November 5, 2012 by cs
The General Services Administration may consolidate its 31 Federal Supply Schedules into eight, a top agency official recently said.
GSA has floated the idea to industry groups and customer agencies of reorganizing the supply schedules program to make it easier for government buyers to navigate, Jeff Koses, GSA’s director of acquisition operations, said at a conference of the Coalition for Government Procurement.
“In some ways, schedules have become more complex to navigate than they were 10 to 20 years ago,” Koses said.
November 1, 2012 by cs
President Barack Obama wants to consolidate several federal agencies responsible for items regarding business, he said in a Monday (10/29/2012) interview with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program.
“We should have one secretary of business, instead of nine different departments that are dealing with things like getting loans to SBA (Small Business Administration) or helping companies with exports,” Obama said. “There should be a one-stop shop.”
Obama originally proposed a merger of several business-related in agencies in January by seeking reorganizational authority from Congress.
That plan included placing under one roof the Commerce Department‘s core business and trade functions, the SBA, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, the Export-Import Bank, the Overseas Private Investment Corporation and the Trade and Development Agency.
According to Kent Hoover’s report for the Business Journal, the SBA currently has separate committees in both chambers of Congress, while the chambers also have separate commerce committees.
Also see Romney ridicules ‘secretary of business’ proposed by Obama: http://www.govexec.com/management/2012/11/romney-ridicules-secretary-business-proposed-obama/59215/?oref=govexec_today_nl
October 26, 2012 by cs
The Obama administration’s efforts to reach a congressional goal of steering 5 percent of federal contracting to women-owned small businesses were showcased Wednesday at an unusual forum that brought together Small Business Administration officials; a female contractors advocacy group; and specialists at the Pentagon, the largest awarder of federal contracts.
After two years, SBA’s Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program has fallen short of the 5 percent goal, awarding about 3.4 percent of contracts to women-owned contractors, according to Antonella Pianalto, vice president for government affairs at American Express. The company joined with the advocacy group Women Impacting Public Policy to sponsor the event held in Alexandria, Va., at the Defense Department’s new Mark Center.
Of 205,000 women-owned small businesses, she said, only 1.8 percent gross more than $1 million a year compared with 5.3 percent of all small businesses. But in federal contracting, as many as 42 percent top $1 million, which is a reason she helped launch a “Give me 5 percent” campaign in 2008 to educate women in small business and to make sure they register in a federal database and certify themselves as qualified women-owned entities.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2012/10/sba-and-pentagon-join-forces-boost-women-contracting/59019/?oref=dropdown
October 25, 2012 by cs
“I would probably bring in McKinsey,” Mitt Romney once told the Wall Street Journaleditorial board, explaining how he might, should he win in November, hire management consultants to help shape a presidential cabinet.
Romney, a devotee of corporate culture who began his career at the Boston Consulting Group, promises to transfer that technocratic ethos and private-sector reverence to the Oval Office. Indeed, management consulting firms are already marketing themselves to state and municipal governments as professionals with the necessary business savvy to help manage a downsizing austerity state.
“When crisis strikes consultants are called. Consultants thrive on chaos,” says Tom Rodenhauser, managing director at Kennedy Consulting Research & Advisory, which tracks the industry. “When a municipality is facing huge budget issues, and they can’t solve the problem themselves, they’ll call in consultants and make the tough choices that either politically or practically elected officials can’t make.”
Consultants, like Romney, have the appeal of “real-world” experience which, in early 21st-century America, means experience in the hard-nosed competitive marketplace outside of the public sector’s one-time easy comfort. Since August 2008, the number of public employees has already been cut by 662,000 nationwide. Consultants draw on experience from a private sector that has relentlessly slashed employment, broken unions and outsourced work for decades.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.theatlanticcities.com/politics/2012/10/local-governments-shrink-private-consultants-reap-rewards/3648/
October 16, 2012 by cs
The government has been aggressive in pressing recipients of federal funds to step up their oversight of Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) programs. DBEs, broadly speaking, are small businesses that are majority-owned by women, minorities or certain military veterans. Many federal contracts require participation by DBEs.
Federal regulations also oblige grant recipients to monitor contractors’ compliance with DBE requirements, including that a DBE to whom work is contractually committed is performing a “commercially useful function” — that is, doing the contracted work with its own personnel and resources.
But mounting examples of wrongdoing in DBE programs have called into question the effectiveness of recipients’ oversight.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20121014/ADOP06/310140003/More-oversight-needed-ensure-intended-contracts-go-disadvantaged-firms?odyssey=tab%7Ctopnews%7Ctext%7CAdvice%20&%20Opinion.
October 2, 2012 by cs
The Office of Management and Budget Friday reinforced a Labor Department ruling that federal contractors need not issue notices of impending layoffs to employees related to the looming budget sequester. OMB said agencies would cover contractors’ “liability and litigation costs” related to such notices if they follow Labor’s guidelines.
In a memo to senior finance and procurement officials at agencies, Danny Werfel, OMB’s controller, and Joseph Jordan, head of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, expanded on guidance provided by Labor in July about layoff notices.
