Subcontractor’s owner sentenced in Davis-Bacon fraud case

September 8, 2014 by

Davis-Bacon Act fraud has resulted in a criminal sentence for the owner of a now-defunct construction subcontractor.

According to a Department of Justice press release, the subcontractor’s owner has been sentenced to four years of probation (including 18 months of home confinement) and ordered to pay $164,627 in restitution, after pleading guilty to charges of conspiracy to pay employees less than prevailing wages on a federal construction project in Boston.

Isreb operated Taunton Forms, a construction company based in Massachusetts.  In 2006, Suffolk Construction was awarded a GSA prime contract to renovate a federal building in Boston.  Suffolk entered into a subcontract with Taunton Forms to perform certain concrete work on the project.  Suffolk ultimately paid Taunton Forms more than $1 million under the subcontract.

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Family relationship, revenues and subcontracts caused affiliation, says SBA

September 5, 2014 by

A small business was affiliated with companies owned by the business owner’s father and siblings, based on the family relationship and the companies’ ongoing history of doing business together.

In a recent size appeal decision, the SBA Office of Hearings and Appeals held that the small business had not successfully rebutted the regulatory presumption that companies owned by close family members are affiliated, because the small business had earned substantial revenues from the alleged affiliates, and intended to issue a subcontract to both affiliates with respect to the procurement at issue.

SBA OHA’s decision in Size Appeal of Industrial Support Service, LLC, SBA No. SIZ-5576 (2014) involved an Army Corps of Engineers solicitation seeking a contractor to provide certain repair work.  The solicitation was issued as a small business set-aside under NAICS code 238290 (Other Building Equipment Contractors).

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GSA changes plans, will keep service Schedules open after all

September 2, 2014 by

The General Services Administration has figured out a way not to have to temporarily close down its services schedules to new offerors after all.

After Federal News Radio reported the Federal Acquisition Service’s plans to suspend the services schedules to new vendors while it put the pieces in place to give the program a facelift, Tiffany Hixson, FAS’s professional services category executive, said her team has now figured out a way to run both the current schedules and the new consolidated schedule at the same time.

“Since the last time we talked, my team really has been looking at the challenge of closing the schedules even for a short period of time. Industry had quite a few concerns with that part of our acquisition strategy,” Hixson said in a follow-up interview Thursday. “So what we decided to do is open the new professional services schedule at the same time that we are going to be transitioning our existing schedules to our new contract environment. So instead of working our process in serial fashion, we are going to be doing that in parallel fashion and that takes care of the problem. So we do not have to close the schedules, which is a big win for us and also for industry.”

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State, local government IT spending increase is an opportunity for contractors

August 29, 2014 by

State and local government spending on information goods and services is projected to grow at a 3.3 percent rate between now and 2019, increasing to $70 billion from $60.4 billion over that period. This would mark the third consecutive annual forecast of better than 3 percent growth.

However, government contractors looking to make the most of this market may want to pick and choose their business development targets.

State governments are likely to be the most robust consumers in the market. Deltek’s research into state budgets found that state-level IT spending grew almost 5 percent over the past year, and will likely continue at this rate or better over the next few years.

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DOL proposes rule to collect compensation data from federal contractors

August 28, 2014 by

On August 6, 2014, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced a proposed rule that would require most federal contractors and subcontractors annually to submit Equal Pay Reports on employee compensation to the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP). The aim of the proposed rule is to collect summary data on how federal contractors and subcontractors pay their employees, with an eye toward identifying potential gender-based and race-based pay disparities. This marks a significant change in compliance requirements for the federal contractor community because until now, federal contractors were required to disclose compensation data only in OFCCP compliance reviews.

The Equal Pay Report rule comes after President Obama issued a presidential memorandum on April 8, 2014, instructing the Secretary of Labor to propose a rule to collect summary compensation data from federal contractors and subcontractors. The proposed rule would require contractors to provide compensation information for their workforce broken down by sex, race, ethnicity and specified job categories. The rule was published in the Federal Register on August 8, 2014, and all comments must be received by November 6, 2014. After consideration of public comments, the DOL is anticipated to issue a final rule in the first half of 2015.

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How many big contractors are actually posing as small businesses?

August 25, 2014 by

In the sixth of its annual studies, a small business advocacy group has again blasted the government for allegedly awarding contracts to major corporations when policy intends for them to go to legitimate small businesses. The Small Business Administration offered other possible explanations for the apparent discrepancies.

The Petaluma, Calif.-based American Small Business League’s new study of fiscal 2013 procurement data concluded that of the top 100 companies receiving the highest-valued small business federal contracts, “79 were large companies that exceeded the SBA’s small business size standards, five were anomalous and 16 were legitimate small businesses.”

The group’s annual studies also show that the number of top-100 contracting companies that are large firms has risen steadily, from 60 in fiscal 2009 to 84 in fiscal 2013.

The large corporations that received the contracts in question in fiscal 2013 included Lockheed Martin Corp., General Dynamics Corp., Boeing Co., General Electric, Oracle Corp., Apple Inc., Verizon, Bank of America Corp., Citigroup Inc., PepsiCo, Comcast Corp., Intel Corp., John Deere Co. and many more, said the league, which published brief company-by-company profiles.

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GSA applying its IT model to overhaul of services schedules

August 22, 2014 by

The General Services Administration (GSA) wants to make it easier for agencies to buy professional, management, technology and a host of other kinds of services from the schedule contracts. To that end, GSA will consolidate seven different professional services contracts into what could end up being one mega- schedule.

Tiffany Hixson, GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service’s professional services category executive, said the goal is to consolidate the schedules of as many as 500 vendors by November 2015.

“We are really hoping that will make it much easier for federal contracting officers to get those services, in particular where we have a requirement that covers a number of services areas. So instead of having to compete those services across a number of schedules, they will just be able to go to one,” Hixson said in an exclusive interview with Federal News Radio. “We think that will make it a lot more user friendly from a contracting officer perspective. Additionally, we will be able to reduce our administrative overhead, and for our contractors, it will reduce the cost of administering the number of schedules that we’ve got in the professional services area.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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