Gammon acknowledged that Easter Seals, relying on its previous experience with federal contracts, may have been a bit naive in assuming it was eligible to bid on this one. He's hoping other bidders fall short.
"I cannot imagine anybody else can do the same thing for the same kind of money. Easter Seals puts a lot of its own money and resources into this," he said. "I just have my fingers crossed that nothing else is going to measure up."
While officials disagree about how and when the details of the new process emerged, there's no disagreement among the partners about the quality of Easter Seals' work.
"As far as their track record and the service they provide, it's been very good," Heilshorn said. "In fact, our program manager said Easter Seals is the most flexible, efficient and effective contractor we work with when it comes to providing the services we need."
U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Kelly Ayotte, who have been strong advocates for the program, echoed that sentiment without taking a position on whether the cooperative agreement should be extended.
"While it's the NHNG's decision whether to extend the cooperative agreement, Easter Seals and its partners in New Hampshire have done exceptional work in implementing DCSP for the past several years," they said in a joint statement.
Hassan's spokesman said the governor appreciates the law's goal of helping veteran-owned businesses and small businesses but thinks an exception is warranted.
"With their leadership abilities and unique skill sets, veterans make significant contributions to our civilian workforce and economy when they return home, but broad, rigid bureaucratic policies can sometimes lead to ridiculous results," William Hinkle said. "Gov. Hassan believes this is one of those cases."
The program gets about $1 million in federal funding and a private organization, Veterans Counts, raises another $1 million. Gammon said if Easter Seals doesn't get the contract, it will try to continue in some fashion.
"We're very committed to veterans and the population we're serving," he said. "We won't give up."