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A Message of Change for the President from the Chief Visionary

Posted By Guy Timberlake, The American Small Business Coalition, LLC, Saturday, May 01, 2010
Dear Mr. President:

About that Interagency Task Force on Federal

Contracting Opportunities for Small Business...

Okay, so most likely everyone has seen or heard the news about the task force stood up to take on the perpetual issue of small business contracting opportunities (another task force was also established to address Veteran Small Business Development). Well, that's great! The highest office in the land is giving our issue attention and that should be a good thing. Right?

In the opening paragraph of the Executive Order, it states "Small businesses must be able to participate in the Nation's economic recovery, including businesses owned by women, minorities, socially and economically disadvantaged individuals, and service-disabled veterans of our Armed Forces. These businesses should be able to compete and participate effectively in Federal contracts."

You are singing our song Mr. President! We know how to compete, we just need help from the other side of the field in the area of participation.

Here's the hiccup (the Executive Order continues):

Section 1. Establishment. There is established an Interagency Task Force on Federal Contracting Opportunities for Small Businesses (Task Force).

The Secretary of Commerce (Secretary), the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (Director), and the Administrator of the Small Business Administration (Administrator) shall serve as Co-Chairs of the Task Force and shall direct its work.

Sec. 2. Membership. In addition to the Secretary, the Director, and the Administrator, the Task Force shall consist of the following members:

(i) the Secretary of the Treasury;

(ii) the Secretary of Defense;

(iii) the Attorney General;

(iv) the Secretary of Labor;

(v) the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development;

(vi) the Secretary of Transportation;

(vii) the Secretary of Veterans Affairs;

(viii) the Secretary of Homeland Security;

(ix) the Administrator of General Services;

(x) the Administrator of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration;

(xi) the Director of the Minority Business Development Agency;

(xii) the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy;

(xiii) the Director of the Domestic Policy Council;

(xiv) the Director of the National Economic Council;

(xv) the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers; and

(xvi) the heads of such other executive departments, agencies, and offices as the President may, from time to time, designate.

First, how about we let the big guns go manage the other important activities associated with the running of their agencies and councils and put some career problem-solvers on the job. With respect to the members of your Cabinet, what's needed here is innovation and true insight from folks who are in the trenches.

Which brings me to my next point. Where are the stakeholders of the small business community?
I mean if we are talking about innovation and useful idea generation, who better to offer them up? Don't be afraid of overly self-serving or unrealistic ideas coming from the small business contingent because in large part, these are the true patriots of our Nation who want to see you and your team do well. It has nothing to do with party affiliation, or seeking hand-outs, we simply want to support our Country while making an honest living. For many of these fine men and women it is even more personal for they were the warfighters whom were under your command, or that of another Commander-in-Chief. They are back to offer insights that may help another Soldier, Sailor, Airmen or Marine accomplish their mission and get back home.

As the economic engine of this great United States, we have just one request to respectfully submit to you and that is, give us a seat at the task force table so we can play a role in shaping this part of our future just as we do for our families and employees every day.

Before I finish, I would like to share a few of the ideas that I and others have discussed over the years as ways to effect "Change We Can Believe In!"
  • Small Business Subcontracting Program - Institute a change which makes small business participation a deliverable with a percentage of contract value attached to it. Companies not delivering simply do not get paid.

  • Parity in the Small Business Program - Level the playing field to create fair opportunity for small businesses and remove some of the complexity in order to make it easier for companies to engage less on the certifications and more on their capabilities. This will also help simplify it for the government acquisition professional, too.

  • Expand and Set-Aside Simplified Acquisitions - Increase the range of the Simplified Acquisition Threshold to $500,000 (okay, we'll take $250,000) and change the "reservation" to a set-aside for small businesses. That would go a long way to fueling the engine!
Peace to you Mr. President!

Guy Timberlake
Chief Visionary and Chief Executive Officer

Tags:  contracting  executive  federal  force  house  interagency  obama  order  task  white 

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