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19.307 Protesting a firms status as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business concern.

19.307 Protesting a firms status as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business concern.

      (a) Definition. Interested party, as used in this section, has the meaning given in 13 CFR 125.8(b).

      (b)

(1) An offeror that is an interested party, the contracting officer, or the SBA may protest the apparently successful offeror's status as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) concern (see 13 CFR 125.24).

           (2) SBA’s protest regulations are found in subpart D “Protests” at 13 CFR 125.24 through 125.28.

      (c) Protests relating to small business size status are subject to the procedures of 19.302. An interested party seeking to protest both the small business size and service-disabled veteran-owned small business status of an apparent successful offeror shall file two separate protests.

      (d) All protests must be in writing and must state all specific grounds for the protest.

           (1) SBA will consider protests challenging the service disabled veteran-owned status or the ownership and control of a concern if-

                (i) For status protests, the protester presents evidence supporting the contention that the owner(s) cannot provide documentation from the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense determinations, or the U.S. National Archives and Records Administration to show that they meet the definition of “service-disabled veteran” or “service disabled veteran with a permanent and severe disability” as set forth in 13 CFR 125.8; or

                (ii) For ownership and control protests, the protester presents evidence that the concern is not 51 percent owned and controlled by one or more service-disabled veterans. In the case of a veteran with a permanent and severe disability, the protester presents evidence that the concern is not controlled by the veteran, spouse, or permanent caregiver of such veteran.

           (2) Assertions that a protested concern is not a service-disabled veteran-owned small business concern, without setting forth specific facts or allegations, will not be considered by SBA (see 13 CFR 125.25(b)).

      (e) Protest by an interested party.

(1) An offeror shall submit its protest to the contracting officer

                (i) To be received by close of business on the fifth business day after bid opening (in sealed bid acquisitions); or

                (ii) To be received by close of business on the fifth business day after notification by the contracting officer of the apparently successful offeror for negotiated acquisitions).

           (2) Any protest received after the designated time limits is untimely, unless it is from the contracting officer or SBA.

      (f)

(1) The contracting officer shall forward all protests to SBA. The protests are to be submitted to SBA’s Director, Office of Government Contracting, U.S. Small Business Administration, 409 Third Street, SW, Washington, DC 20416 or by fax to 202-205-6390, Attn: Service-Disabled Veteran Status Protest.

           (2) The protest shall include a referral letter written by the contracting officer with information pertaining to the solicitation. The referral letter must include the following information to allow SBA to determine timeliness and standing:

                (i) The solicitation number (or an electronic link to or a paper copy of the solicitation).

                (ii) The name, address, telephone number, fax number, and email address of the contracting officer.

                (iii) Whether the contract was sole-source or set-aside.

                (iv) Whether the protestor submitted an offer.

                (v) Whether the protested concern was the apparent successful offeror.

                (vi) When the protested concern submitted its offer.

                (vii) Whether the acquisition was conducted using sealed bid or negotiated procedures.

                (viii) The bid opening date, if applicable.

                (ix) The date the contracting officer received the protest.

                (x) The date the protestor received notification about the apparent successful offeror, if applicable.

                (xi) Whether a contract has been awarded.

      (g) SBA will notify the protester and the contracting officer of the date SBA received the protest.

      (h) Before SBA decision.

(1) After receiving a protest involving the apparent successful offeror's status as a service-disabled veteran-owned small business concern, the contracting officer shall either-

                (i) Withhold award of the contract until SBA determines the status of the protested concern; or

                (ii) Award the contract after receipt of the protest but before SBA issues its decision if the contracting officer determines in writing that an award must be made to protect the public interest.

           (2) SBA will determine the merits of the status protest within 15 business days after receipt of a protest, or within any extension of time granted by the contracting officer.

           (3) If SBA does not issue its determination within 15 business days, or within any extension of time that is granted, the contracting officer may award the contract after determining in writing that there is an immediate need to award the contract and that waiting until SBA makes its determination will be disadvantageous to the government. This determination shall be provided to the SBA's Director, Office of Government Contracting and a copy shall be included in the contract file.

