It is not too late to take advantage of the tax deduction that getting on to a GSA Schedule Contract can and will provide.

Tax Savings – Contracting with a consulting firm to complete your GSA Schedule is fully tax deductible in the year the expenditure was made. Contracting with a consulting firm now rather than in the first quarter is advisable because it returns a major portion of your cash flow to the firm in terms of reduced income tax a year sooner.

NASA Voted Best Places to Work in Government

The federal government’s long-running progress on improving employee engagement at agencies and departments has essentially stalled, concluded officials at the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service in its annual “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government” report released Wednesday. The findings were prepared in collaboration with the Boston Consulting Group.

Although the Office of Personnel Management announced in October that engagement across government increased slightly in 2018, according to the results of its Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey, the Partnership found that at a majority of agencies, employee engagement actually fell.

Using its own weighted average to FEVS questions, the Partnership found that engagement declined at 59 percent of federal agencies and departments, compared to only 40 percent of agencies where scores improved. The remaining agencies saw no change. Last year, more than 70 percent of agencies saw gains in their engagement scores over 2016. BKM Management Consulting was encouraged to see that a Government Agency was ranked as one of the best places to work.

“This year’s rankings tell the tale of two governments,” said Partnership President and CEO Max Stier in a statement. “One part of our government has agencies with committed leaders who are fostering high and improving levels of employee engagement. The other part of our government is handicapped by a lack of leadership that has led to static or declining employee engagement.”

On the question of agency leadership alone, only 46 percent of agencies saw improvement this year, compared to 76 percent in 2017.

Among large agencies, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration led the pack for the seventh straight year, increasing 0.3 points from 80.9 last year to 81.2 in 2018. The Health and  Human Services Department came in second, improving 0.5 points to 70.9 this year. And the Commerce Department saw a 1.1 point increase, from 69.2 in 2017 to 70.3 this year.

But the Agriculture Department saw a 6.9 point decrease in engagement, according to the Partnership’s rankings, falling to 59 this year, ahead of only the Homeland Security Department among large agencies in overall score. The State Department’s engagement score dropped 3.3 points, from 64 in 2017 to 60.7 this year.

Among mid-size agencies, the Federal Trade Commission led the pack, improving 2.6 points to a 2018 score of 84. The Small Business Administration was tied with the FTC for best improvement, reaching an overall engagement score of 62. Coming in second behind the FTC was the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which received a 83.9 engagement score, followed by the Securities and Exchange Commission’s 82.1.

But mid-size agencies accounted for some of the worst declines in engagement as well. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau fell 25.2 points, from 76.9 in 2017 to 51.7 this year. The National Labor Relations Board saw a 12.6 point decrease, reaching an engagement score of 55.3 in 2018, and Education Department fell 12.4 points, from 59.7 in 2017 to 47.3 this year.

The Veterans Affairs Department was not included in the rankings, as a result of its shift this year from FEVS to an internal employee survey. The department will return to the rankings next year, but it, along with any other agency that does not participate in FEVS, will not be included in governmentwide engagement scores.

Good Information for Small Businesses

                            Agencies propose rule change to cut burdens on small business

By: Jessie Bur    1 day ago


A proposed Federal Acquisition Regulation rule change would make it easier for small businesses to comply with sub-contracting allowances.

The Department of Defense, the General Services Administration and NASA have proposed a rule change to the Federal Acquisition Regulations that would standardize the limitations on subcontracting across agencies while reducing the burden on small businesses contractors.

The proposed rule change, issued in the Federal Register Dec. 4, would adopt the Small Business Administration’s approach to addressing requirements made by the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act that limited the percentage of the contract that awardees could spend on a subcontractor.

“Prior to passage of section 1651 of the NDAA for FY2013, the limitations on subcontracting and the non-manufacturer rule were inconsistent across the small business programs,” the proposed rule states.

“For example, for awards under some small business programs, the prime contractor was required to perform a certain percentage of work itself, whereas under other programs, the prime contractor could include subcontracts to ‘similarly situated entities’ in the percentage of work it performed.”  GSA Schedule Contracts require big business to sub-contract 23% of the work they receive.

The NDAA requirements, however, focus on limiting the award amount given to subcontractors, rather than percentages of work.

“As a result, the prime contractor no longer has to track the percentage of costs incurred that it spends performing work itself; it only has to track the percentage of the overall award amount (i.e., contract price) that it spends on subcontractors. For small businesses, this change will reduce a substantial burden associated with tracking and demonstrating compliance with the limitations on subcontracting,” the proposed rule says. Under a GSA Schedule Contract all large businesses are required to submit a small business sub-contracting plan.

“These important changes give small businesses greater flexibility on how they choose to comply with the limitations on subcontracting. Under the current FAR clauses, there is only one way for a small business to comply with the limitations: it must spend the required amount on work performed in-house. As proposed in this rule, there will be more than one way to comply with the limitations, and the small business will be able to choose how to comply.”

These limitations on subcontracting, however, do not apply to small business set-aside contracts valued at less than $150,000. The GSA Schedules are separate within these rules.


Calling all Small Businesses for GSA Schedule Contracts

DECEMBER 3, 2018 01:56 PM ET

10 Problems DHS Wants Innovative Small Businesses to Solve in 2019

The department will be offering millions of dollars to small businesses able to offer solutions to these 10 tough technical problems.

By Aaron Boyd,Senior Editor

The Homeland Security Department released a list of 10 bleeding-edge research areas it plans to pursue in fiscal 2019 in partnership with innovative small businesses. Go to :

The department’s Science and Technology Directorate and Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office announced Friday the tentative list of technical areas for this year’s Small Business Innovation Research, or SBIR, program. In the coming year, Homeland Security SBIR officials are proposing research into topics including using drones to detect radiological threats, sharing cyber threat data, using blockchain for forensic analysis, and advanced identity management—from DNA to cyberspace.

“The SBIR program provides an opportunity for innovative small businesses to find solutions that meet the technology needs of the department’s operational components and the nation’s first responders,” William Bryan, senior official performing the duties of the undersecretary for science and technology, said in the announcement.

Homeland Security’s SBIR program obligated almost $250 million across 805 awards from its start in 2004 through 2015, the latest year with data available on the  dashboard. The program hit its height in 2006 with almost $29.9 million in funds obligated to 95 projects.

In 2015, Homeland Security’s program obligated $20.7 million to 48 projects. This amount is relatively small when compared to the largest SBIR awarders that year: the Energy Department at $193.6 million, Health and Human Services at $714.4 million and the Defense Department at $956.9 million.

The list for 2019 includes eight topics under the Science and Technology Directorate and two more under the CWMD office’s program.

Reach-Back Capability for Fielded Rapid DNA Systems

Objective: Development of an accredited Homeland Security reach-back capability to review results from fielded Rapid DNA systems using the Office of Biometric Identity Management DNA store/match/share capability.