Agencies that refuse to put senior leadership in charge of their small business contracting activities, as required by law, will be asked to explain their noncompliance to a House small business subcommittee.
The Small Business Act requires each agency to have an Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization (OSDBU) that ensures contracts are written with small business participation in mind. By law, the director of these offices should report directly to an agency’s secretary or deputy secretary.
The Government Accountability Office reported in June that the Agriculture, Commerce, Interior, Justice, State and Treasury departments are not complying with the requirements. Some agencies name top level officials as OSDBU directors but have less senior administrators do day-to-day activities. Others have the OSDBU director report to officials other than the secretary or deputy secretary.
“The reporting relationship is not an issue of form over function,” Rep. Mick Mulvaney, chairman of the House Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce, said in a Politico op-ed Friday. “These small-business advocates are intended to be a peer of the chief acquisition officer and senior procurement executive. They are meant to serve as an authoritative figure — not an afterthought — so they can serve as a constant advocate for small businesses and an aggressive check against abuse.”
Mulvaney sent letters to noncompliant agencies that asked them to change their OSDBU leadership. The Treasury, State, Justice and Agriculture departments have told Mulvaney they believe they are in compliance with the law and will not change.
Mulvaney said the article that he plans to hold hearings on the topic.