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Final Regulations Will Strengthen 8(a) Business Development Program for Small Businesses

Friday, February 11, 2011
11-12
Tiffani Clements (202) 401-0035

 

 

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Small Business Administration today published a package of final rules that will revise regulations to strengthen its 8(a) Business Development program to better ensure that the benefits flow to the intended recipients and help prevent waste, fraud and abuse.

The rules were published today in The Federal Register and will become effective in 30 days on March 14, 2011.

The revisions are the first comprehensive overhaul of the 8(a) program in more than 10 years. The regulations incorporate technical changes and substantive changes that mirror existing or new legislation enacted since the last revision in June 1998.

“The 8(a) Business Development Program is an effective tool for providing small businesses with support to help them compete for and win federal government contracts, and in turn put them in the best possible position to drive economic growth and create jobs,” SBA Administrator Karen Mills said. “Through public meetings held in cities throughout the country, SBA gained valuable input from members of the small business community on ways to strengthen the program to provide the best opportunities for eligible firms, while also stepping up efforts to combat waste, fraud and abuse.”

The rules cover a variety of areas of the program, ranging from clarifications on determining economic disadvantage to requirements on Joint Ventures and the Mentor-Protégé program. Some of the components of the 8(a) program that the revised regulations will affect include:

  • Joint Ventures – requiring that the 8(a) firm must perform 40 percent of the work of each 8(a) joint venture contract that is awarded, including those awarded under a Mentor/Protégé agreement, to ensure that these companies are able to build capacity;

  • Economic Disadvantage – providing more clarification on factors that determine economic disadvantage as it relates to total assets, gross income, retirement accounts and a spouse of an 8(a) company owner when determining the owner’s ability to access capital and credit;

  • Mentor-Protégé Program – adding consequences for a mentor who does not provide assistance to their protégé, ranging from stop-work orders to debarment

  • Ownership and Control Requirements – providing flexibility on whether to admit 8(a) program companies owned by individuals with immediate family members who are owners of current and former 8(a) participants;

  • Tribally-Owned Firms – requiring firms owned by tribes, Alaska Native Corporations, Native Hawaiian Organizations and Community Development Corporations to report benefits flowing back to their respective communities;

  • Excessive Withdrawals – amending regulations on what amount is considered excessive as a basis for termination or early graduation from the 8(a) program; and

  • Business Size for Primary Industry – requiring that a firm’s size status remain small for its primary industry code during its participation in the 8(a) program.

The SBA initially published the proposed rule on Oct. 28, 2009 and provided a 60-day comment period for the public to submit their comments. Many businesses requested more time, so the SBA extended the comment period an additional 30 days, allowing the public to submit their comments by Jan. 28, 2010. In addition to requesting written comments from the public, the SBA also embarked on a “Listening Tour” and hosted public meetings between December 2009 and January 2010 in 10 cities around the country: Albuquerque, N.M., Atlanta, Ga., Boston, Mass., Chicago, Ill., Dallas, Texas, Los Angeles, Calif., Miami, Fla., New York, N.Y., Seattle, Wash. and Washington, D.C.

The SBA also conducted tribal consultations to gain further public input to the revisions in Albuquerque, Fairbanks and Anchorage, Alaska, and Seattle. In total, the SBA received more than 2,500 individual comments from the public.

The 8(a) program is a nine-year business development program for small businesses where the owner(s) fits the SBA’s criteria of being socially and economically disadvantaged and the same owners control the firm. The 8(a) program helps these firms develop their business and provides them with access to government contracting opportunities, allowing them to become solid competitors in the federal marketplace. It also provides specialized business training, counseling, marketing assistance and high-level executive development to its participants. In FY09, small businesses received $18.6 billion in 8(a) contract dollars.

 

 

John Clancey Don Rhea

 

 

 

 

March 30, 2011 Posted by | 8(a), business development program, SDB, SDVOSB, Small Business Administration | , , , , | Leave a comment

GSA boosts per diem rates in major metro areas

GSA boosts per diem rates in major metro areas

The General Services Administration is raising the travel per diem rates for lodging in some expensive metropolitan areas as of April 1, according to a notice in Tuesday’s Federal Register.

