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Need Relief from an Unfair Regulatory or Enforcement Burden?
At the Regulatory Fairness Forums on August 12th and 13th, small business owners and community leaders in Winfield and Wichita heard presentations from SBA’s Office of Ombudsman and Office of Advocacy, about their roles in preventing and resolving federal regulatory burdens on small businesses.
- SBA National Ombudsman, Brian Castro, explained how his office assists small businesses when they experience excessive or unfair federal regulatory enforcement actions, such as repetitive audits or investigations, excessive fines, penalties, threats, retaliation or other unfair enforcement action by a federal agency.
- Region 7 Advocate, Becky Greenwald, said the SBA’s SBA Office of Advocacy acts as the watchdog for the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA) that requires federal agencies to review regulations for their impact on small businesses, and consider less burdensome alternatives. The Office of Advocacy advances the views and concerns of small business before Congress, the White House, the federal agencies, the federal courts and state policy makers when new laws and regulations are being considered.
The good news shared at the forums is that there is an efficient and effective way that you can have a burdensome regulation or unfair enforcement action addressed by a confidential third party. In short, a small business owner or nonprofit organization can file a short (one page) complaint form with the SBA’s SBA Office of Ombudsman. A small business owner can also contact one of four volunteer small business owners that serve on our Regional Regulatory Fairness Board.
While Ombudsman Castro emphasized that he could not guarantee all complaints would be resolved in the business owner's favor, he did promise that his office will ensure each substantiated complaint is addressed by the federal agency or department involved.
Here are some helpful links to learn more about how to confidentially file a complaint or comment regarding Federal enforcement/compliance actions that they consider excessive or unfair.
SBA Office of Ombudsman:
- General Information: https://www.sba.gov/ombudsman/spotlight
- How to file a complaint or comment: http://www.sba.gov/ombudsman/comments
Complaint and Comment Form (in two formats):
- Web form: http://web.sba.gov/nocms/client/dsp_welcome.cfm
- Fillable PDF form: http://www.sba.gov/sites/default/files/forms/Comment%20Form%20(Fillable).pdf
Regional Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards (comprised of five volunteer small business owners) can:
- Receive a copy of your appraisal form.
- Hold a follow-up meeting on your concern.
- Report on significant enforcement issues; and
- Reflect all concerns in their report to Congress.
Small Business Regulatory Fairness Boards cannot adjudicate your complaints directly; or reverse agency decisions. Therefore, you should continue exercising your rights and exhausting every option you believe is in your best interest.
View current Regional Regulatory Boards: http://www.sba.gov/ombudsman/regional-regulatory-fairness-board-members
Region 7 Board Members (serving Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, and Nebraska) are:
Joseph E. Jindra, Chairman
1616 Cedar Street
Concordia, KS 66901
Phone: (785) 243-1414
Fax: (785) 243-1391
Cynthia (Cindy) Brown
Shred-it, Brown Germann Enterprises, Inc.
4801 Park 370 Blvd.
Hazelwood, MO 63042
Phone: (314) 995-9099
Fax: (314) 995-9901
Carisa L. McMullen
Landworks Studio LLC
103 S. Chestnut Street
Olathe, KS 66061
Phone: (913) 780-6707
Fax: (913) 780-2407
Purk & Associates, P.C.
1034 South Bentwood Blvd., Suite 2000
St. Louis, MO 63117
Phone: (314) 884-4009
Fax: (314) 884-4059
For more information on this subject, feel free to contact Michael Aumack at the SBA's Wichita District Office by telephone: (316) 269-6275, or by email: Michael.Aumack@sba.gov.
Published August 2014