May 29, 2014 by cs
The SBA is hosting a webcast that will consist of a live demo of three primary federal market research tools to help identify potential contracting opportunities.
The webinar will demonstrate the Federal Procurement Data System (FPDS), FedBizOpps (FBO), and various publicly-available procurement forecasts published by federal agencies.
The one-hour webinar will be held on June 19 at 10:00 am EST.
A call-in number and access code will be emailed to registrants prior to the scheduled webcast.
May 7, 2014 by cs
A bill that would require agencies to do a better job of reporting when they combine what could be smaller contracts into a single solicitation would cost about $1 million over five years, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).
The 2014 Contracting Data and Bundling Accountability Act aims to improve how agencies report their consolidated and bundled contracts. Agencies consolidate contracts by including multiple requirements in a single solicitation, and if the resulting contract becomes unsuitable for small businesses to bid on — because it’s too large or diverse, for instance — it’s considered a bundled contract. Agencies are supposed to identify and then justify the move when they’ve either consolidated or bundled a contract.
CBO said it believed agency data on consolidated and bundled contracts is already available, but the analysis conceded that the Small Business Administration would require better software to retrieve that data from the Federal Procurement Data System. The software upgrade would cost about $1 million between 2014 and 2019, CBO said.
Small business advocates argue that the real problem is federal procurement officials are not properly reporting their consolidated contracts.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.nextgov.com/cio-briefing/2014/04/cost-better-data-bundled-federal-contracts/83164
April 28, 2014 by cs
For the first time in seven years, all federal agencies in fiscal 2013 met their goals of steering 23 percent of contracting to small businesses, according to panelists at an industry conference on Thursday, Apr. 24, 2014.
Emily Murphy, senior counsel for the House Small Business Committee, in a discussion on legislation and the Small Business Administration’s rulemaking progress, made the disclosure and suggested that SBA is tardy in making the announcement.
Her co-panelist, Kenneth Dodds, SBA’s director of policy, planning and liaisons, said the announcement “deadline is soft,” and that the score card is still being readied.
The Small Business conference was staged by the American Council for Technology-Industry Advisory Council and is intended as an opportunity for small business contractors to interact with agency representatives on how to qualify and win more work.
April 24, 2014 by cs
Five California-based masonry subcontractors and two individuals paid the government nearly $1.9 million to resolve allegations that they violated the False Claims Act by misrepresenting their disadvantaged small business status in connection with military construction contracts, the Department of Justice announced on April 9, 2014. The defendants are Frazier Masonry Corp., F-Y Inc., CTI Concrete & Masonry Inc., Masonry Technology Inc., Masonry Works Inc., Russell Frazier and Robert Yowell.
“This settlement demonstrates our continuing vigilance to ensure that those doing business with the military do so legally and honestly and that taxpayer funds are not misused,” said Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division Stuart F. Delery. “Among the rules that military contractors and subcontractors must follow are those relating to the use and hiring of small businesses.”
The case involved contracts to construct facilities at Marine Corps bases at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and Camp Pendleton, Calif. Under the rules of the Small Business Administration, the contracts required that a certain percentage of the work be performed by disadvantaged small businesses. This contract requirement was intended to benefit small firms owned by women, minorities and other disadvantaged groups.
The government alleged that the defendant masonry subcontractors and their principals misrepresented to the prime contractors that they were small businesses, and that these misrepresentations caused the prime contractors to falsely certify that they had complied with the small business provisions of the contracts in claiming payment. Russell Frazier previously pleaded guilty in related criminal proceedings to causing false statements.
The settlement resolves allegations filed in two lawsuits by Rickey Howard, a former employee of Frazier Masonry Corp., in federal court in Raleigh, N.C. The lawsuits were filed under the qui tam, or whistleblower, provisions of the False Claims Act, which permit private individuals to sue on behalf of the government for false claims and to share in any recovery. The act also allows the government to intervene and take over the action, as it did in this case. Howard will receive $393,383.
The cases are captioned United States ex rel. Howard v. Harper Construction Co., et al., Case No. 7:12-CV-215-D (E.D.N.C.) and United States ex rel. Howard v. RQ Construction LLC, et al., Case No. 7:13-CV-48-D (E.D.N.C.). The claims resolved by the settlement are allegations only; there has been no determination of liability. More details at: http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2014/April/14-civ-357.html.
