Sheppard A-76 study under scrutiny Union officials question legality, cost-effectiveness

"In A-76 competitions, often you have the same people doing the same work, but they've traded a good job for an inferior job in terms of salary, health benefits and retirement benefits," Price said.

The goals of the study are cost-effectiveness and freeing up military personnel for war fighting, and Price said she thinks neither goal is being accomplished.

She said while the study is performed, money is spent on the study itself and military personnel must remain in their positions, not saving the taxpayers any costs and not freeing up the military members to fight in wars.
"The long-term interest of federal employees is to save the taxpayer money because that's our job security - our goal is the same as the taxpayers - we want to provide quality service at a reasonable cost and in exchange, we want to make decent wages with good benefits. If there are efficiencies to be had at Sheppard, let's go get them," Price said.

She said the union wants the study to be suspended and they want to get an investigation into how much it has cost to perform the study over the past eight years and also to determine if the study is legal. The study was started in 1999, then stopped in 2001, and restarted in 2003, she said.

Price said a provision in the Defense Appropriations Law states that A-76 studies cannot go on longer than 30 months.

"We're not asking the public to come in and save the federal employees, we're asking them to look at how our interests mesh here and to do what makes sense for the taxpayers and the country in the end," Price said. "Save the good jobs we have here so that when our kids come home from serving in the military, if they want to stay in this community, they have a good job to come home to."

Johnson said his concerns lie in a couple of areas, including the effect the study's outcome might have on the local economy. He said if the bid is awarded to the lowest bidder, payment to the employees will surely drop and that means less money to be spent in the local area.

Johnson also said he sees frustration in fellow employees as they worry about job security or if they are going to be paid the same wages and receive the same benefits should their job be co-opted by a private contractor.

"The federal workers at Sheppard Air Force Base have been under the study since 1999 and they feel helpless, they feel like the battle is useless. We're trying to show them that it's not too late," Johnson said.

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