In that guidance, Labor officials said contractors should not send warnings of impending layoff notices to their employees in advance of a potential budget sequester in January. Such notices, they said, are not required under the 1988 Worker Adjustment Retraining Notification Act, and in fact are “inconsistent” with the law, according to a policy letter to state workforce agencies issued by Labor officials.
Contractors have expressed concern that the WARN Act, which requires companies to provide 60-day notice to employees of impending mass layoffs, might apply to a budget sequester that could slash federal agencies’ budgets. Labor’s Employment and Training Administration said it does not, largely because it is not clear yet — and may not be clear until the last minute — whether a sequester actually will go into effect.
September 28, 2012 by cs
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) issued three final rules in the Federal Register, effective Oct. 24, 2012, increasing size standards for firms in three North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) Sectors: Real Estate and Rental and Leasing; Educational Services; and Health Care and Social Assistance.
Size standards define the maximum size a firm can be and still be considered a small business. The revised standards reflect changes in marketplace conditions and public comments that SBA received to the proposed rules.
New size standards will enable more businesses in these sectors to obtain or retain small business status; will give federal agencies a larger pool of small businesses from which to choose for their procurement programs; and will make more small businesses eligible for SBA’s loan programs.
SBA increased size standards for businesses in 21 industries in the Real Estate and Rental and Leasing Sector. More than 13,000 additional firms will qualify as small under these new size standards and become eligible for SBA loan and federal procurement programs.
SBA also increased size standards for nine industries for firms in the Educational Services Sector. More than 1,500 additional businesses will qualify as small under the new size standards and become eligible for SBA loan and federal procurement programs.
Size standards for 28 industries were also increased for firms in the Health Care and Social Assistance Sector. More than 4,100 additional firms will qualify as small under these new size standards and become eligible for SBA loan and federal procurement programs.
To review the three rules and public comments, go to www.regulations.gov. Each has a separate RIN number:
- Real Estate and Rental and Leasing – (RIN 3245-AG28)
- Educational Services – (RIN 3245-AG29)
- Health Care and Social Assistance – (RIN 3245‑AG30)
The SBA is reviewing all size standards, and takes into account the structural characteristics of individual industries, including average firm size, the degree of competition, and federal government contracting trends. This ensures that small business size definitions reflect current economic conditions in those industries. Under the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010, SBA will continue its comprehensive review of all size standards for the next several years.
The SBA issued a White Paper entitled “Size Standards Methodology” which explains how SBA establishes, reviews and modifies its receipts-based and employee-based small business size standards. It is available at http://www.sba.gov/size. For the latest about SBA’s revisions to small business size standards, click on “What’s New with Size Standards.”
For a chart with the changes for specific business sectors, click here.
September 27, 2012 by cs
The Obama administration is ahead of schedule on a target it set last year for cutting back on consulting contracts.
Federal awards for consulting, or “management support services,” totaled $13.1 billion in the first half of fiscal 2012, a 28 percent decline from the same period in fiscal 2010, according to procurement data. The administration last year set a goal of reducing such spending by 15 percent in the year ending Sept. 30, compared with 2010 levels.
Federal contracts in 12 targeted consulting areas totaled $43 billion in fiscal 2010, with companies such as Lockheed Martin, Deloitte and Booz Allen Hamilton Holding among the biggest recipients of awards.
“Sometimes agencies are spending money on consultants to write reports that really don’t go anywhere — they sit on the shelf,” Jeff Zients, then-deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, said when he announced the goal. “Some of these contracts are unnecessary and can be reduced.”
September 21, 2012 by cs
The Obama administration has pushed agencies to increase contracting opportunities with small businesses, most notably creating a governmentwide task force to share best practices.Yet the federal government, as a whole, has continued to miss its 23 percent small business contracting goal.
In fiscal 2011, federal agencies spent $91.5 billion on small business contracts but were still $5.4 billion short, reaching 21.7 percent of the 23 percent goal. It was the sixth year in a row the government missed the mark.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.federalnewsradio.com/1011/3021046/Special-Report-Small-business-contracting-goal-remains-elusive.
September 19, 2012 by cs
Suspensions and debarments of companies that violate federal contracting rules have increased across the government over the past three years, rising from just over 1,900 in fiscal 2009 to more than 3,000 in 2011, according to a new report.
In a blog post scheduled for release on Sept. 18, 2012, White House Administrator of Federal Procurement Policy Joe Jordan wrote,“while the vast majority of government contractors compete fairly to deliver the best value to the American people, it is critical that the government take a hard line against those who would defraud taxpayers. This report shows the Obama administration has made significant progress in cracking down on bad actors. Just as significant as the progress are the management actions that underlie it, and indicate an increased agency commitment to protecting taxpayer resources.”
The report, from a coordinating body called the Interagency Suspension and Debarment Committee, follows up on a November 2011 memorandum from then-Office of Management and Budget director Jack Lew directing 24 departments and agencies to step up efforts to combat waste, fraud and abuse, in part by appointing a senior official to be accountable for progress.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2012/09/contractor-suspensions-and-debarments-rise-says-white-house/58175/