Fox News: VA Contracting

Veteran Says VA Refuses to Give Wounded Warriors Preference When Granting  Contracts

A government investigation is seeking a response from the Department of  Veterans Affairs after the agency allegedly failed to follow a law that would  have it set aside work for qualifying firms owned by disabled veterans.

The U.S. Government  Accountability Office began its probe after a complaint filed by former  Marine Rodney Marshall, who runs a commercial supply business in Portage, Mich.,  after returning from the Persian Gulf War with injuries to his knees, hips and  back, according to a report by McClatchy Newspapers.

Rodney, 40, filed his protest with GAO after becoming frustrated by not being  able to seek a pair of VA supply contracts because the bidding was restricted.   Marshall says the VA failed to follow a 2006 law – known as “Veterans  First” – that requires the agency to set aside work for qualifying,  service-disabled, veteran-owned firms.

Marshall was trying to get a contract to supply kitchen equipment to some  veterans hospitals.

After an investigation, the GAO agreed with Marshall. The VA now has two  months to respond to the GAO’s recent findings.

An internal VA memo dated Oct. 17 and obtained by McClatchy states that,  because the GAO is part of the legislative branch, the VA was not bound by its  decision. It said the issue would likely be decided by the courts.

“The GAO recommendation does not change how VA will acquire goods and  services in support of its mission,” the memo stated.

The VA also noted that it awards more contracts to service-disabled,  veteran-owned businesses than other federal agencies. They received $3.1 billion  in VA contracts in fiscal 2010 of the more than $15 billion worth of business  the agency does.

Marshall’s company, Aldevra, has one kitchen supply contract with the VA,  apart from the others he has been unable to win.

“It’s been an ongoing battle,” said Frank Clay, a service-disabled veteran  and VA contractor from Olathe, Kan. “Out of all the federal agencies, they (the  VA) should rule in favor of the set-aside and try to make the process  better.”

Clay, whose Clay Group company distributes medical and janitorial products,  said he doesn’t understand why the agency isn’t embracing “the spirit” of the  2006 law.

“The irony is, this is the Department of Veterans Affairs,” Clay said.

 [Frank Clay, Jr. is Chairman of the Board of the Federal Allies Institute.]

Read more:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: