Snowe questions GSA IT infrastructure contract

The General Services Administration should reconsider a decision not to set aside its massive global IT infrastructure contract to small businesses certified under the Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) program, according to one key senator.

In an Oct. 25 letter to GSA administrator Lurita Doan, Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), chairman of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, said the agency has unfairly inhibited several small firms from bidding on the $500 million GSA Infrastructure Technology Global Operations (GITGO) acquisition vehicle.

'By not setting this contract aside for HUBZone firms, your agency significantly expanded the field of bidders to a pool where non-HUBZone firms predominate,' Snowe wrote. 'As a result, the ability of HUBZone firms to win GITGO work will be greatly diluted.'

GSA released a draft of the GITGO solicitation in late September. The agency said it will award the governmentwide acquisition contract under the 8(a) Streamlined Technology Acquisition Resources for Services program.

Snowe said that by not setting the contract aside under the HUBZone program, many small businesses will not be able to participate.

'I believe that this decision runs contrary to the HUBZone provisions of the Small Business Act and implementing regulations,' she wrote. 'It creates an uneven playing field for small businesses operating in HUBZones across the country, putting these small businesses that drive our nation's economy at a strong disadvantage when competing for information technology work from your agency.'

Maine contains many companies that qualify for the HUBZone program, Snowe said, noting that nine of 16 counties in the state currently qualify.

Also, Snowe asked that Doan, in her response, detail GSA's acquisition strategy for review by the Small Business Administration and her plans for bolstering small business participation in other GWACs.

GSA officials were not immediately available for comment.

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