(Washington, D.C.)—The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) today sharply criticized a joint decision by the Government Accounting Office (GAO) to deny bid protests filed by AFGE on behalf of its members at four agencies, the Department of Agriculture, the Defense Finance and Accounting Services, the Department of Homeland Security's Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services, and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, for lack of jurisdiction. GAO essentially punted to the Congress, saying lawmakers should consider providing standing to feds but not saying who should have it, managers, employers, or unions.
"It is a disservice to taxpayers and profoundly unfair to federal employees that the bid protests filed by AFGE were not decided on the merits. If the GAO is unprepared to deal fairly with federal employees, it is imperative that the Congress intervene and provide federal employees and their union representatives with the same full legal standing before the General Accounting Office and the Court of Federal Claims throughout the contracting process that contractors have long enjoyed," said John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees.
"We will strongly oppose any effort to invest standing exclusively in an agency tender official, a senior manager charged with implementing the Bush Administration's privatization agenda, and someone who manifestly lacks the autonomy, resources, and incentive to represent federal employees who are being victimized by the Bush Administration's one-sided privatization agenda," Gage added.