual event hosted by the Iowa State University Center for Industrial Research and Service (CIRAS) PTAC. In this webinar, we will demystify the concept of affiliation in government contracts. We will explain (in plain English and using examples for key concepts) SBA’s rules surrounding common ownership and common management, as well
  14. The cold weather we’ve been getting this week might signal the end of the summer tomatoes and basil. But we can start looking forward to fall in earnest. For one thing, my kids are getting excited about Halloween. I hope SmallGovCon readers also have much to be excited about in the beginning of the federal fiscal year. To stay on top of what’s going on in federal contracting, remember to check out our upcoming legal update on October 22, but you can also read on for developments including expiring HUBZone flexibilities, brand name or equal rules, and a report on COVID-19 related loan fraud
  15. As we discussed, in late 2019 the SBA issued a proposed rule that would make a number of significant changes to the mentor-protege programs and other small business contracting rules. Well, the SBA will soon issue its final rule on these changes, so make sure you are aware of the new rules. The rule will be effective 30 days after publication date, and it’s scheduled to be published on October 16, making the effective date November 16 (also note that WOSB changes in section 127.504 will have an October 16 effective date). Here are the main items that the SBA will change under th
  16. Fiscal Year 2020 is officially in the books. For small businesses in government contracting, it was a year of major changes–and many more changes are on their way in FY 2021. On November 22, please join me (virtually!) for “Small Business Contracting Update & 2021 Predictions,” sponsored by the National Contract Management Association, Boston Chapter. I’ll cover the biggest changes in FY 2020, from the HUBZone Program overhaul to WOSB certification to increases in the 8(a) Program economic thresholds. Then I’ll dust off my crystal ball and predict what’s on the way in FY 2021, incl
  17. Recent changes to the FAR increased the simplified acquisition and micropurchase thresholds! For change highlights, check out my video: Have questions? You can reach me here. The post YouTube Tuesday: Simplified Acquisition & Micropurchase Threshold Increase first appeared on SmallGovCon - Government Contracts Law Blog. View the full article
  18. If you’re part of a service-disabled veteran-owned small business, you’ve probably heard of the “extraordinary circumstances” rule–but there’s a lot of confusion out there about what the rule is and how it works. So let’s get right to it. Here are five things you should know about the SDVOSB extraordinary circumstances rule. 1. The extraordinary circumstances rule allows limited negative control by non-service-disabled veterans. To qualify as an SDVOSB for federal contracts, whether under the SBA’s SDVOSB self-certification program or the VA’s SDVOSB verification program, a co
  19. Happy Friday blog readers! Hope you are having a nice week. Kick back and relax with the latest federal contracting updates. This week saw some important federal contracting updates. SBA has increased its size standards for certain industries, among them agriculture, mining, some construction industries, as well as transportation and finance and insurance. Additional stories include a contracting officer sentenced for accepting bribes and GSA working on a new small business IT contract. Read on for the details. Small Business Size Standards: Agriculture, Forestry, Fishing and Hunt
  20. February of 2020 seems like a long time ago, for many reasons. But that was when the official version of the Cybersecurity Maturity Model Certification (CMMC) standards were released. Recently, the DoD issued an interim rule that will update the DFARS to implement the assessment methodology and CMMC framework for DoD procurements as well as add a new requirement for cybersecurity assessment under the NIST SP 800-171 framework. Here are some of the key points. The interim rule will be effective November 30, 2020, which is also the date that comments are due. I suspect there will be a lo
  21. While most of our get-togethers these days involve mask wearing, social distancing, and even virtual happy hours, spending time with friends is a great way to keep spirits light. Unfortunately for one group of friends, their weekly hangouts led GAO to conclude in its recent decision, Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc., B-418835 (Sept. 265, 2020), that NASA had to cancel a more than $650 million deal and start the procurement process all over. Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc. and SGT, LLC both responded to NASA’s RFP No. 80MSFC19R0033, which was issued to acquire ground systems and opera
  22. Ever since the VA set up its SDVOSB verification program, critics of SDVOSB self-certification have been pushing for the government to expand SDVOSB verification government-wide. Now, it might finally happen. Section 831 of the House of Representatives’ version of the Fiscal Year 2021 National Defense Authorization Act would expand SDVOSB verification government-wide, formally rename it “certification,” and transfer certification authority from the VA to the SBA. Here are some of the most important pieces of Section 831: Government-Wide SDVOSB Verification Won’t Happen Ove
  23. Effective 8/31/20 there are two new funding thresholds for federal contractors to be aware of. 1) The micro-purchase threshold (MPT) is raised from $3,500 to $10,000. 2) The increase of the Simplified Acquisition Threshold (SAT) from $150,000 to $250,000. The proposed rule effecting this change, published October 2, 2019, permitted agencies to issue deviations to the MPT and SAT to increase the thresholds. This final rule changes the FAR definitions for these terms found at FAR 2.101. The post 2 New Funding Thresholds appeared first on Centre Law & Consulting. View the full article
  24. GSA ALERT – As of yesterday (Oct 1st, 2020) , the GSA announced they will extend the deadline for industry to update GSA Advantage catalogs to March 31, 2021. The GSA had been contacting all schedule holders advising them to update their GSA Advantage catalogue(s) by October 31, 2020 to reflect acceptance of the GSA MAS consolidation from Mass Mod A812. Vendors awarded a GSA MAS contract are required to submit (via SIP or EDI) an updated GSAAdvantage catalog with the new Schedule number (MAS) and new SIN numbers(s) and update their GSA Price List. If a schedule holder does not update their
  25. We’ve been having some great fall weather here in Kansas this week. From what I’ve heard from others around the country (other than the west coast), the cooler weather has definitely arrived. As you break out your sweaters and pumpkin spice . . . everything, check out the latest government contracting updates. This week’s news included record spending at the end of the fiscal year, a report on the VA’s Medical-Surgical Prime Vendor Program, and updates on the Chinese telecom ban. Federal Government to Conclude Fiscal 2020 With Record Spending [Nextgov] Wisconsin-Based Nonprofit To
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