ilivetodayav

The High Deserts Social Network Blog…

Bill would put job creation pressure on contractors

Companies would estimate in bids how many jobs a contract would create

Under a new House bill, an important factor in judging contract bids would be how many jobs a company says it could create if it was awarded a federal contract, but the company could suffer for an inaccurate assessment.

Companies would include in their proposals a “jobs impact statement.” The statement would tell the government the number of jobs a company believes it and its subcontractors may create, or at least not end, in the United States. The statement would also be “a guarantee from the offeror” that U.S. jobs would not be shipped overseas after the government awarded the contract.

Five House members introduced the American Jobs Matter Act (H.R. 1435) April 4.

The measure would require that, six months after making an award, the contracting officer would monitor the company’s numbers in its statement compared with actual job numbers. With those reviews, the contracting officer would have to track the numbers throughout the life of the contract, and compare the number of jobs with the jobs impact statement. The point would be is to see if the company was correct or missed its estimate.

The jobs statement and the agency evaluations would become a major factor for a company in future contract competitions.

“If the number of jobs that the agency estimates will be created by using the jobs impact statement significantly exceeds the number of jobs created or retained, then the agency may evaluate whether the contractor should be proposed for debarment,” according to the bill.

The bill was referred to the Government Reform and Oversight Committee and the Armed Services Committee.


 John Clancey  Don Rhea

Advertisements

May 3, 2011 Posted by | American Jobs Matter Act, sba, SDB, SDVOSB | , , , , | 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

Government shutdown threatens small businesses

Reliance on contracts, fewer reserves put firms at risk

 

A potential government shutdown has been delayed until mid-March, but that doesn’t mean that government contractors — particularly small businesses — have stopped preparing for the possibility that their biggest customer will close up shop.

While most government contractors will be affected in some way by a government shutdown, it’s thought that small businesses will feel the greatest impact because many rely on the government for all of their annual revenue and have less cash flow and fewer resources.

Several small-business contractors that generate the majority of their revenue from government work are coming up with plans for how to deal with the potential loss of revenue, as well as what to do with scores of employees who can’t do the work they were hired for.

“How do we recover the loss of revenue?” asked Tony Jimenez, president and CEO of MicroTech, a company based in Vienna, Va., that generates 80 percent of its revenue from government contracts. “It’s a constant situation of Democrats and Republicans trying to teach each other a lesson, and government contractors are suffering.”

Small businesses have little to go on in terms of knowing whether and for how long the government will stop working. But they do know that nonessential contracts will stop and the work they do that requires supervision by a government employee will also stop if that government employee has been furloughed.

Ideally, many say they’d like to keep employees on the payroll but can’t do it if the funds aren’t there. So, do the contractor’s employees get furloughed? Are they forced to take their paid vacation time? Are there other projects for them to work on?

One of the biggest fears small businesses face is that good employees, forced to take vacations or get furloughed, might decide to leave.

“If we lose employees, then it’s very hard to bring them back and go through the security clearance process again,” said Jay Challa, chairman and CEO of Ace Info Solutions Inc., based in Reston, Va.

Challa said his firm, which has about 20 government projects active right now, will consider letting employees continue working at government sites that don’t require a government supervisor.

Another option is to allow the employees to take on nongovernment work, such as research projects and proposal writing. Challa said the company will also use the time to make sure employees are caught up on certifications. These measures will allow employees to still be paid and not have to use up any vacation time.

“We will have to use overhead dollars for those tasks,” Challa said. “But we just have to make sure we give the employees enough opportunities to continue.”

If employees aren’t able to work on other company projects, they will be asked to take paid time off, Challa said.

List Innovative Solutions, an IT provider to the federal government based in Herndon, Va., gets all of its revenue from government contracts. So the small firm is seeking legal advice to better understand the human resources laws and how it can deal with its hourly and salaried employees.

The company’s preference is for employees to take their paid vacation time rather than leave without pay. But a furlough is not completely out of the question for List and other small businesses.

“A small business can’t carry a whole lot of it,” said Katie Sleep, president and CEO of List. “We’re trying to keep going and trying not to go into panic mode because it could be in vain. I hope they can work it out to get us through the budget year.”

Aronson LLC, an accounting and consulting firm in Rockville, Md., says the impending government shutdown has been one of its most active blog topics on the firm’s website. Aronson has also been busy consulting with clients on how to handle a government shutdown.

“Treat it as a project,” said Thomas Marcinko, principal consultant with Aronson. “Assign somebody to be in charge or responsible for preparing your firm for a shutdown.”

His other advice includes looking at each contract and evaluating how each one will be affected, as well as telling small businesses to alert their banks about late payments from their clients, document any costs related to the shutdown and communicate with all the people who are affected, including suppliers.

“The shutdown is very complicated and impacts different contracts differently,” Marcinko said. “Handling it well will help a great deal. Not handling it well is close to fatal.”


John Clancey Don Rhea

 

March 21, 2011 Posted by | 8(a), sba, SDB, SDVOSB, Small Business Administration, small business contractor | , , , , , | Leave a comment