August 02, 2010
Enid Doggett
(202) 639-6419

Durbin and Mikulski Push for Additional Reforms to Make Federal Sourcing More Accountable to Taxpayers and More Fair to Federal Employees

AFGE thanks Senate Financial Services Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman Richard Durbin (D-IL) for including provisions in the FY11 Financial Services Appropriations Bill that would

  1. promote federal employee performance of closely associated with inherently governmental functions,

  2. improve reliability of service contractor inventories, and

  3. ensure equitable treatment of federal employees and contractors with respect to performance of functions that need not necessarily be performed in-house. 

AFGE also thanks Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) for working with Chairman Durbin to include these reforms in this year’s funding measure. 

“Thanks to the leadership of Chairman Durbin and Senator Mikulski, all non-DoD agencies were required through the FY10 Financial Services Appropriations Bill to establish service contractor inventories,” said AFGE National President John Gage.  “This requirement was based on an earlier contractor inventory requirement established for the Department of Defense in the FY08 National Defense Authorization Act.  Chairman Durbin’s bill would ensure that the same standard that applies to DoD with respect to federal employee performance of closely associated with inherently governmental functions also applies to non-DoD agencies—that such functions should be performed to the maximum extent possible by reliable and experienced federal employees.  Examples of `closely associated’ functions include overseeing and evaluating contractors, preparing budgets and reorganizations, and interpreting and developing regulations.  Only the most egregiously irresponsible contractors could possibly oppose such a reform. 

“Other Durbin-Mikulski reforms ensure that agencies’ contractor inventories include services procured through task orders and use actual data, as opposed to crude guesstimates,” continued Gage.  “Contractors and their cronies in the executive branch know that increased visibility will inevitably lead to increased accountability, particularly during tighter budgets, which is why they so strenuously oppose implementation of the inventories.  However, reliable and comprehensive contractor inventories promote good management and ensure that agencies can generate savings from their vast contractor workforces instead of just their in-house workforces.  That the executive branch is not in compliance with the inventory requirement is, in large part, because of the lack of any leadership from the Office of Management and Budget.

“The final Durbin-Mikulski reform ensures that in future years agencies cannot outsource work performed by federal employees unless they are also taking actions to insource `commercial’ functions performed by contractors, i.e., those that are not inherently governmental, `closely associated’, or critical,” concluded Gage.  “There has been much concern that insourcing in the non-DoD agencies is excessively focused on functions that are too important or sensitive to have been outsourced and not enough on functions that can be performed more efficiently by federal employees.  This reform promotes a more balanced federal sourcing policy and ensures that insourcing will be permanent, not just a passing fad.”

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