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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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Office of the National Ombudsman U.S Small Business Administration

Alliance Mid-Atlantic

March 9-10, 2010

Small Business Procurement Fair

Atlantic City, NJ

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Protecting Small Business

National Leadership

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

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Small Business Champion

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

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Committed to Small BusinessRegulatory Fairness

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

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National Ombudsman Commitment

We are committed to:

  • Eliminating unfair or excessive regulatory enforcement actions taken by Federal agencies

  • Waiving or reducing civil penalties

  • Increasing federal compliance assistance

  • Saving small businesses time and money

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The Office of the National Ombudsman:

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 excessive

How We Can Help

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We can help if you:

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 imminent

Whom We Can Help

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Repetitive audits or investigations by a Federal agency

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 employees

Examples of Unfair or Excessive Federal Regulatory Enforcement:

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Summarizes the activities of the National Ombudsman in that year

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 Participation

Annual Report to Congress

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What to Do year

  • Submit a Comment Form (At a Regulatory Fairness Hearing, online, fax, or mail-in)

  • Provide short, written explanation of your situation

  • Cite specifics

    (Provide copies of any citation, letter, order, fine, penalty, correspondence or other details)

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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.


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File a written comment by filling out the Federal Agency Comment Form either online at 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 litigation

Tips to Submitting a Comment with the National Ombudsman

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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 assistance

The National Ombudsman Does Not Have Statutory Jurisdiction to:

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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 businesses

Regulatory Fairness Board Assistance

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Howard Horowitz, Chair - (516) 437-1500 Ext. 110 Philadelphia, PA

Jonathan Weiss – (212) 248-0100 West Hempstead, NY

Don Perry – (646) 662-8409 Warwick, NY

Your Local RegFair BoardRegion (II)

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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

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Examples of Success Stories Philadelphia, PACont.

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.

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Examples of Success Stories Philadelphia, PACont.

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.

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U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Philadelphia, PA

SBA Office of the National Ombudsman

SBA Office of Advocacy Resources for Businesses

Federal Forms

Useful Websites

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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 20416

Here to Serve You