GSA and Air Force partner to look at savings in GSA contracts

August 21, 2014 by

The General Services Administration and the Air Force established a working group to help identify ways to save money on enterprise-wide contracts, an Aug. 18 GSA blog post says.

The working group will look into which GSA contracts the Air Force can use to cut costs, but still complete its mission, the blog post says.

Those GSA contracting vehicles include strategic sourcing initiatives, reverse auctions, the Global Supply Special Order Program and its One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services contracts.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/gsa-and-air-force-partner-look-savings-gsa-contracts/2014-08-20

Contractors charged with fraud head to court

August 20, 2014 by

Two men who prosecutors claim bilked the government out of $23.4 million in construction contracts meant for disabled veterans could face prison if convicted in a trial starting on Monday of this week in Des Moines.

Ram Hingorani and Ronald Waugh pleaded not guilty last year to 32 counts of fraud and money laundering connected to bids that their company, Midwest Contracting, made for projects for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in Des Moines, as well as work at Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska.

The pair’s alleged scheme is similar to others across the United States that have used so-called pass-through companies, federal prosecutors wrote in the indictment. Defense attorneys, however, say the VA was happy with the company’s work and there was no intent to harm the government.

Midwest Contracting won contracts for 45 projects designated for businesses owned by disabled veterans, according to the federal indictment. Congress in 1999 established an annual goal that 3 percent of government contracts across all departments would go to such businesses.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/news/crime-and-courts/2014/08/18/contractors-fraud-trial-start/14217137/

GSA awards 95 percent of OS3 contracts

August 18, 2014 by

The General Services Administration (GSA) has awarded 95 percent of its contracts for the third iteration of the Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative for Office Supplies, an Aug. 12 GSA statement says.

GSA issued 21 FSSI OS3 contracts, with 20 of them going to small businesses and there’s potential for more small business contracts pending further review, the emailed statement says.

FSSI OS3 is meant to save the federal government money on everyday office supplies like pens, paper and printing items by providing agencies with a list of vendors with already negotiated prices.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/gsa-awards-95-percent-os3-contracts/2014-08-12

Lawmakers, contractors divided over executive orders

August 15, 2014 by

President Obama’s executive order cracking down on federal contractors who have violated labor laws have divided lawmakers, federal employee groups and contractors over how effective it will be in deterring abuses.

President Obama signed an executive order July 31 requiring federal contractors to disclose any labor law violations and for agencies to take that into account when awarding contracts.

The Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces executive order affects contracts valued at more than $500,000 and will be implemented in stages during 2016, according to the administration.

The executive order also provides a range of rules and guidance for agencies and contractors.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20140805/ACQ/308050020/Lawmakers-contractors-divided-over-executive-orders

Will the Government shred your contract after a hack?

August 14, 2014 by

Contractors are concerned they might lose government business for coming forward about suspected internal data breaches, after the unprecedented decision by two departments to halt contracts with a hacked background investigation firm.

It is believed the personal information of Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees likely was compromised when a suspected nation state penetrated a USIS corporate network.  USIS conducts personnel investigations on behalf of many agencies, including the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).  DHS and OPM temporarily ceased some jobs with USIS after the incident.

OPM did not pause work as a punishment, but rather as a way to protect federal employees until more details about the intrusion are known, agency officials told Nextgov on Friday, August 8, 2014.  But officials said they do not host information with USIS on the same system DHS uses.

DHS has issued stop work orders to temporarily halt activities that involve personal information, until the department can assess the full scope of the potential intrusion and repairs, Homeland Security officials told Nextgov.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.nextgov.com/cybersecurity/2014/08/will-government-shred-your-contract-after-hack/91049

Executive order will mandate federal contractors report labor law violations

August 13, 2014 by

Contractors will have to report any labor law violations to federal agencies under an executive order signed by President Obama July 31, 2014.

Contractors will need to disclose any labor law violations from the past three years before a contract can be awarded to them. Violations include family and medical leave, collective bargaining and wages.

The order would also charge agencies with taking contractor labor law violations into account when awarding contracts.

