Alabama Contracting News

Now Hiring: PTAC Procurement Specialist

The Alabama PTAC is accepting applications for a full time Procurement Specialist at Alabama State University (ASU). Do you have experience in government contracting? Do you have a passion for helping small businesses succeed? Can you help companies compete for contract opportunities at the federal, state, and local level?

Apply online with ASU.
Position closes 9/10/20.

TKO Seminar June 23

The Defense Logistics Agency is offering a virtual Training, Knowledge, and Opportunities (TKO) Seminar on June 23rd, 2020.

Click here to register: https://tko.dla.mil/
Then select DLA Land & Maritime.

“The TKO seminar is a session that teaches vendors how to START doing business with Defense Logistics Agency. Vendors learn how to find open solicitations, how to submit a quote through the DLA Internet Bid Board System (DIBBS), the procedures for viewing/downloading drawings, and how to use Wide Area Work Flow (WAWF) to get paid. There will also be many other relevant topics of discussion. This course is designed for dealers, distributors, and manufacturers, but NOT a company that provides services.

TKO Frequently Asked Questions

Defense Pricing & Contracting COVID-19 Resources

DPC Announcements

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): Limited Exemption and Waiver from Certain Federal Contracting Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Requirements, as of March 17, 2020Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-2019): Emergency Acquisition Flexibilities and National Interest Action (NIA) Code, as of March 13, 2020

DPC Memorandums

Determining and Making Commercial Item Procurements to Respond to COVID-19, dated March 31, 2020Reporting COVID-19 Related Actions to the Federal Procurement Data System, dated March 31, 2020Managing Defense Contracts Impacts of the Novel Coronavirus, dated March 30, 2020Doing Business with the Department – Supporting the Response to COVID-19, dated March 27, 2020Defense Industrial Base Contract Considerations, dated March 20, 2020Contract Place of Performance – Public Health Considerations, dated March 20, 2020Planning for Potential Novel Coronavirus Contract Impacts, dated March 11, 2020Emergency Acquisition Flexibilities – Disaster or Emergency Assistance Activities, dated March 6, 2020Continuation of Essential Contractor Services, dated March 5, 2020

Class Deviations

Class Deviation 2020-O0011 – Submission of Interim Vouchers Under Classified Contracts, dated March 27, 2020Class Deviation 2020-O0010 – Progress Payment Rates, dated March 20, 2020

USD(A&S) Memorandums

Defense Industrial Base Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce, dated March 20, 2020

OMB Resources

OMB Memorandum on Managing Contract Performance Issues Associated with COVID-19, dated March 20, 2020

Military Component Memorandums

USAF – Creative Contracting Techniques for Maintaining Financial Health of DIB, dated March 26, 2020USAF – AF Acquisition Task Force on COVID-19, dated March 25, 2020USAF – Mission Essential Activities during COVID-19, dated March 21, 2020USAF – Department of the Air Force Mission Essential Activities during COVID-19, dated March 17, 2020USN – Use of COVID-19 Language within DON Contracts, dated March 26, 2020USN – (Intent and Direction) Withholds and Retentions During COVID-19, dated March 20, 2020USA – Promoting Resiliency of the DIB during COVID-19 Pandemic (to industry), dated March 24 2020USA – Promoting Resiliency of the DIB during COVID-19 Pandemic (internal), dated March 24 2020USA – Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army (Procurement) (DASA(P)) Response to the Cornoavirus Disease (COVID-19), dated March 12, 2020

Acquisition Related COVID-19 Resources and Links

https://www.acquisition.gov/coronavirus Provides quick access to key COVID-19 documents of interest to the acquisition community.https://intelshare.intelink.gov/sites/ocs/COVID-19 Joint Staff J-4 site that provides Operational Contract Support information related to COVID-19. (Website is CAC enabled access only.)https://community.max.gov/x/dUCafg Enables rapid information-sharing within the acquisition workforce of agency generated artifacts (e.g., templates, best practices) related to COVID-19. (Website is CAC enabled/government authorized access only.)

