(Washington)—“AFGE thanks the conferees to the FY08 Defense Authorization Bill for including several bipartisan reforms long sought by this unions’ activists,” declared AFGE National President John Gage. “Moreover, several of these reforms, although included in the Department of Defense (DoD) bill, benefit all federal employees; others, although specific to DoD employees, lay the foundation for government-wide reforms.”
Section 322: Health care and retirement costs would be excluded from the DoD contracting out cost comparison process. Competitions could focus on who could do the job better, as opposed to whether contractors could get an unfair advantage by shortchanging their employees on benefits.
Section 323: The revised OMB Circular A-76 requires federal employees—but not contractors—to be reviewed at the end of their performance periods, automatically. This provision would leave that determination to DoD officials.
Section 324: The Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness would be required to publish guidelines for insourcing new work and contracted out work to ensure that federal employees have opportunities to perform such work on a regular basis. Special consideration is given for contracted out work that is actually inherently governmental, poorly performed, or was given to contractors without competition, along with new work that is similar to work previously performed by federal employees or closely associated with inherently governmental work. In such instances, the OMB Circular A-76 process would not be required. An inventory would be used to ensure that DoD is actively reviewing contracts for work that is appropriate for insourcing. The Inspector General would be assigned to ensure compliance with this new insourcing section.
Section 325: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) would be prohibited from requiring or directing DoD to begin, continue, or complete a privatization review. Similarly, DoD would be prohibited from beginning, continuing, or completing a privatization review because of a requirement or direction from OMB. The Inspector General would be assigned to ensure compliance with this new prohibition.
Section 326: Federal employees in all agencies would finally have the opportunity to appeal contracting out decisions to the Government Accountability Office, a right contractors have long enjoyed.
Section 327: Federal employees in non-DoD agencies would have a permanent and rigorous right to compete before their work—for functions involving more than ten employees—is converted to contractor performance. The safeguards and Congressional notification would be stronger than those currently afforded non-DoD federal employees. The competition process for non-DoD employees would be identical to the process already in place for DoD employees.
“AFGE is very grateful to Chairmen Ike Skelton and Carl Levin and Readiness Chairmen Solomon Ortiz and Daniel Akaka,” said Gage. “We are obviously very grateful as well to our champions on the House side—Representatives Nancy Boyda, Gene Taylor, Elijah Cummings, Chris Van Hollen and Carol Shea-Porter—as well as the Senate side—Senators Edward Kennedy, Barbara Mikulski, Joe Lieberman, and Claire McCaskill. And, obviously, without a lot of bipartisan support from a host of other lawmakers, both Republican and Democratic, this accomplishment would never have happened. Finally, it should be noted that we have worked with lawmakers to attempt to ensure that provisions similar to Sections 322, 325, 326, and 327 would be included in the government-wide FY08 Financial Services Appropriations Bill.”