Re: The Application of the Randolph-Sheppard Act to Military Dining Contracts (Luke air Force Base)

Resolution: 2019 Resolution 02

WHEREAS, the Randolph-Sheppard Act grants a priority to blind person to operate vending facilities on federal properties for the purposes of expanding economic opportunities for the blind; and,

WHEREAS, in 1974 Congress expanded the priority for blind persons to operate vending facilities on federal property under the Randolph-Sheppard Act by specifying that the priority applies to contracts for cafeterias, subsequently interpreted to include military dining halls; and,

WHEREAS, in March of 2018, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos issued a letter to then Congressman Pete Sessions clarifying that all contracts pertaining to the operation of a cafeteria, including dining facility attendant contracts, are covered by the priority; and,

WHEREAS, multiple arbitration panels and federal courts have confirmed the applicability of eh priority to these contracts; and,

WHEREAS, the Luke Air Force Base announced plans to award to AbilityOne a contract that it characterized as a dining facility attendant contract which was clearly subject to the Randolph-Sheppard priority; and,

WHEREAS, the Arizona Business Enterprise Program was not given an opportunity to bid on this food service; and,

WHEREAS, once the contract is awarded to AbilityOne, it is lost forever to Randolph-Sheppard; and,

WHEREAS, the blind vendors of Arizona and other advocates urged the Arizona Department of Economic Services to file for arbitration pursuant to 34 C.F.R. 395.37 to force Luke Air Force Base to afford the Arizona business Enterprises Program to compete for the contract; and,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Arizona in Convention assembled this 31st day of August, 2019, in the City of Phoenix, Arizona, that this organization urge the Arizona Department of Economic Services to allow the Arizona Rehabilitation Services to file a request with the U.S. Secretary of Education immediately to convene an arbitration panel to resolve this dispute.