SBA Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus

• The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.
• Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations in designated areas of a state or territory to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
• SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state’s or territory’s Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.
• Once a declaration is made for designated areas within a state, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to all affected communities as well as updated on our website: SBA.gov/disaster.
• SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance per small business and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
• These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
• SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
• SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.
• For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.
• Visit SBA.gov/disaster for more information.

Note: Alabama PTAC cannot provide assistance with disaster loan applications, as they are not directly related to government contracting; our funding partner, the Defense Logistics Agency, specifically restricts us from providing this type of business assistance. Our colleagues across the hall, at the Alabama SBDC Network may be able to provide additional assistance.

OSHA Handbook

Employers are responsible for providing a safe and healthy workplace for their employees. OSHA’s role is to promote the safety and health of America’s working men and women by setting and enforcing standards; providing training, outreach and education; establishing partnerships; and encouraging continual improvement in workplace safety and health.

American employers and workers want safe and healthful places in which to work. They want everyone on the job to go home whole and healthy each day. Determined to make that dream possible, OSHA is committed to assuring – so far as possible – that every working man and woman in the nation has safe and healthful working conditions. OSHA believes that providing workers with a safe workplace is central to their ability to enjoy health, security and the opportunity to achieve the American dream.

OSHA seeks to cut unnecessary rules, regulations and red tape. It is eliminating thousands of pages of outdated regulations and continues to rewrite standards in plain English. OSHA is paring down its regulatory agenda so that it more accurately reflects realistic goals that best serve the needs of American employers and employees. Confronted by the realities and demands to keep pace with the workforce and problems of the future, OSHA is developing new strategies to reduce occupational fatalities, injuries and illnesses. Coupled with strong, effective and fair enforcement, OSHA strives to provide improved outreach, education and compliance assistance to America’s employers and employees.

OSHA’s Small Business Handbook is available for download here:
https://www.osha.gov/Publications/smallbusiness/small-business.pdf

Air Force’s ‘Base of the Future’ Ideas Will Be Tested on Tyndall Rebuild

With 2020 in full swing, the Air Force’s cross-sector outreach program—AFWERX—announced this year’s innovation focus: the base of the future.

After Hurricane Michael decimated Tyndall Air Force Base in Florida in 2018, Air Force leadership saw an opportunity to rebuild with the future in mind.

“With the rebuild of Tyndall Air Force Base, the Air Force has an opportunity to create from scratch an installation that will be recognized as a center of excellence for innovation,” according to a notice posted to the beta.SAM.gov Contracting Opportunities site.

As the service looks to revamp a key base, AFWERX will be hosting a series of workshops across the country to get feedback on emerging technologies in a number of fields. As part of its mission, AFWERX brings military leaders together with innovators from across the private sector, including industry, academia and “non-traditional contributors” through challenge workshops focused on specific needs.

“AFWERX enables thoughtful, deliberate, ground-up innovation across the Air Force,” the notice explains. “This is accomplished through an innovative approach that combines startup urgency with the largest pool of motivated talent in the world to uncover opportunities to improve Air Force capabilities, connect and engage the right stakeholders, and facilitate outcomes.”

For the Base of the Future challenge, AFWERX plans to hold workshops focused on six areas. From the notice:

  • Installation Security: Examine and improve the existing security and defense systems that protect the people and critical resources they house.
  • Installation Resiliency: Energy and utility systems issues need to be addressed to support the various missions carried out by Air Force bases.
  • Leveraging Operational Technology: Tyndall AFB has the potential to be a model for Air Force bases of the future by becoming a leader in operational technology, automation, artificial intelligence, digital integration and cybersecurity.
  • Culture of Innovation: From bad Wi-Fi to old or inadequate hardware, airmen aren’t receiving the best, existing tools to succeed in their missions.
  • Additive Manufacturing: Leveraging additive manufacturing techniques—3D printing—for on-demand manufacturing of critical aircraft components, rapid and repeatable deployment of structures, etc.
  • Construction Logistics: The Air Force is expected to face logistical challenges surrounding housing and feeding the contractor workforce in the rebuild of the Tyndall Air Force Base. With large volumes of people and materials entering the base, it will be challenging to manage workers and deliveries to construction sites safely and efficiently to mitigate security risks, maximize work productivity and minimize negative economic impacts on the local community.  Ideally, the service is exploring the possibilities to scale up and scale down various logistics based on the overall construction schedule.

