Tribune Staff Report
A new law will bolster access to federal contracting opportunities for women-owned small businesses.
The expanded access to contracting opportunities is a result of changes included in the National Defense Authorization Act of 2013 (NDAA) to the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contract Program.
“This new law is a prime example of how the Obama administration is embracing a more inclusive view of entrepreneurship, helping small businesses and America succeed,” said SBA Administrator Karen Mills.
“Today, women own 30 percent of all small businesses — up from just five percent 40 years ago. As one of the fastest growing sectors of small business owners in the country, opening the door for women to compete for more federal contracts is a win-win.”
The NDAA removes the anticipated award price of the contract thresholds for women-owned small businesses (WOSB) and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses (EDWOSB) to allow them greater access to federal contracting opportunities without limitations to the size of the contract.
“This is an important change because prior to the new law, the anticipated award price of the contract for women-owned and economically disadvantaged women-owned small businesses could not exceed $6.5 million for manufacturing contracts and $4 million for all other contracts,” said Regional Administrator Natalia Olson-Urtecho.
“Here in SBA’s Mid-Atlantic Region, your local district office is ready to help those interested in the Women-Owned Small Business Program.”
The Women’s Federal Contract Program allows contracting officers to set aside specific contracts for certified WOSBs and EDWOSBs and will help federal agencies achieve the existing statutory goal of five percent of federal contracting dollars being awarded to WOSBs.
The law also requires the SBA to conduct another study to identify and report industries underrepresented by women-owned small businesses. As a result, more eligible, women-owned businesses may be able to participate in SBA’s Women’s Federal Contract Program, compete for and win federal contracts.
To participate in the WOSB program, firms must meet the eligibility requirements and either self-certify or obtain third party certification. There are four approved third-party certifiers that perform eligibility exams: El Paso Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, National Women Business Owners Corporation, U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.
To qualify as a WOSB, a firm must be at least 51 percent owned and controlled by one or more women, and primarily managed by one or more women. The women must be U.S. citizens and the firm must be considered small according to SBA size standards. To be deemed “economically disadvantaged,” a firm’s owners must meet specific financial requirements set forth in the program regulations.
The SBA is working with the Office of Federal Procurement Policy under the President’s Office of Management and Budget to implement the law, including changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulations.
For information about the program, visit www.sba.gov/wosb.
Black History was celebrated in many ways on Monday in Philadelphia. While welcoming the second term of our nation’s first African-American president, many Philadelphians participated in the annual Day of Service to commemorate the birthday of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. Hundreds of volunteers gathered at Girard College in North Philadelphia, the hub of Day of Service activities, where they were dispersed to various parts of the city in dozens of beautification and service projects, and took part in activities there at Girard College, including packing boxes of items for the poor, and refurbishing teddy bears for children in Philadelphia’s homeless shelters.
Across town, at the Downtown Sheraton Hotel, a different remembrance of King’s legacy took place. The 31st annual Awards and Benefit Luncheon, sponsored by The Philadelphia Martin Luther King Jr. Association for Nonviolence, drew a capacity crowd who honored this year’s recipient of the Drum Major for Youth Community Development Award, Queen Mother Falaka Fattah, founder of West Philly’s House of Umoja and legendary community leader.
And on Independence Mall, local dignitaries gathered at the Liberty Bell to honor King. Gov. Tom Corbett, William Tucker, President of The Philadelphia Martin Luther King Jr. Association for Nonviolence, and Tribune president and Tribune CEO Robert W. Bogle were on hand to watch Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, the national Honorary Bell Ringer, tap the famous bell three times in reverence to King’s memory and lasting impact on American society and politics.
Former Philadelphia City Councilwoman Happy Fernandez has died. She was 74.
She suffered a massive stroke after lung surgery on Jan. 10. The surgery was successful but she suffered the stroke moments before being released from a hospital on Jan. 13. Her family reported Saturday that she died peacefully.
Fernandez leaves behind quite a legacy in Philadelphia. She served two terms in city council and was the first woman to run for mayor in 1999.
Along with city council, Fernandez also served 13 years as President of Moore College of Art and Design. She stepped down from her duties last year.
Fernandez underwent successful lung surgery Jan. 10, but suffered the stroke moments before being released from a hospital on Jan. 13. Her family reported Saturday that she died peacefully.
Born Gladys Vivian Craven in 1939 in Omaha, Neb., “Happy” was a nickname that when combined with her surname, “Fernandez” gave a very unique monicker.
She moved east in 1954, raising a family and earning four academic degrees before rising to prominence in the city's civic, cultural and political life.
Philadelphia City Council President Darrell L. Clarke released the following statement regarding her death.
"Happy Fernandez had a personality and a heart befitting her name. My sadness at her passing is tempered by knowing her unique, sunny idealism has inspired countless others.
"I first came to know Happy when she was a Councilwoman and I was one of a crowd of young, anonymous staffers. Councilwoman Fernandez was always generous with her time and attention. Notably, she took the trouble to learn our names and always had a kind word.
"Councilwoman Fernandez will go down in Philadelphia history as the first woman to seek a major-party nomination for Mayor, and it is my sincere hope that more women follow in her footsteps. Happy was proof that idealism and a generous spirit are assets, not roadblocks, in civic life. May her passion for public education, for the young, and for the less fortunate live on across this City she loved so dearly.
"I extend my heartfelt condolences to her husband, the Rev. Richard Fernandez, their sons and their grandchildren."
She was the first woman to seek a major-party nomination for the top job of Philadelphia mayor in the nation's fifth-largest city in 1999.
