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Wisconsin Federal Contracting Forum - WPI visits Washington  
 
WPI conducted its annual trip to Washington, D.C., September 11-13th. Taking advantage of the influx of Wisconsin pride in our nation's capitol with the trip being timed with the MMAC's annual Milwaukee Night in D.C., WPI was glad to see many friends.

Some important things heard and learned while were there:
  • Focus - Whether you are entering the government marketplace or realigning your government business plan, focus. Determine your best strategies and focus on them.
  • Respond to Sources Sought - Agencies use these solicitations to build lists of businesses capable of doing the work under consideration. The data collected may determine set-asides or contract requirements.
  • Federal agencies have many positions unfilled, connect with the program offices to determine funding priorities.
  • OTA (Other Transaction Authority) - There are generally 4 types of funding stream for non-government entities: contracts, grants, cooperative agreements and OTA.  Learn more at https://www.acq.osd.mil/dpap/cpic/cp/10USC2371bOTs.html   and take a look at the comments on OTA's as included in the 2019 defense appropriations bill at https://federalnewsradio.com/dod-personnel-notebook/2018/09/defense-appropriations-bill-increases-troops-cracks-down-on-otas/
     
UPCOMING EVENTS
10/3/18
eSRS Individual Subcontractor Reporting Basics
Webinar


10/10/18
Overview of CPARS
Webinar
Learn More
10/9/18   
Selling to the State of Wisconsin & Local Governments
 Webinar
  Learn More

10/18/18
Growing Your Business in Burnett County WI
Webster
Learn More
 
A newly proposed ordinance in Milwaukee would give a bidding edge to city contractors who hire felons, help workers earn high school diplomas, or provide other "socially responsible" employee incentives.
The proposal, introduced by Milwaukee Alderwoman Milele Coggs, would award contractors additional points in the city's bid-scoring system if they took three or more actions to reduce barriers to employment. Coggs said she decided to put the ordinance forward after meeting a contractor who had helped his workers get drivers licenses, pay legal fees and surmount other difficulties.
The new legislation is aimed at rewarding such companies and encouraging others to do more for their employees, Coggs said.
"You think about what can we do as policy makers to attempt to get others to be more socially responsible in what they do," she said during a committee meeting on Wednesday. "So this legislation is just one small piece of Milwaukee leading the way to encourage contractors who work with the city of Milwaukee - who we spend taxpayer dollars with - to make the barriers to employment a little less for groups of people."
Companies that adopt at least three policies or practices from a list of more than a dozen identified in the ordinance could get a slight edge when trying to win public contracts. Specifically, they'd get a 5 percent boost in the city's bid-scoring system. But they could only get that advantage if their bid were within $25,000 of the lowest offer.
And there would be other obligations.
Contractors would also have to sign a notarized affidavit stating that they provide paid sick leave or other benefits to their workers, according to Rhonda Kelsey, Milwaukee purchasing director. Companies also could be required to hand their employee handbooks over to city officials, who could then use that information to verify that the new ordinance's requirements are being met. The city spent $84.3 million in 2017 on contracts with independent companies and $104.3 million in 2016.
Here are some of the steps employers could take to qualify for the city's socially-responsible contractor ordinance:
  • Hire people with felony convictions
  • Help employees earn high school diplomas
  • Provide internships, job shadowing, on-the-job training or similar opportunities
  • Help employees obtain instruction and training in math, construction and budgeting
  • Help employees obtain driver's licenses, transportation vouchers, work clothes and safety gear, legal aid, career training, school supplies and other benefits
  • Provide breast-feeding centers for employees who are nursing children.
  • Provide a minimum of 120 hours of paid sick leave or a minimum of 5 paid sick days.
The proposed ordinance comes after the city tweaked its contractor rules in a way meant to ban offensive language or conduct on public job sites. Those rules were a direct response to images posted on social media showing employees of the contractor American Sewer Services, of Rubicon, carrying guns at a city job site. A subsequent photograph showed an American Sewer Services employee's cooler decorated with a confederate flag sticker and a Klu Klux Klan sticker.

Milwaukee's socially-responsible-bidder ordinance was also sponsored by Aldermen Russell Stamper II, Khalif Rainey, Chantia Lewis, José Pérez, Robert Bauman, Ashanti Hamilton and Cavalier "Chevy" Johnson. It drew support from the YWCA and 9to5 National Association of Working Women.
"When job quality is low, at risk communities are unable to be stable providers," Astar Herndon, 9to5's state director, said. "The socially responsible ordinance can help us move closer to that standard."

 
City of Milwaukee Buying Guide

Just released, the City of Milwaukee Buying Plan through Quarter 2 of 2023.

 
Government Property

Government Property is quite often an afterthought in Government Contracting from the Government and prime contractors alike.  It is critical that, from the pre-award phase to contract closure, the requirements relating to Government Property be fully included.  PIEE, formerly iRAPT, now includes a Government Property Module that is mandatory for DOD contracts and includes tracking mechanisms.  Please contact Benjamin Blanc at benjaminb@wispro.org if you need any assistance regarding the Government Property or how to use the new GFP Module.  The National Property Management Association is also a great resource for Property Professionals: www.npma.org
 
VA process to verify veteran-owned small businesses fraught with errors, delays

WASHINGTON - An effort to improve an online system that verifies veteran-owned small businesses and allows them to compete for government contracts has backfired, leading to delays and frustration for hundreds of companies, according to members of a committee who oversee the program.
Veterans who own small businesses can get verified through the Department of Veterans Affairs, making them eligible for VA contracts and subcontracts. Every year, the VA spends about $3 billion on contracts for veteran-owned businesses. Without verification, veterans can't compete for it.
The process to get verified is lengthy and involves submitting proof-of-ownership documents through an online portal. In an attempt to make the online system more secure, the VA switched platforms this summer.

Continue reading at
https://www.stripes.com/va-process-to-verify-veteran-owned-small-businesses-fraught-with-errors-delays-1.547203 

 
National Cyber Strategy: 4 things agencies, vendors should know about
 
The White House rolled out a new cyber strategy for the first time in 15 years.
While most of the coverage of the National Cyber Strategy focused on the Trump administration's decision to roll back Presidential Policy Directive-20 and give the Defense Department and the intelligence community more flexibility and authority to conduct offensive cyber operations, John Bolton, the national security adviser, said the real goal of the unclassified and classified versions of the strategy was to deter adversaries from attacking the government, critical infrastructures and businesses, while also preparing for the future.
"The strategy directs the federal government to take action that ensures long-term improvements to cybersecurity for all Americans," Bolton said, during a Sept. 20 press briefing. "Recognizing that cyber must be integrated into other elements of national power, the strategy is structured around the four pillars of the National Security Strategy.  Each of the four pillars includes a number of focus areas with associated priority actions to secure and preserve cyberspace."
 
The reaction to the strategy was decidedly mixed.
 
Continue reading at FEDERALNEWSRADIO.COM
 
 
SBA Resource Guide