Office of the National Ombudsman U.S Small Business Administration. Alliance Mid-Atlantic March 9-10, 2010 Small Business Procurement Fair Atlantic City, NJ. Protecting Small Business. National Leadership
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March 9-10, 2010
Small Business Procurement Fair
Atlantic City, NJ
We can rebuild this economy on a new, strong foundation that leads to more jobs and greater prosperity. I believe a key part of that foundation is America’s small businesses – the places where most new jobs begin. These companies represent the essence of the American spirit – the promise that anyone can succeed in this country if you have a good idea and the determination to see it through.
Weekly Address, February 6, 2010
President Barack Obama
The SBA provides small businesses with the tools they need to grow and create jobs. SBA programs are focused on providing small businesses with access to capital, opportunities in government contracting, and counseling and entrepreneurial education, or the “Three C’s”: Capital, Contracting, Counseling. We also help with low-interest loans for business owners, homeowners and renters affected by disasters. (More than half of all working Americans own or work for a small business, and small businesses lead the way in economic recovery, innovation, and global competitiveness.)
SBA Administrator Karen G. Mills
One of the biggest concerns small business owners face is unfair enforcement of federal regulations. They also worry about telling their stories because they fear retaliation by federal agencies. Small business owners want to play by the rules and comply with federal regulations, and we want federal regulators to assist business owners with compliance rather than go straight to the penalty stage.
National Ombudsman Esther H. Vassar
We are committed to:
Acts as a “troubleshooter” between small businesses and Federal agencies
Conducts public hearings and roundtables to hear concerns and comments from small businesses regarding federal regulatory enforcement or compliance assistance
Rates Federal agencies on their responsiveness to small businesses and reports its findings to Congress
Ensures that federal regulatory enforcement is effective, and not excessiveHow We Can Help
Are a small business, small government entity, or small non-profit organization
Have a comment or complaint regarding the enforcement of a federal regulation that affects a small business
Are a small business or entity facing a Federal compliance or enforcement action, or such an action is imminentWhom We Can Help
Fines or penalties assessed by a Federal agency that do not match the offense committed
Confusing or unclear paperwork
Non-responsive Federal employees
Threats, retaliation or unprofessional behavior by Federal employeesExamples of Unfair or Excessive Federal Regulatory Enforcement:
Identifies top regulatory enforcement concerns and best practices by Federal agencies
Rates Federal agencies on:
1. Timeliness of Response to comments submitted by small businesses
2. Quality of Response to comments submitted by small businesses
3. Non-Retaliation Policy
4. Compliance Assistance offered by the Federal agency
5. Written Notification of the services provided by the ONO
6. Hearing ParticipationAnnual Report to Congress
(Provide copies of any citation, letter, order, fine, penalty, correspondence or other details)
A commenter’s information is kept private as between the Office of the National Ombudsman and the Federal agency(s) involved, unless otherwise authorized.
However, the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) allows you to keep your identity and other information private, and limit its access only to the Office of the Ombudsman (See 15 U.S.C. 657 (b) (2) (B)).
Full-disclosure is recommended, as federal agency(s) involved in the review of your case may not have sufficient information to investigate your specific problem otherwise; possibly delaying or preventing the resolution of your situation.Confidentiality
File a written comment by filling out the Federal Agency Comment Form either online at www.sba.gov/ombudsman or by fax
Provide specific details: names, dates, locations, correspondence, etc.
Allow full disclosure of your comment to receive a faster, better response
Share what results you are seeking
Avoid sending legal briefs or court papers
Consult your attorney before contacting the National Ombudsman if your case is in litigationTips to Submitting a Comment with the National Ombudsman
Change, stop or delay an enforcement action Comment Form either online at
Process comments that do not involve Federal regulations or Federal agencies
Help secure government contracts or small business loans
Provide legal advice or assistanceThe National Ombudsman Does Not Have Statutory Jurisdiction to:
Your Regional RegFair Board Comment Form either online at :
Is a local resource for you to share your concerns and comments regarding Federal regulatory enforcement or compliance assistance
Holds local RegFair Hearings with the National Ombudsman
Works with small business trade groups and other entities to address regional concerns of Federal regulatory enforcement or compliance assistance
Provides input to the National Ombudsman for the National Ombudsman’s Report to Congress
Appreciates your input to improve Federal regulatory enforcement for other small businessesRegulatory Fairness Board Assistance
Howard Horowitz, Chair - (516) 437-1500 Ext. 110 Philadelphia, PA
Jonathan Weiss – (212) 248-0100 West Hempstead, NY
Don Perry – (646) 662-8409 Warwick, NYYour Local RegFair BoardRegion (II)
Issue: Philadelphia, PA Commenter submitted all requested information to the CMS and requested for provider enrollment reconsideration, as well as payment of their outstanding claims. Commenter received a letter from CMS indicating that the determination could take up to 90 days. Commenter requested that the review of his application be expedited.
Outcome: CMS stated the application was approved and a notification/approval letter was faxed to the provider.
Issue: Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued a notice of penalty to the company for late filing of Form 990 for 2007. According to the commenter, the failure to file on time was due to poor communication between transitioning officers.
Outcome: IRS removed the penalty from the company’s account and indicated that there is no balance owing on the form 990 for 2007. The penalty was abated in full.Examples of Success Stories
Issue: Company alleged that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) issued a report with inaccurate information regarding a company test procedure. The company stated the situation will have serious negative economic impact on the company.
Outcome: FSIS sent the company an official letter of apology and retracted the inaccurate information in the report.
Issue: Company stated that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) denied the company the opportunity to compete fairly for an ICE procurement because ICE misclassified the company’s proposal as late.
Outcome: ICE attributed the mistake to an incorrect time stamp on a contract specialist’s computer. Since the submission was determined to be timely, ICE reviewed the company’s proposal in accordance with the solicitation.
Issue: Commenter complained about “harassment and unwarranted treatment” by someone in the SBA while he was attempting to obtain a deferment of monthly payments of his SBA disaster home loan due to job loss.
Outcome: SBA Denver Finance Center advanced the commenter’s due date on the loan, thus bringing the loan current. Also, SBA offered and the commenter accepted another 6 months deferment period on the loan.
Issue: Commenter complained regarding “unprofessional and troubling demeanor” of a Department of Labor/Mine Safety & Health Administration (MSHA) inspector.
He alleged that the inspector did not identify himself properly; used threatening comments; was verbally abusive and threatening; used profane and vulgar language; and went through proprietary files without permission.
Outcome: MSHA stated they were disappointed that their representative did not conduct himself in a manner as required by this Agency. The supervisor reminded all inspectors that the Agency expects them to conduct themselves in a professional manner at all times and that the use of profanity will not be tolerated.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Philadelphia, PA
SBA Office of the National Ombudsman
SBA Office of Advocacy
Business.gov Resources for Businesses
Office of the National Ombudsman Philadelphia, PA
Toll Free: (888) 734-3247 (REG-FAIR)
Fax: (202) 481-5719
Mail: Office of National Ombudsman
409 Third Street, SW, Suite 7125
Washington, DC 20416Here to Serve You