(Washington, D.C.)—The American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) today applauded House-Senate conferees for taking significant steps towards reforming the OMB Circular A-76 privatization process. In the Transportation-Treasury Appropriations Conference Report, members of Congress approved provisions that make the process of privatization of federal services more fair to federal workers and more accountable to federal taxpayers.
“The Office of Management and Budget had developed a system that was manifestly biased toward private contractors,” said John Gage, AFGE national president. “We appreciate the leadership taken by Senator Barbara Mikulski and Representative Steny Hoyer in changing that.”
According to Gage, the Transportation-Treasury Appropriations Conference Report includes clear language that ensures federal employees in all executive branch agencies will be allowed to submit their best bids (pursuant to the Most Efficient Organization Plans) and that contractors must at least promise appreciable savings (through the application of a minimum cost differential) before taking away work performed by federal employees.
“In ensuring that the in-house workforce will be allowed to compete vigorously, this reform, which has been sought by AFGE since the introduction of the first version of the Truthfulness, Responsibility, and Accountability in Contracting (TRAC) Act in 2000, promotes both fairness for federal employees and efficiency for taxpayers,” said Gage.
“The integrity of the competition process is strengthened when agency decision makers can be held accountable,” added Gage. “AFGE now has standing authority to take its case to the General Accounting Office if it feels that decisions were not made in the best interests of taxpayers.”
In addition to Senator Mikulski and Representative Hoyer, AFGE expresses its appreciation to other conferees, including Senator Robert Byrd, Senator Patty Murray, Representative Dave Obey, and Representative John Olver. From the relevant authorizing committees, AFGE thanks Representative Henry Waxman, Senator Susan Collins, and Senator Joe Lieberman.
Finally, AFGE must recognize the leadership of Representative Chris Van Hollen and Senator Edward Kennedy. It was Representative Van Hollen who led the successful fight on the House side to force the Office of Management and Budget to rewrite the flawed A-76 process. It was Senator Kennedy whose earlier amendment to the Defense Appropriations bill inspired the provisions in the Transportation-Treasury Appropriations Conference Report that guarantee federal employees in all executive agencies the chance to submit their best bids and require contractors to at least promise appreciable savings before taking work from federal employees.