Doyon Favors Changes to 8(a) Program

Dan Bross, KUAC – Fairbanks

Interior Regional Native Corporation Doyon is looking favorably on changes to a federal program that funnels federal contracts worth billions of dollars to Alaska Native corporations. The Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Program has announced new regulations aimed at eliminating waste, fraud and abuse in the no bid contract program for disadvantaged companies.  Doyon Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Aaron Schutt says changes suggested by Doyon, Arctic Slope and CIRI Corporations are reflected in the new rules.

The 8(a) program drew major scrutiny in Congress, that resulted in calls for its elimination or reform.  One criticism was that too much of the non-competitive contract money awarded to native corporations was going to non-native companies partnered with to do the work. Schutt says the issue is addressed in the new regulations.

Schutt says the separate issue of subcontracting by 8(a) recipients to non-native companies is covered by better enforcement of existing regulations, but that the new rules do require improved reporting of the benefits of 8(a) contracts to share holders.  Schutt says Doyon has only been a minimal participant in the no bid 8(a) program, but does have major federal security and construction contracts in the Lower 48 and Alaska, including a several-billion-dollar-, 50-year contract to run utilities on Interior military bases.

CORRECTION: On tonight’s Alaska News Nightly, we mistakenly stated that NANA was among the corporations that proposed changes to the 8(a) program.  The corporations that contributed are Doyon, Arctic Slope and CIRI.

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