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OMB Issues Guidance about Buy America Preference in Federal Infrastructure Contracts
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued new guidance to help federal agencies implement the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law’s “Build America, Buy America” provisions—standards that will help ensure that federally funded infrastructure projects use American-made iron, steel, construction materials, and manufactured products. However, the guidance recognizes that agencies will have to issue waivers strategically while manufacturers scale up to meet demand because of gaps in America’s supply chains. The guidance also provides preliminary direction to agencies for determining when construction materials are “Made in America.” Read more here.
GSA Announces Actions to Advance Equity and Supplier Diversity in Federal Procurement
The General Services Administration (GSA) announced steps to advance equity and supplier diversity in federal procurement in line with recent changes to the category management program and other actions to reduce obstacles for small disadvantaged businesses (SDBs). These steps will help GSA reach the Biden administration’s goal of increasing the share of contracts awarded to SDBs by 50% by 2025. Read more here.
States Regularly Use Engineering Consultants on Federal-Aid Highway Construction Projects
Transportation departments in all 50 states and Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico used engineering consultants to assist them on federal-aid highway construction projects, a survey by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act authorized an average of $54.6 billion a year from FY 2022-2026 for the federal-aid highway program. The most important factors in state transportation departments’ decisions to hire outside engineering consultants were the size and skill of their own workforces. Half of state transportation departments reported that at least 60% of their engineering and design-related expenditures on these federal-aid projects were for engineering consultants. Read more here.
SBA Adds Two Courses Geared toward Women Entrepreneurs
The Small Business Administration (SBA) announced the launch of two new educational modules on the Ascent digital platform, which targets the needs of women entrepreneurs. One is about the value of business partnerships and one is about entrepreneurial leadership. Read more here.
Upcoming Government Contracts Presentations
Pennsylvania Healthcare Agency Will Pay More Than $1.15 Million for Overtime Violations
Nursing Care in Home LLC, operating as Meridius Health in Lancaster, PA, and its owner, Rustam Suvanidze, will pay a total of $1,158,955 to 193 direct care workers under a consent judgment entered in a federal court in Pennsylvania. Labor Department investigators determined that the employer paid employees straight time for all work hours and failed to consider bonuses and hazard pay when computing overtime. The judgment requires the employer to pay $579,477 in back wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to the workers. In addition, the employer and its owner must pay $37,921 in civil money penalties because of the willful nature of their violations. Read more here.
Delaware Landscaper Must Pay More Than $100,000 in Back Pay and Damages to 10 Temporary Workers
A federal court ordered DeVilbiss Landscape Architects Inc., in Lewes, DE, and owner and company president Paul DeVilbiss, to pay $50,622 in back overtime wages and an equal amount in liquidated damages to 10 temporary workers. The jury rejected the company’s argument that its employees were agricultural workers exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act and found that DeVilbiss operated a landscaping company rather than a farm. Read more here.
Upcoming Labor & Employment Presentations
Government Contractor Pleads Guilty to Bribing a Government Official
The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that Jennifer A. Strickland, president of SDC Contracting LLC, pleaded guilty to bribing a General Services Administration contracting official to award federal construction contracts to her company. DOJ said that from July 2018 until December 2019, Strickland paid the official $43,500 in cash in return for the award of approximately $1.4 million in federal construction contracts for her company to provide construction and renovation services at federal buildings throughout Virginia. Read more here.