19.505Rejecting Small Business Administration recommendations.
(a) If the contracting officer rejects a recommendation of the SBA procurement center representative (or, if a procurement center representative is not assigned, see 19.402(a)) or breakout procurement center representative, written notice shall be furnished to the appropriate SBA representative within 5 working days of the contracting officer's receipt of the recommendation.
(b) The SBA procurement center representative (or, if a procurement center representative is not assigned, see 19.402(a)) may appeal the contracting officer's rejection to the head of the contracting activity (or designee) within 2 working days after receiving the notice. The head of the contracting activity (or designee) shall render a decision in writing, and provide it to the SBA representative within 7 working days. Pending issuance of a decision to the SBA representative, the contracting officer shall suspend action on the acquisition.
(c) If the head of the contracting activity agrees that the contracting officer's rejection was appropriate—
(1) Within 2 working days, the SBA procurement center representative (or, if a procurement center representative is not assigned, see 19.402(a)) may request the contracting officer to suspend action on the acquisition until the SBA Administrator appeals to the agency head (see paragraph (f) of this section); and
(2) The SBA must be allowed 15 working days after making such a written request, within which the Administrator of SBA—
(i) May appeal to the Secretary of the Department concerned; and
(ii) Must notify the contracting officer whether the further appeal has, in fact, been taken. If notification is not received by the contracting officer within the 15-day period, it is deemed that the SBA request to suspend the contract action has been withdrawn and that an appeal to the Secretary was not taken.
(d) When the contracting officer has been notified within the 15-day period that the SBA has appealed to the agency head, the head of the contracting activity (or designee) shall forward justification for its decision to the agency head. The contracting officer shall suspend contract action until notification is received that the SBA appeal has been settled.
(e) The agency head shall reply to the SBA within 30 working days after receiving the appeal. The decision of the agency head shall be final.
(f) A request to suspend action on an acquisition need not be honored if the contracting officer determines that proceeding to contract award and performance is in the public interest. The contracting officer shall include in the contract file a statement of the facts justifying the determination, and shall promptly notify the SBA representative of the determination and provide a copy of the justification.