The notice stresses the workshops are not contracting opportunities. However, the events are used as a basis for future solicitations and contracts, as Air Force officials get a sense of what is possible.

Source:
https://www.nextgov.com/emerging-tech/2020/01/air-forces-base-future-ideas-will-be-tested-tyndall-rebuild/162545/

OASIS Contracts

OASIS: One Acquisition Solution for Integrated Services

OASIS and OASIS Small Business (SB) are multiple award, Indefinite Delivery Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ) contracts that provide flexible and innovative solutions for complex professional services. Details of OASIS Contract include:

  • Span many areas of expertise and mission space;
  • Span multiple professional service disciplines;
  • Allow flexibility for all contract types, including hybrids and cost-reimbursement, at the task order level; and
  • Allow ancillary support components, commonly referred to as Other Direct Costs (ODC), at the task order level.

The core disciplines/scopes of the contracts include:

  • Program management services;
  • Management consulting services;
  • Logistics services;
  • Engineering services;
  • Scientific services; and
  • Financial services.

OASIS Contract Features

  • Commercial and non-commercial services;
  • CONUS and OCONUS requirements;
  • Classified and unclassified services; and
  • Ancillary Support necessary to deliver a total solution, such as:
    Labor, Materials, ODC’s, or
  • Hybrid of any of the above;
  • Designated Best-in-Class (BIC) solution helping agencies meet their spend under management goals; and
  • Download this OASIS BIC profile [PDF – 196 KB].

For more information, please review the GSA website, or contact your local Alabama PTAC Procurement Specialist.

https://www.gsa.gov/buying-selling/products-services/professional-services/buy-services/one-acquisition-solution-for-integrated-services-oasis

Goodbye DUNS, Hello SAMMI

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) recently announced the award of a $41.8 million-dollar five-year contract to Ernst and Young LLP (EY) that will replace the decades-long contract held by Dun & Bradstreet to provide entity validation services, currently known as the Data Universal Number System (DUNS®.)

This move will affect every federal agency and the hundreds of thousands of contractors, individuals, and other organizations registered to do business with or receive grants from the U.S. federal government in this all-encompassing transition away from the DUNS to a non-proprietary unique identity identifier.

This March 18 notification is a huge blow to Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) which in just the last fiscal year was awarded over $68 million in 192 federal transactions across defense and civilian agencies. And in the last ten years, D&B realized over $639 million in federal revenues providing similar proprietary DUNS-related services to all federal agencies, according to USASpending.gov.

Every entity receiving contracts or grants must be registered in the System for Award Management (SAM) website at SAM.gov, where the DUNS has served as a public-facing unique identification number, thereby keeping sensitive tax identification numbers private.

Through this new contract, the government will transition from the DUNS numbering system to a new government-owned SAM Managed Identifier (SAMMI), which will be used as a primary key to identify every existing and new entity within SAM.gov. GSA plans to enable a successful transition to the SAMMI to be completed by 2020.

In replacing the DUNS with SAMMI, the government will no longer be dependent upon a proprietary D&B-owned data system. The SAMMI unique entity identifier is tied in SAM.gov to the legal entity name, ‘doing business as’ name, and the physical address that corresponds to it. All entities awarded federal procurement and grants actions, with rare exceptions, are required to register in SAM.

The information from SAM is used throughout the government, to include all aspects of the procurement and financial assistance processes. For historical purposes, DUNS information will continue to be available for awards made prior to the SAMMI transition

GSA acknowledges that this transition to SAMMI will be complicated, and states in its interact.gsa.gov website that specific transition plans will be published at a later date. All businesses, individuals and government entities using sam.gov will receive notification through existing communication channels and updates will be posted to the GSA Interact platform at https://interact.gsa.gov/.

