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Me? An Opinion?: Neal Fox versus SBA (a.k.a. I'm So Confused!)

Posted By Guy Timberlake, The American Small Business Coalition, LLC, Tuesday, November 27, 2007
Updated: Sunday, June 29, 2008

This is a good one.

On November 7th, Neal Fox, a contributor to Government Computer News (www.gcn.com) offered up a commentary entitled:

In this submission, Mr. Fox (former assistant commissioner at GSA for commercial acquisition) takes some pretty good shots at the SBA (join the party!) for finally stepping up and taking a stand, albeit the wrong one from his vantage point. The issue at hand had to do with a protest filed by a Florida small business with regard to a competition and subsequent award by the Army under the GSA Schedule.

There was a decent amount of coverage about this issue, so I'll cut to the chase.

Since his commentary, GAO has decided not to decide and essentially squelched the protest. Neal Fox was concerned upset by the fact that had GAO sustained the protest, everything in the range known as the Simplified Acquisition Threshold, ($3000 to $100,000) would have been 100 percent set-aside for small businesses. That's not a bad thing. Especially since most large companies scoff at having to process such a miniscule order.

Let me clarify something. I actually agree with Mr. Fox as it relates to SBA and their often fickle response(s) to this and other issues. However, I fervently disagree with this statement by Mr. Fox:

"And since the real niche for small businesses is generally as subcontractors, this is the real issue that is broken and requires fixing."

Hmmm. 

Now, I'm sure he has significant basis for the statement, but the issue is, small businesses are not pack mule's for larger companies and I doth protest anytime someone relegates us (The American Small Business Coalition is a small business, also.) to the position of "only being good enough to be a sub."

Where are my ladies from Delta Decisions with their recent win at FEMA? Where is my man Chad Monnin and the team at AEGIS Mission Essential Personnel with their recent $414M win at INSCOM?

There are MANY very qualified, sophisticated and committed small businesses of every size and discipline, who can take point on a plethora of Government requirements and skillfully deliver an economical, complete and timely solution. With or without a large company in their backyard.

One of the items I plan to discuss with some senior acquisition officials is how to create an accepted use of coalition approaches for small businesses where the "choke point" is intact, but the capacity and capabilities of the team are measured, and not just those of the one. Maybe it's a Joint Venture, maybe not. We'll see.

Mr. Fox, I appreciate a lot of things you do and have accomplished, but, ease up on kicking small businesses to the curb. (I wonder if he cares. Probably not.)

Personally, I'd like to see the Simplified Acquisition Threshold increased to$500,000  and completely set-aside for small businesses. I've voiced this to a few folks on the Hill already. Hey, it never hurts!

- The CVO

Tags:  acquisition  business  commissioner  fox  gsa  neal  simplified  small  threshold 

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