      (i) After SBA decision. SBA will notify the contracting officer, the protester, and the protested concern of its determination. The determination is effective immediately and is final unless overturned on appeal by SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals (OHA) pursuant to 13 CFR part 134.

           (1) If the contracting officer has withheld contract award and SBA has determined that the protested concern is an eligible SDVOSB or dismissed all protests against the protested concern, the contracting officer may award the contract to the protested concern. If OHA subsequently overturns the SBA Director for Government Contracting’s determination or dismissal, the contracting officer may apply the OHA decision to the procurement in question.

           (2) If the contracting officer has withheld contract award, SBA has sustained the protest and determined that the concern is not an SDVOSB, and no OHA appeal has been filed, then the contracting officer shall not award the contract to the protested concern.

           (3) If the contracting officer has made a written determination in accordance with (h)(1)(ii) or (h)(3) of this section, the contract has been awarded, and SBA’s ruling sustaining the protest is received after award-

                (i) The contracting officer shall terminate the contract, unless the contracting officer has made a written determination that termination is not in the best interests of the Government. However, the contracting officer shall not exercise any options or award further task or delivery orders;

                (ii) The contracting officer shall update the FPDS to reflect the final SBA decision; and

                (iii) The concern must remove its designation in the System for Award Management (SAM) as a SDVOSB concern, and shall not submit an offer as a SDVOSB concern, until SBA issues a decision that the ineligibility is resolved.

           (4) If the contracting officer has made a written determination in accordance with (h)(1)(ii) or (h)(3) of this section and awarded the contract to the protested firm, SBA has sustained the protest and determined that the concern is not a SDVOSB, and a timely OHA appeal has been filed, then the contracting officer shall consider whether performance can be suspended until an OHA decision is rendered.

           (5) If OHA affirms the SBA Director for Government Contracting’s determination finding the protested concern is ineligible-

                (i) The contracting officer shall terminate the contract unless the contracting officer has made a written determination that it is not in the best interest of the Government. However, the contracting officer shall not exercise any options or award further task or delivery orders;

                (ii) The contracting officer shall update the FPDS to reflect OHA’s decision; and

                (iii) The concern shall remove its designation in SAM as a SDVOSB concern, until SBA issues a decision that the ineligibility is resolved or OHA finds the concern is eligible on appeal.

           (6) A concern found to be ineligible may not submit future offers as an SDVOSB concern until the concern demonstrates to SBA’s satisfaction that it has overcome the reason for the protest and SBA issues a decision to this effect.

      (j) Appeals of SDVOSB status determinations. The protested SDVOSB small business concern, the protester, or the contracting officer may file appeals of protest determinations to OHA. OHA must receive the appeal no later than 10 business days after the date of receipt of the protest determination. SBA will dismiss an untimely appeal. See Subpart E “Rules of Practice for Appeals From Service-Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business Concerns Protests” at 13 CFR 134.501 through 134.515 for SBA’s appeals regulations.

      (k) The appeal must be in writing. The appeal must identify the protest determination being appealed and must set forth a full and specific statement as to why the SDVOSB protest determination is alleged to be based on a clear error of fact or law, together with an argument supporting such allegation.

      (l) The party appealing the decision must provide notice of the appeal to-

           (1) The contracting officer;

           (2) Director, Office of Government Contracting, U.S. Small Business Administration, 409 Third Street, SW., Washington, DC 20416, facsimile 202-205-6390;

           (3) The protested SDVOSB concern or the original protester, as appropriate; and

           (4) Associate General Counsel for Procurement Law, U.S. Small Business Administration, 409 Third Street, SW., Washington, DC 20416, facsimile 202-205-6873, or e-mail at OPLService@sba.gov.

      (m) OHA will make its decision within 15 business days of the receipt of the appeal, if practicable. SBA will provide a copy of the decision to the contracting officer, the protester, and the protested SDVOSB small business concern. The OHA decision regarding the status of the concern is final and is binding on the parties.