Federal employees on business travel to New York City and San Francisco will see per diem rates for lodging increase between April and September, based on previous estimates for fiscal 2011. The per diem rate for meals and incidental expenses — currently $71 for both areas — will remain the same. The rate change affects all five New York City boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island.

Beginning next month, travelers to New York can spend $212 per day on lodging, an increase from the current rate of $192. That rate increases to $224 in June, and $295 per day in September. San Francisco can spend $150 per day on lodging beginning next month; in September, that rates increases to $180. Currently, the per diem rate for San Francisco County is $142.

GSA, which sets the federal per diem rates, assigns a reimbursement rate higher than the standard to frequently traveled regions considered more expensive. The standard lodging rate, which covers hotels in 2,600 counties nationwide, increased from $70 to $77 in fiscal 2011.

After its fiscal 2011 midyear review, the government also decided to boost lodging rates as of April 1 for the following areas: San Bernardino County in California, which includes the cities of Barstow, Ontario and Victorville; Layette County in Mississippi, where Oxford is located; Harrisburg and Hershey in Pennsylvania’s Dauphin County; Greenville in Texas’s Hunt County, and Bowling Green in Virginia’s Caroline County. The per diem figures for Harrisburg and Hershey increase from $106 to $134 from April through August, but dip back to $107 in September.

Meals and incidental expenses will remain at the current rates, except those for Oxford and Bowling Green, which will see slight increases.

When GSA published per diem rates in August 2010, overall, rates for lodging during the past year decreased in 310 of the 378 nonstandard, mostly metropolitan areas across the country, because of the economic recession. At that time, the reduced rates for nonstandard areas reflected a 5.73 percent drop in the cost of lodging from fiscal 2010, while the fiscal 2011 per diem rates reflected an overall decrease of 3.85 percent when compared with fiscal 2010 rates.

Clarification: The figures GSA released earlier for April through September represent a slight rate boost. For example, GSA’s earlier per diem rate for New York City in September was $269; after the mid-year review it is $295. The original per diem rate for San Francisco in September, for example, was $174; now it is $180.

John Clancey Don Rhea

March 30, 2011 Posted by | 8(a), genreal service administration, sba, SDB, SDVOSB | , , , , | Leave a comment

Contractors, customers both hurt by short-term budget extensions

Contractors, customers both hurt by short-term budget extensions

For nearly six months, the federal government has operated under temporary funding measures, leaving many agencies and contractors in limbo, unable to plan or execute new initiatives.

Congress passed the latest in a string of continuing resolutions this week, and President Barack Obama signed it today. The newest temporary funding measure gives lawmakers until April 8 to reach an agreement on 2011 appropriations or again face a government shutdown. But operating on a string of stop-gap measures, with no solid ground for planning or spending authorizations, is untenable, according to many experts.

John Palguta, vice president of policy at the Partnership for Public Service, described funding as a “huge part of the planning process” and said that continuing resolutions make it hard for agencies to gather important data.

“Long-range planning is very difficult under a series of continuing resolutions because there is so much you don’t know,” Palguta said.

 

Media reports have indicated that many in the government feel they have been operating in chaos and confusion. “Officials at various agencies have frozen hiring, canceled projects, delayed contracts, reduced grants and curtailed training, travel and upgrades in information technology,” wrote Robert Pear in the New York Times.

Pear cited examples of disruptions at the Social Security Administration, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Defense Department. Short-term budget extensions can also interrupt the execution of government contracts.

Elizabeth M. Robinson, the chief financial officer at NASA, said: ‘Most agencies have pushed the renewal of major contracts into the winter and spring. Uncertainty has slowed down our spending. That uncertainty takes a toll,’” Pear wrote.

 

Government IT projects could suffer because of ongoing budget constraints. When the budget cycle starts getting disrupted, it creates a lot of issues with resource allocation, said Gary Labovich, a senior vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton.