She was the only Democrat in the primary ever to run a successful citywide campaign for an at-large council seat. She accomplished that in 1991 and 1995, and served two consecutive terms on council.
Fernandez helped cut local government costs by supporting the privatization of city services. She drew criticism for the low profile she kept on Council, introducing "Operation Crosswalk," a crackdown on errant bicyclists and jaywalkers. She also shepherded into law proposals to keep teenagers away from cigarette vending machines, and the creation of zero-tolerance-for-graffiti zones.
As ninth president of Moore College of Art & Design, she introduced graduate programs, the college's first co-ed education degree programs, and embraced the future by joining with Apple to provide iPads to all undergraduate students.
A lifelong advocate for public schools, she founded and led the Parents Union for Public Schools and the Children's Coalition of Greater Philadelphia.
During her tenure at Moore, the college completed a $30 million capital campaign; introduced the Visionary Woman Awards, an event honoring female leaders in the arts; and secured more than $3.5 million in new scholarships and fellowships, said Roy Wilbur, director of marketing and communications.
Fernandez earned a bachelor's degree in Biblical history and literature from Wellesley College in 1961; a master's degree in Teaching from Harvard University in 1962; a master's degree in history from the University of Pennsylvania in 1970; and a doctorate of education from Temple University in 1984.
She taught for 18 years at the School of Social Administration at Temple University.
Her interest in public education led her in 1976 to write a handbook, "Parents Organizing to Improve Schools." Five years later, she authored The Child Advocacy Handbook, still in print.
At various times, she served on 30 boards and advisory committees, including the Parkway Council Foundation, Philagrafika, the Association of Independent Schools of Art and Design, the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Pennsylvania, and Philadelphia 2035.
An avid tennis player, her first visit to Philadelphia came in 1955 when she played in the National Junior Girls Championships.
She met her husband, the Rev. Richard Fernandez, in 1961 and lived in University City for 40 years.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by three sons, John, David and Rich; and eight grandchildren.
The city will not appeal an arbitration award that gives police a wage increase two years in a row, administration officials announced Friday, the final day to make a decision.
“We have reviewed the FOP award and determined that we will not be appealing,” said city solicitor Shelley Smith, at a hastily called press conference in front of the mayor’s office.
That means an arbitration award made in December that granted police officers raises in 2012 and 2013 will stand.
A panel of arbitrators granted the pay increases in a contract re-opener that awarded 3 percent raises in each of those years plus a 1 percent stress increase. That represents $15 million in spending for the first year, and $35 million in the second year.
Finance director Rob Dubow said administration officials decided to let the award stand after concluding that it will still save the city money. He estimated the cost of the award over the five-year plan would be $150 million. But, when considered in the context of the entire contract award, which included provisions for furloughs, slashed healthcare, pensions and vacation costs, it still saved the city.
“It was a very important award for us,” he said.
The head of the police union, John McNesby, president of Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 5, did not return phone calls by Tribune deadline on Friday.
Mayor Michael Nutter’s administration has been at loggerheads with all of the city’s unions. Members of the city’s white and blue collar unions have been working without a contract since 2009. And, the city has launched several appeals of a contract awarded to firefighters.
Asked if the city’s decision had anything to do with an effort to ratchet down growing animosity between the administration and unions, Smith said the decision was simply a matter of finances.
“When we make a legal decision that we think is in the city’s best legal interest, we’re not worried about the animosity, because we recognize that sometimes we’re going to have make a decision that’s in the interest of all the taxpayers …,” she said. “Sadly, part of our job is to do things that sometimes make people unhappy. We’re okay with that.”
Dubow said it was inappropriate to make comparisons between the situation with the police award and the firefighters’ award.
“From this award, we’re getting savings,” he said. “Those kinds of savings didn’t exist in the firefighters’ award.”
In an aside, Smith said that the City is waiting for the appeal against the firefighters to be scheduled in Commonwealth Court.
A memorial service will be held Jan. 19 for Frank R. Fernandes.
Fernandes died Sunday, Jan. 13, 2013. He was 88.
He was born Feb. 27, 1924, to Eugene and Nettie Fernandes in Atlantic City, N.J.
Fernandes was only a teenager when he enlisted in the Army in 1941 to fight in World War II and received an honorable discharge in 1945. He fought in Central Burma and received a Good Conduct Medal, The American Defense Service Medal and the World War II Victory Medal.
After the war, he returned home and settled into family life. He worked for the Crown Zellerbach Corporation of Glassboro, N.J. and also for Mohawk Devices in Doylestown in the plastics division where he was a supervisor.
When he retired, Cox thought his working career had ended but decided to become a security guard at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, where he was employed until last November.
“Frank was very strong-willed and refused to let an injury to his leg in 2006 force him into retirement and continued to work even though his leg often caused him a great deal of pain,” his family said.
Fernandes enjoyed listening to the blues and jazz and watching old western movies and documentaries about the military. He was an avid reader and was current on recent events. He also looked forward to visiting New Jersey to spend time with his godson, Tommie Jones III.
“He often said that Mantua was the best community in Philadelphia and liked being a part of the neighborhood and appreciated the camaraderie he shared with his neighbors,” his family said.
In addition to his parents, Fernandes was preceded in death by his son, Frank Fernandes Jr.
He is survived by his son, Don Fernandes and other relatives and friends.
A memorial service will be held Jan. 19 at 11 a.m. Clarence Johnson Funeral Home, 805 Long Acre Blvd. in Yeadon.