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Recertification may be required on task orders.

A contracting officer may require a company to recertify its small-business status on a task order issued under a multiple-award contract, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims has ruled.

Judge Nancy Firestone said a task order under a multiple-award, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract is a separate procurement and a recertification requirement is within the contracting officer's discretion.

GSA requires a company to recertify its small-business eligibility on Federal Supply Schedules only when an option is exercised, generally every five years. SBA has proposed requiring annual recertification, but no final rule has been adopted.

This case involved the Air Force's Training Systems Acquisition II contract for maintenance of flight simulation equipment. Five small businesses and six large ones competed for task orders under the contract.

The order at issue was set aside for small businesses. The contracting officer said LB&B Associates Inc. must recertify that it qualified as a small firm at the time it submitted its offer.

LB&B acknowledged that it had outgrown the size standard, but argued that an IDIQ contract was just like any other contract: once a company certified its small-business status, it was considered a small business for the life of the contract.

SBA's Office of Hearings and Appeals disagreed, saying the re-certification was proper.

Judge Firestone sided with OHA. Although in "ordinary contract situations" a small business contractor is considered small for the life of the contract, the court said, "the Small Business Administration has recognized, in connection with other types of multi-award contracts, that contracting officers retain the discretion to require re-certification of small business status as of the time of the new contract."

Judge Firestone wrote, "Indeed, the OHA decision gives meaning to the SBA's policy goal of ensuring that small business set aside contracts are in fact awarded to small businesses."

The case is LB&B Associates Inc. v. U.S. and Sytronics Inc.
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Publication:Set-Aside Alert
Date:Jan 13, 2006
Words:316
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