Labovich said that assigning staff becomes a challenge for vendors if IT projects are stopped or slowed down. “We have to move key people on to other work,” he said. “We don’t have the luxury of keeping people on the side until the government figures out” its budget.

From the government perspective, budget interruptions can lead to inconsistency in personnel and result in derailed IT projects, Labovich added.

Overall, the effect of the budget dispute on government operations varies by agency.

Palguta said that while some agencies have been asked to take on more responsibilities, they have not received an increase in funding. The six continuing resolutions that have been enacted so far fund agencies at 2010 levels.

Agencies “can’t continue to do the same work or do more work with the same or fewer resources,” Palguta said, adding that, at some point, agencies might have to reduce the types of services they offer.

The strain on agencies has also, unsurprisingly, hindered federal managers and their employees’ abilities to do their jobs, according to sources. This type of environment – with the possibility of a shutdown looming in the background – reduces productivity due to lower employee engagement, Palguta said.

“The continued reliance on temporary funding measures and the creation of a crisis atmosphere with repeated threats of a shutdown is not a responsible or a smart way to govern,” wrote Max Stier, president and CEO of the partnership, in Politico.

Despite signing the latest CR, Obama has signaled that he is unwilling to continue the trend of short-term measures. At a news briefing earlier this month, he said it is “irresponsible” to keep running the government based on two-week extensions.

Now it’s up to Congress to come up with a solution that will ensure the government remains fully functional for the remainder of 2011.

 

John Clancey Don Rhea

 

 

March 30, 2011 Posted by | engineering services, SDB, SDVOSB, Small Business Administration 8(a), small business contractor | , , , , | Leave a comment

Lancaster/ Palmdale Dance Studio Instructors – Sonja Beck

Sonja Beck Instructor


Sonja was born on July 4, 1961 in Torrance, CA.


Sonja started ballet training at age 8 at The Dance Workshop in Lancaster.  In high school Sonja enrolled at Caravan Dance Studio taking jazz and ballet.  That studio went on to become AV Dance Studio ’81 where Sonja continued classes.  Sonja attended AV High School and dance classes were a part of her physical education department.  Sonja was a founding member of the AVHS Dance Team and also attended dance camps throughout high school. Sonja taught dance and drill camps for the United Spirit Association for 4 years, served as director for the AVHS Dance Team for 2 years and went on to become a dance team adjudicator for over 25 years. Sonja has also dabbled in tap and ballroom dance over the years. Her dance education continues with every class she takes, dance show she watches and students she teaches.


Sonja has been an instructor at Studio ’81 for over 20 years.  She has taught ballet, jazz, sacred, lyrical and yoga. Her passion has been lyrical as it allows her an outlet for creative choreography.
Sonja has been married to my loving husband Bret for 30 years.  They have 2 grown and married sons. Her and Bret were blessed with their first granddaughter this year and are expecting a grandson in 2011.  These are her proudest accomplishments.

AV Dance Studio 81 is Proud to be on the BLVD!  AV Dance Studio 81
About AV Dance Studio 81 –  It is our mission not only to give you an understanding of dance techinique, but also to give you gifts that will last a lifetime: good posture, grace, self-esteem, and body awareness.  http://avdancestudio81.com/ 661.942.4953 AV Dance Studio 81‘ Join the Dance Craze!

 

 

March 30, 2011 Posted by | av best dance studio, children's dance, Lancaster dance, lancaster dance studio, palmdale dance studio | , , , , | Leave a comment

Lancaster Florist 2011 Poppy Festival California

http://www.avflorist.com 888.948.6006 Chris Spicher of Antelope Valley Forist interviews Joe and Perry Winkle at the City of Lancaster press conference about the 2011 Poppy Festival

ANTELOPE VALLEY FLORIST California Wild Flower Maps pick one up or Download Here

661-948-6006

March 30, 2011 Posted by | california wildflowers, lancaster florist, lancaster flowers, lancaster poppies, lancaster poppy festival | , , , , | Leave a comment