Protests can also be brought at the agency, and we have done so when appropriate. In addition, some agencies have their own protest forums. For instance, protests involving procurements by the Federal Aviation Administration can be heard by that agency’s Office of Dispute Resolution for Acquisition. Also, disputes about matters related to procurement programs of the U.S. Small Business Administration are resolved through an administrative process of that agency ,including the assignement of NAICS codes. Appeals from lower-level decision-makers are handled by SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals. We have experience with the protest process for small business, HUBZone status and service-disabled veteran-owned status. For instance,
- A decision by SBA’s Office of Hearings and Appeals threatened to deny our client, a newly-organized small business, two critical contracts. Because the decision was defective, SBA settled a suit objecting to it in Federal district court. The settlement preserved the company’s small business size status, and received both contracts. Later, a competitor filed suit, and the court upheld the terms of the settlement against its objections. The case history is discussed in Size Appeal of American Systems Engineering Corp., SBA No. 2405 (1986).
- An 8(a) contract under which the awardee was a mere conduit for the products of a large business was ruled illegal. Our client had been precluded from participating in the procurement, after the contract was unlawfully added to the 8(a) program. Cal Western Packaging Corp. v. Collins, No. 80-2548 (D.D.C. 1982), cited in Computer Data Systems, Inc.–Recon., B-205521 et al., July 26, 1982, 82-2 CPD ¶ 75.3