Letter: Special contracting treatment hurts Alaska Native firms
Regarding “Clinton: Alaska Native firm may have gotten unfair bonus,” Alaska Native, Indian Tribe and Hawaiian Native companies can be awarded noncompetitive contracts through the Small Business Administration's 8(a) program for any dollar value. The $3 million to $5.5 million threshold and justification applied to regular 8(a) companies for noncompetitive contracts does not apply to these other categories. It would be interesting to find out if this $475 million Homeland Security Department contract was competitive or not.
Regardless, allowing awards noncompetitively to these classes of contractors should be limited to the same requirements as regular 8(a) companies. The ability to award large contracts noncompetitively to these classes of contractors is a terrible temptation to program and contracting officials who seem to be perpetually short of personnel and time. Also, the companies may not be capable of doing the work so they subcontract the real meat of the effort to other contractors, usually large businesses, with no Native or Indian connection. This is a further abuse of a program meant to assist these classes of contractors and their people.
Former program contracting officer at Naval Air Systems Command
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