By Carol L. O’Riordan
Veterans who are federal contractors under the government’s various small business programs, or would like to become contractors, will have a chance to vent their concerns or express their praise at an upcoming public meeting of the Interagency Task Force on Veterans Small Business Development.
The Veterans Administration is one of the agencies represented on this task force, which was established by President Barack Obama in 2010 to come up with concrete steps to help veterans become successful entrepreneurs.
As we have pointed out in the past, the VA has faced considerable criticism in recent months from veterans for its handling of the verification process for veteran-owned and service disabled veteran-owned (SDVO) small businesses, a process that continues to be backlogged. It also took flak from veterans and from members of Congress because of its position that a set-aside program doesn’t apply to purchases made through the General Services Administration’s schedules.
As Jill Aitoro of the Washington Business Journal wrote earlier this week, the task force made 18 recommendations in November 2011, including recommendations to increase contracting opportunities for veteran-owned small businesses through the Small Business Administration’s Office of Surety Guarantees; to find and reduce barriers that impede SDVO’s from getting federa contracts; and to centralize information on contracting opportunities for veterans and SDVO’s across the federal government.
These 18 recommendations will be the primary subject of the open task force meeting.
The meeting of the interagency task force will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday, January 20, 2012. The public is invited, but anyone who wishes to attend or make a presentation must first sign up with Raymond B. Snyder, the SBA’s deputy associate administrator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. The sign-up deadline is January 13, 2012. Verbal presentations will be limited to five minutes in length in the interest of time.
The meeting will take place in the Eisenhower Conference Room on the second floor of the SBA building at 409 3rd Street SW., Washington, DC 20416.