VA cancels contract award for management of its veteran-owned small business verification program

Back to the drawing board: VA cancels its contract award for management of its veteran-owned small business program

By Jill R. Aitoro for Washington Business Journal        November 22, 2014

Once again, the Department of Veteran Affairs is trying to figure out what company will manage the process of getting veteran-owned small businesses verified.

The agency decided to rescind its September $39.9 million contract award to Monterey Consultants Inc. of Dayton, Ohio, to manage its Center for Veterans Enterprise. That award, the bulk of which was for processing contractor applications to be verified as veteran-owned, which in turn allows them to be able to compete for work set aside by the VA, was protested in September by Loch Harbour Group Inc. of Alexandria.

The VA confirmed in a Nov. 18 court filing that the VA would re-evaluate Loch Harbour’s proposal to determine whether the company qualified for the award. Monterey will no longer be eligible for re-award of the contract, according to the filing, though Monterey executives said that the company is submitting additional information to the VA to counter the protest allegations in hopes that the agency reconsiders its decision.

The VA’s decision to take corrective action led the U.S. Court of Federal Claims to dismiss the protest, which alleged conflict of interest related to other work Monterey performs for the VA under different contracts, questions about Monterey’s status as a veteran-owned small business, and concerns about how the proposals were evaluated — claims that Monterey CEO William Pollard categorically denied.

This is one of two contracts to replace short-term bridge contracts that were awarded to Monterey in December, after the VA ended a three-year contract with Alexandria-based Ardelle Associates without an alternative in place. The second $41.6 million contract for support of the small business programs, which was also awarded to Monterey, remains under protest by GCC Technologies LLC of Oakland, Maryland, for similar grounds to those noted by Loch Harbour.  

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