A candidate who wasn’t born on the filing deadline

One of the digs in the DDN “endorsement” of Jane was ” Ms. Mitakides, though her credentials aren’t great – lacking local involvement” showcased her role as a candidate of opportunity and fund raising ability, not of conviction.

On the other hand, I’ve been working at getting ideas out there, and creating substantive issues to be addressed. One of which I published Oct 20, 2005 as the XO of VOB108– a veterans business teaming group that I helped form.

I wrote a proposal for a simplification of the GSA schedule process for small business, you can read the whole thing at the link- or get a gist of it here:

GSA schedule EZ proposal at VOB108 new link here: http://vobohio.org/vob108/gsa-schedule-ez-proposal/
The following letter has been sent to Ohio House and Senate leaders and members of the House Committee on Veterans Affairs. It will also be distributed to local leaders, esp. economic development officers.
It is a request to create a GSA schedule EZ form for SBU’s to improve the odds of Veteran owned businesses being able to compete for Government contracts.

Veteran Owned Businesses have been graced with House Bill 108 that directs a percentage of Federal spending to VOB’s.
However, to do business with the Federal buyers, VOB’s must have a GSA schedule which is a daunting, time consuming, overly complicated process. In fact, a cottage industry has begun charging small Veteran Businesses $5000 and up to fill out the paperwork.
We, as a small group of small veteran owned businesses, would ask for your help by creating an GSA schedule EZ to help stimulate economic opportunity for those who need it most, the businesses still classified as SBU’S (Small Business Units- under 6 million in annual revenue).
Contract award size could be limited to those who have filed the EZ, or, upon award of a larger contract, the business would have 120 days to complete the standard GSA schedule application.

Please note, at the time I wrote this, I wasn’t a candidate for anything.

We got a little bit of interest from the Hill- a few phone calls, but no legislator (including Mike Turner) followed up and made it a pet project (probably because we weren’t donating money to campaign funds)

After over 10 years of trying to get some government contracts, my business, The Next Wave, got our first contracts last fall (we still haven’t received a single dime). We don’t have a GSA schedule because, as I’ve been telling government buyers- “If I had one, I’d have to charge you double.” For those of you who don’t know what a GSA schedule is- it’s a full ream plus of contract on how much you are going to charge the government, as a fixed “menu” for everything your firm can do. It takes an estimated 80 hours to complete, requires special bookkeeping procedures that seem like shackles for most small businesses. A friend in Dayton spent 2 years working on getting one, and laid off her entire staff the day after she finally got her GSA schedule (may or may not be a connection). If you are ever interested in knowing why the government pays $600 for a hammer or a toilet seat- try to get a GSA schedule (the approval process takes at least 6 months).

There has to be a better way. In 18 years of owning a business, I’ve never had a customer reject an invoice over formatting- yet, with my first Government contract I had to resubmit it 4x (and the last time was so they could actually pay me more because I itemized our meal costs on a trip, instead of using the per diem).

Just another reason why David Esrati makes common sense for Congress: the GSA schedule EZ. Brought to you without special interest money, PAC funds or corporate  cash.

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