April 17, 2014 by cs
The General Services Administration (GSA) failed to assess the negative impact that the Office Supplies 3 (OS3) strategic sourcing contract would have on small businesses, a Small Business Administration (SBA) analysis says.
Under the Small Business Act, agencies must determine whether new consolidated contracts would negatively affect small businesses, and the SBA is tasked with making sure the agencies execute the determination properly.
SBA undertook the analysis at the Government Accountability Office’s request after several small businesses protested to the OS3 request for proposals, saying GSA failed to look into the economic consequences of the businesses who don’t receive an OS3 award. FedNewsRadio posted a copy (pdf) April 7.
In response to the protests, GSA argued that the OS3 contract is a follow-on contract to the OS2 and not a consolidated contract. GSA also said it’s “contrary to law” to provide an economic analysis on the negative impacts a consolidate contract would have on small businesses.
SBA disagrees on both points.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.fiercegovernment.com/story/sba-says-gsa-failed-assess-negative-impact-os3-small-businesses/2014-04-08
April 14, 2014 by cs
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Shoultz, president of Florida-based Frazier Engineering.]
For more than 20 years, Frazier Engineering had a strong commercial and municipal/county government customer base that comfortably sustained our small business.
But as the economy changed, we knew we had to change.
We decided to pursue unique certifications that would enable us to compete for federal work in a smaller competitive pool certifications such as 8(a), Disadvantaged Business Enterprise/DBE and Minority Business Enterprise/MBE).
Through the Small Business Administration 8(a) program, we were given opportunities that we would not have had before. However, if we did not already have the knowledge and manpower to support the requirements of those opportunities, our certification would only have been as good as the paper it was printed on. Our success to date has been the result of a solid team, being financially and technically sound, having a strong work history, and being actively responsive.
I’d like to share some lessons we’ve learned over time.
As a small-to-midsize, growing business leader, I would definitely recommend the time and effort involved in pursuing government contracts.
Keep reading this article at: http://www.floridatoday.com/story/money/business/2014/04/01/business-money-edge-chamber/7146529/
April 8, 2014 by cs
Braulio Castillo, the president of IT contractor Strong Castle, was arrested April 1 by Loudon County, Va., authorities and charged with first degree murder in the death of his estranged wife, Michelle.
Castillo gained notoriety as a result of a June 2013 hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that examined the validity of the service-disabled veteran-owned small business (SDVOSB) status enjoyed by the firm he co-owned with his wife.
Castillo’s disability arose from a sports injury incurred at the U.S. Military Academy Preparatory School. Additionally, Castillo’s firm enjoyed a special status as a HUBZone company under a Small Business Administration program that gives preference to firms located in designated neighborhoods. SBA decertified Strong Castle’s HUBZone status in May 2013, while the Department of Veterans Affairs affirmed Strong Castles SDVOSB status last September.
keep reading this article at: http://fcw.com/articles/2014/04/02/castillo-murder-charges.aspx
April 1, 2014 by cs
Members of the House Small Business Committee on Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of several revisions to the Small Business Administration’s new budget proposal, with several lawmakers criticizing the agency for committing too much money to new, unproven programs and too little to fulfilling its underlying responsibilities to small employers.
“By necessity, budgets require hard choices,” Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said during a brief markup of the budget on Tuesday. “To the extent that the SBA… budget request makes hard choices, they ultimately make them in the wrong place.”
Democrats and Republicans on the panel agreed on revisions that would trim $50 million from the agency’s $710 million budget proposal that was published earlier this month as part of the president’s broader spending blueprint. The committee’s recommendations now move to the House Budget Committee for review.
SBA officials maintain that the proposal would ensure that employers have the resources they need to start and grow their businesses, and it would give the department the resources it needs to expand important exporting, capital access and other educational programs. On the agency’s blog earlier this month, Marianne Markowitz, the agency’s acting administrator, said the plan “builds on SBA’s proven track record of assisting America’s small businesses.”
Keep reading this article at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-small-business/house-committee-rips-sba-for-unauthorized-pilot-programs-contracting-woes/2014/03/26/15f84f80-b433-11e3-b899-20667de76985_story.html