Source:
https://www.targetgov.com/articles/gsa-awards-43m-contract-to-replace-duns-with-sammi/

Emergency Response Contracting in Alabama

We have received several inquiries from our small business clients regarding contracting opportunities for relief efforts related to the tornadoes that impacted Lee County, Alabama this week. Per our conversations with the Alabama Department of Finance (Purchasing Division) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), companies are advised to follow this two-step process.

  1. Ensure that your company is properly registered in the STAARS system. STAARS stands for “State of Alabama Accounting and Resource System.” As the State’s enterprise-wide accounting system, STAARS supports all financial, procurement, and human resource transactions. All vendor interactions—including solicitations, purchase orders, payments, and receipts—are maintained in STAARS.
  2. Ensure that your company is properly registered in SAM.
    The System for Award Management (SAM) is an official website of the U.S. government. There is no cost to use SAM. You can use this site for FREE to register to do business with the US government, update/renew your entity registration, check the status of a registration, or search for a registration.

Procurement Specialists at the Alabama PTAC can assist with registering in both of these systems.

FEMA will ask for a list of properly registered state vendors from the State Purchasing Office and will attempt to contract with local businesses that are properly registered in both systems

Disaster Contracting Tips

Natural Disasters can be a time of crisis or opportunity for small business government contractors. The Thomas T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, passed in 2007, requires FEMA to contract with businesses located in the affected area when feasible and practicable, which brings unexpected and often substantial contracting opportunities in the wake of a disaster.

FEMA needs certain types of items most frequently following a disaster, such as office supplies, dumpsters, shredders and other disposal equipment, janitorial supplies, locks, portable toilets, hand washing stations and sometimes material moving equipment such as forklifts. In many areas they need certain services such as certified translators.

If the goods or services you provide are relevant to disaster response, the following steps can help you to position yourself to take advantage of such contracting opportunities when a disaster strikes.

  • Establish relationships with municipal and county governments, as well as state procurement offices. (Have you attended one of our matchmaker events?) Often these offices control much of the work that is done. In fact, FEMA doesn’t do anything without request and concurrence from the state, local and (when applicable) tribal governments. The type, kind and quantity of assistance FEMA provides is entirely up to state and local authorities. If debris removal contracts are already in place for routine incidents, such as wind or ice storms, those contracts will probably be used for major disasters first.
  • Be aware that, like most federal buyers, FEMA buyers often perform quick and dirty market research via Google. Make sure your company is well represented on the internet, with an up to date website that clearly describes the goods and services you offer. Also, check your SAM (System for Award Management) and DSBS (Dynamic Small Business Search) profiles periodically to ensure that your status is “active”, the contact information is current, and your list of capabilities is complete.
  • FEMA buys some things at the region level and some at the national level. Establish contracting relationships with the appropriate offices ahead of disasters. Buyers often turn to the contractors they know rather than to local businesses.
  • Never rest on special databases or designations. FEMA and other federal buyers don’t necessarily use the Disaster Relief designation in SAM or the GSA Disaster Response designation. The FEMA Industry Liaison Program (http://www.fema.gov/about-industry-liaison-program) is only one point of access for vendors to FEMA buyers, and not necessarily the primary one. Do not depend on these alone for visibility during a disaster.

(Article by Carter Merkle, Oklahoma PTAC )

Disaster Contracting Alabama PTAC

VA Will Use SBA SDVOSB Eligibility Rules Starting 10/1/18

The VA will begin using the SBA’s eligibility rules to verify SDVOSBs and VOSBs beginning October 1, 2018.

In a final rule published today in the Federal Register, the VA confirms that the SBA’s eligibility requirements will apply beginning next week–but in my eyes, one very important question remains unanswered.

As regular SmallGovCon readers know, the differences between the government’s two SDVOSB programs have caused major headaches for veterans. Because the two sets of regulations have different eligibility requirements, a company may be an eligible SDVOSB under one set of rules, but not the other.