Only contracts valued at more than $500,000 would be affected and the order will be implemented in 2016.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/executive-order-will-mandate-federal-contractors-report-labor-law-violation/2014-08-04

House bill seeks to reform federal IT acquisition, expand competition to smaller firms

August 8, 2014 by

A new bipartisan House bill seeks to reform how the federal government buys IT goods and services and also make it easier for smaller firms to compete for federal contracts.

The Reforming Federal Procurement of Information Technology, or RFP-IT Act was introduced July 30, 2014.   The legislation proposes to enhance competition for government IT contracts, promote innovation, and strengthen accountability by creating a new government office.

According to its sponsors, the bill will improve competition by expanding the number of contracts using a simplified process that makes it easier for small and innovative firms to bid. The process will shorten lead times on contracts, cut administrative costs, and create a larger pool of bidders for federal contracts, the bill’s authors claim.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernmentit.com/story/house-bill-seeks-reform-federal-it-acquisition-expand-competition-smaller-f/2014-07-31

Where the heck are the SBA SDVOSB mentor-protégé programs?

August 7, 2014 by

A recent Gallup poll puts Congress’s approval rating at 15 percent (which is actually up six points since November).

But service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses (SDVOSBs) hoping to participate in strong federal mentor-protégé programs shouldn’t blame Congress, which has twice passed legislation authorizing — and in one case requiring — the SBA to create or strengthen federal mentor-protégé programs affecting SDVOSBs.

Instead, it is the SBA that has dragged its feet, leaving SBVOSBs to wonder if and when 8(a) firms’ monopoly on SBA mentor-protégé programs will end.

Keep reading this article at: http://vetlikeme.org/where-the-heck-are-the-sba-sdvosb-mentor-protege-programs 

Contractors affected by recent hikes in Service Contract Act’s health & welfare rates must file timely claims

August 5, 2014 by

On federal contracts subject to the Service Contract Act, the prevailing health and welfare (H&W) fringe benefit rate was increased, effective July 22, 2014, to $4.02 per hour.  (One exception: The new benefit rate in Hawaii is $1.66.)

The new H&W rate applies to all invitation for bids opened, or other service contracts awarded on or after July 22, 2014.

Contracting offices are to include a new wage determination reflecting the new H&W rate to trigger the contractor’s obligation to pay the higher H&W rate. Contracting offices may make “pen and ink” changes to the current wage determinations received for contracts beginning on or after July 22, 2014 and for which the updated rates were not included.

Once the contracting authority provides a new wage determination, contractors must submit — within 30 days of the change – any claim for an equitable adjustment as a result of increased costs attributable to wage determination rate changes.

SBA announces federal government met its small business goal in FY13

August 4, 2014 by

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) announced on August 1, 2014 that the federal government reached its small business federal contracting goal for the first time in eight years, awarding 23.39% in federal contracts to small businesses totaling $83.1 billion of eligible contracting dollars.  The government’s annual small business contracting goal is 23%.

The SBA’s report is for FY13, or the 12-month period ending September 30, 2013.

“When we hit our small business procurement target, it’s a win.  Small businesses get the revenue they need to grow and create jobs, and the federal government gets the chance to work with some of the most responsive, innovative and nimble companies in the U.S. while the economy grows,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet.

Performance in four out of five of the small business prime contracting categories showed significant improvement, with increases in performance against statutory goals. While contract dollars have gone down in all categories as a result of overall reduced federal spending, small businesses still secured a greater percentage of the contracting dollars.

FY13 Government-Wide Small Business Contracting - Goals and Actual

Alongside the announcement, the SBA released its FY 2013 Small Business Procurement Scorecard, which provides an assessment of each federal agency’s yearly small business contracting achievement against its goal.   Overall, the federal government received an “A” on SBA’s government-wide Scorecard.   Twenty individual agencies receiving an A or A+.   Three agencies were given a B.  One agency, the Department of Energy, received a failing grade, awarding only 7% of its contracts to small businesses in FY13.

The individual agency scorecards released by the SBA, as well as a detailed explanation of the scorecard methodology, is available online at http://go.usa.gov/Nxxd.