June 16, 2009
Michael Victorian
(202) 639-6405

AFGE Lobbying Efforts Result in Legislation to Reform Federal Contracting, Curtail NSPS

(WASHINGTON) – The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), today, applauded Representatives Carol Shea-Porter (D-N.H.) and Jim Langevin (D-R.I.) for introducing amendments to the fiscal year 2010 Defense Authorization bill that respect the dignity of federal workers by restoring accountability to the federal contracting out process and significantly inhibiting the expansion of the controversial National Security Personnel System (NSPS). AFGE also praised the leadership of House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-Mo.) and Subcommittee Chairman on Readiness Solomon Ortiz (D-Texas).  Both amendments passed on a voice vote.

“AFGE has long been a vocal advocate for the need to both restore transparency and accountability to the federal government,” said John Gage, AFGE national president. “The amendments provided by Reps. Shea-Porter and Langevin address two of the systemic challenges to both of those goals.”

The amendment introduced by Rep. Shea-Porter seeks to address the longstanding issues associated with the Department of Defense (DoD) personnel system put forth by former DoD Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The controversial personnel policy, NSPS, has been mired by employee distrust since its inception in February 2005, when the previous administration sought to eliminate collective bargaining and constrict civilian pay under the guise of pay-for-performance. Immediately following its announcement, over 58,000 DoD employees, their unions, and other interested parties responded overwhelmingly against its implementation. Since that time, reviews by the Government Accountability Office, and media outlets, such as the Federal Times, have discovered that the system is wrought with unfairness.

The amendment introduced by Rep. Shea-Porter would:

  1. Restore full nationwide pay adjustment to 100%. Currently the nationwide adjustment is only 60% for employees in NSPS vs. 100% for employees under the General Schedule (GS).

  2. Prohibit new hires from being placed under NSPS and prohibit any reclassification of positions to NSPS.  Although DoD has suspended conversion of current DOD employees from GS into NSPS, it is continuing to place new employees into NSPS. 

  3. Require within one year of enactment for the Secretary of Defense to convert all NSPS employees back to GS unless he notifies Congress of any significant improvements to NSPS following the pending review, which is expected to be finalized by September.

Likewise, the amendment introduced by Rep. Langevin, addresses the need for complete reform in the federal governments outsourcing procedure, known as the A-76 Circular. AFGE has been deeply critical of the current privatization process. In two separate reports last year, GAO noted that A-76 studies are frequently marred with cost overruns that overstate potential savings and underestimate procedural costs. Substantiating claims by AFGE that A-76 studies have a discriminating affect on federal employees; GAO also found that A-76 studies disproportionately adversely affect female and African-American employees. As a result of these flaws, the House of Representatives included a three-year suspension of new A-76 privatization studies in DoD.

Despite these clear flaws to the system DoD has continued to be the only agency with a significant amount of A-76 activity, allowing studies which began during the Bush administration to continue.

The Langevin amendment would:

  1. Suspend through FY2012 new OMB Circular A-76 privatization studies in DoD: 

  2. Emphatically encourage DoD to cancel pending A-76 studies if functions being reviewed have not been converted to contractor performance:

On additional federal contracting reform, AFGE expressed sincere gratitude for the leadership of Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), who has introduced broad, government-wide sourcing reform legislation, which includes an indefinite suspension on the OMB Circular A-76 privatization process until general sourcing policy and the A-76 process itself can be reformed. 

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