Specifically, the provision prevents current GS-1102 contract specialists from being promoted, transferred or laterally assigned if they don’t have a baccalaureate degree—even if they have taken the requisite 24 semester hours of business-related college studies. Further, GS-1106 procurement technicians, who have historically constituted the pool from which the more senior GS-1102s have been drawn, are being unfairly prevented from earning promotions into the GS-1102 series if they don’t have a degree.
“This is wrong. Experience, training and, above all, job performance are what matter,” Harnage stated. “Even worse, the required degree can be in any field from art to zoology. This rewards generalists who have no experience and may not even have any aptitude at buying and contract administration at the expense of those who have real-life, hands-on experience,” he added.
Both the Administration and personnel professionals throughout the federal government have opposed this provision.
“This requirement is bad for federal employees and taxpayers,” Harnage added. “It denies promotional opportunities to employees for reasons unrelated to their job performance and taxpayers are denied the wisdom and expertise of thousands of hard-working civil servants in the acquisition work force.” It is estimated that as many as 55 percent of current GS-1102 contract specialists and GS-1106 procurement technicians are impacted by this unjust requirement.
Exacerbating the problem is the elimination of an educational requirement for information technology contract workers in the very same bill that imposed the educational requirement for contract and procurement specialists. “Congress is once again favoring contractors over federal employees,” Harnage concluded. “If lawmakers are really interested in improving the acquisition process, they should ensure that DoD provides acquisition personnel with timely and effective training in federal contracting and end the mindless downsizing.”
Federal employee contacts are available to discuss this issue. Contact AFGE’s Communications Department for further information.