The FY10 Defense Appropriations Conference Report includes a provision that would suspend all pending OMB Circular A-76 studies and conversions in the Department of Defense (DoD).
Although all agencies were forbidden earlier this year from starting new privatization studies, DoD has stubbornly insisted on carrying out more than a dozen old privatization studies that were started during the Bush Administration in order to achieve now outlawed political privatization quotas. These studies under the now disgraced and discredited A-76 process unfairly jeopardize the jobs of more than 2,000 civilian employees.
Section 8117 would suspend all A-76 studies and conversions until DoD complies with the requirements imposed by Section 325 of the FY10 Defense Authorization Act. According to report language, DoD cannot comply with this requirement earlier than October 15, 2010. DoD could theoretically start up the A-76 studies and conversions again after complying with Section 325. However, AFGE will be sure to work with friendly lawmakers to ensure that this provision constitutes the collective demise of the pending A-76 studies and conversions, rather than their mere postponement.
“This historic victory was achieved because of the impassioned and informed advocacy of Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) and the courageous and tireless leadership of House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee Chairman John Murtha (D-PA),” declared AFGE National President John Gage. “House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton (D-MO), who has authored so many sourcing reform provisions, was also vital to the success of this effort. Civilian employees are rightly disappointed that this Pentagon would insist on carrying out privatization studies after the A-76 process has been subjected to such withering criticism by the Government Accountability Office and the DoD Inspector General.
“Representative Hinchey and Chairman Murtha are also to be congratulated,” continued Gage, “on the inclusion in the conference report of a provision that safeguards the United States Military Academy, West Point, from both the A-76 process as well as utilities privatization. This provision will serve as a model for other installations. Efficiencies can be obtained through internal reengineering, rather than privatization.”
“Finally, Chairman Murtha is to be commended,” concluded Gage, “for furthering DoD’s insourcing effort, particularly with respect to critical functions that must always be performed by reliable and experienced civilian employees. As the House Appropriations Committee noted, `The Department estimates that every position that is converted from contract to federal civilian saves on average $44,000 per year.’”
The FY10 Defense Appropriations Conference Report must still be passed by the Senate, and then signed into law by the President in order to be enacted.