Grande Lum will lead a program that has been plagued by fraud and abuse. GAO successfully received HUBZone certifications for three bogus firms in sting operation. SBA administrator promises more oversight of the program.
In part 4 of Federal News Radio’s investigative series ”Discouraged and Disrespected at SBA,” allegations of cronyism and conflict of interest in the acquisition process arise. Over the past year, lawmakers and auditors have raised concerns about the agency’s acquisition practices. SBA officials deny the accusations and say they are strengthening their acquisition processes.
Republican House lawmakers are frustrated and concerned over the draft Executive Order requiring contractors to make campaign contributions public. OFPP’s Dan Gordon declines to answer specific questions about the proposal, but said transparency is key to ensuring trust in the procurement system.
Agency introduces the new Demand Based Model that will focus resources on the products and services agencies need and want the most. GSA plans on closing two schedules and parts of 14 others to new offerors. GSA also will cut vendors who do little or no business on the schedule to help reduce administrative costs.
Some small businesses are calling into question the benefits of the Obama administration’s strategic sourcing initiative. They say the agencies are mandating the use of the office supplies BPA and putting more than 500 Schedule 75 holders at risk of losing their business. GSA, which runs Federal Strategic Sourcing Initiative (FSSI), said there still are plenty of sales to go around as the BPA accounts for less than half of the $1.4 billion office supplies market.
The House Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and the Workforce is searching for answers about the potential impact on competition if the White House mandates the use of strategic sourcing contracts. Four industry associations provided little support for compulsory use, citing potential risks to the government and harm to vendors.
While agencies missed their overall small business goal in 2012, they did meet the governmentwide goals for small disadvantaged businesses and service-disabled veteran-owned small businesses. House Small Business Committee Chairman Sam Graves (R-Mo.) said the results are “unacceptable.”
House Small Business Committee members introduce two bills to ban reverse auctions in many cases and mandate a two-step process to evaluate design and build procurements.
House Small Business and Veterans Affairs committee members plan to introduce a bill Thursday to make the service-disabled veteran-owned small business program less cumbersome, confusing and more transparent.
The Veterans Affairs Department’s decision comes as lawmakers are putting this acquisition concept under more scrutiny. House Veterans Affairs and Small Business Committee lawmakers question whether agencies are getting the best prices and whether they are sacrificing competition. GAO, other experts say OFPP needs to develop a governmentwide policy for reverse auctions.