(Washington)—The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) today praised lawmakers in the Senate and House for their efforts to ensure that the essential work performed by employees in the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Financial Reporting Division (FRD) remained in-house. Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.) and Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) led the effort.
“While we were pleased that the in-house workforce won the A-76,” said Eddie Eitches, president of AFGE Local 476, “it boggles the mind that this work would ever have been considered for privatization in the first place. FRD prepares and submits accounting, financial, and budgetary reports to Congress, HUD management, the Treasury Department, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the General Accounting Office, and other governmental organizations, for more than 70 programs that have combined annual budgets of $35 billion, more than $120 billion in assets, and guaranteed loans in excess of $500 billion. This information is used by the president and Congress to evaluate HUD programs, and make decisions about future budgets and appropriations.”
According to the Senate letter to HUD Secretary Alphonso R. Jackson, “FRD essentially establishes HUD’s accounting policies and procedures. Such a task involves ‘value judgement(s) in making decisions for the federal government’ and thus clearly falls within the definition of an inherently governmental activity that cannot be competitively bid.”
“Because of administration pressure, agencies like HUD are reviewing work for privatization that clearly is inherently governmental and should be performed by reliable and experienced federal employees,” Eitches said. “Top level HUD management wants to focus on accomplishing the mission of the agency. Sadly, the OMB competitive sourcing directive distracts HUD officials, and sometimes has the effect of forcing them to make decisions that thwart HUD from accomplishing its goals.”