In 2016, Congress addressed the problem. As part of the 2017 NDAA, Congress directed the VA to verify SDVOSBs and VOSBs using the SBA’s regulatory definitions regarding small business status, ownership, and control. Congress told the SBA and VA to work together to develop joint regulations governing SDVOSB and VOSB eligibility. The VA published a proposed rule earlier this year to eliminate its separate SDVOSB and VOSB eligibility requirements.

Now the VA has issued a final rule, set to take effect in just one week on October 1. The final rule broadly reiterates that the VA is eliminating its separate SDVOSB and VOSB eligibility requirements because “regulations relating to and clarifying ownership and control are no longer the responsibility of VA.” Instead, in verifying SDVOSBs and VOSBs, the VA will use the SBA’s eligibility rules set forth in 13 C.F.R. part 125.

The VA’s final rule answers a few questions from the public about the change. Among the VA’s answers:

  • Despite a common misconception, this final rule does not move the verification process from the VA to the SBA. The final rule states, “[a]lthough the authority to issue regulations setting forth the ownership and control criteria for SDVOSBs and VOSBs now rests with the Administrator of the SBA, the [VA] is still charged with verifying that each applicant complies with those regulatory provisions prior to granting verified status and including the applicant in the VA list of verified firms.”
  • The “VA and SBA will treat joint ventures the same way,” applying the SBA’s regulatory criteria. This is important because the VA currently does not treat joint ventures the same way as the SBA. Although the VA largely defers to the SBA’s joint venture rules, the VA has been requiring SDVOSB joint ventures to demonstrate that the SDVOSB managing venturer will receive at least 51% of the joint venture’s profits. This conflicts with the SBA’s current regulation, which allows the SDVOSB managing venturer to receive as little as 40% of the joint venture’s profits, depending on how the joint venturers split work.
  • Persons “found guilty of, or found to be involved in criminally related matters or debarment proceedings” will be immediately removed from the VetBiz database. Additionally, owing outstanding taxes and unresolved debts to “governmental entities outside of the Federal government” may be disqualifying, but won’t lead to an automatic cancellation.

As you may recall, the SBA proposed to revise its own SDVOSB regulations earlier this year. These proposed rules, when finalized, would apply to both the VA and SBA.

The VA’s final rule indicates that the SBA’s final rule also will take effect on October 1. “VA and the SBA believe a single date on which all of the changes go into effect is the most effective path for implementation,” the VA writes. As I sit here today on September 24, I haven’t seen the SBA’s final rule yet, but I assume it will be published any moment. We’ll blog about it on SmallGovCon when that happens.

By consolidating the eligibility requirements for SDVOSBs and VOSBs, the SBA and VA will eliminate a lot of confusion. In that sense, these changes are good news. But I’m concerned about one important item that wasn’t raised in the VA’s response–that is, what happens to currently verified companies who no longer meet the eligibility requirements? In other words, what happens to companies that were verified under the VA’s “old” rules, but won’t qualify as SDVOSBs under the SBA’s “new” rules?

Remember, many companies were verified as SDVOSBs and VOSBs based on the VA’s eligibility requirements, which (until October 1) aren’t identical to the SBA’s. Perhaps most notably, the VA has long permitted companies to use reasonable “right of first refusal” provisions in their corporate governing documents. The SBA, on the other hand, has deemed such provisions impermissible–a position that a federal judge called “draconian and perverse,” but nonetheless within the SBA’s broad discretion.

As I read the SBA’s proposed rules, anyway, the SBA hasn’t changed its position on this issue. And while it sounds wonky, it’s actually very important: right of first refusal provisions are commonplace in operating agreements, bylaws, and shareholders’ agreements prepared by good corporate counsel. It’s a virtual certainty that hundreds, if not thousands, of verified SDVOSBs and VOSBs have such provisions in their governing documents.

Are these companies now vulnerable to protest? Will the VA CVE propose them all for cancellation? Are they somehow grandfathered in? (I highly doubt that, but I suppose you never know). It’s a very important question and I hope one that the SBA and VA will answer soon.

By:
Steve Koprince
Managing Partner at Koprince Law LLC

 

Source: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/va-use-sba-sdvosb-eligibility-rules-starting-october-1-koprince/