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Federal Employees News Digest : June 3, 2013
June 3, 2013 Vol. 62, No. 44 3 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com But the report noted that because the guidance was not strictly followed, there has been "variation in the identification of contractors performing inherently govern- mental functions, unauthorized personal services, or closely associated with inher- ently governmental functions." The same guidance required components to certify compliance with the criteria, and 29 of 31 components had filed those letters by April of this year. However, the GAO report says that while the letters produced "useful insights" into whether the contracts were in order, still "none of the components' cer- tification letters discussed all six elements required by DOD's guidance." The GAO report noted that information provided by DOD units for the previous year's report had been lacking---and that every unit except the Army "had much further to go in addressing the require- ments for compiling and reviewing the inventories of contracted services." In fact, this report---echoing earlier ones---calls for leveraging the Army's system of reporting on its contractors to improve reporting Pentagon-wide. With the Army as the DOD component most compliant with requirements, much of it owing to a body called the Panel for Documentation for Contractors, the Army found that more than 900 full-time equiva- lents were "performing inherently govern- mental functions" and that 44,541 contrac- tors were performing tasks "closely associated with inherently governmental functions." The Army also found that 718 were perform- ing unauthorized personnel services. The Army reported having more than 240,000 contractors in total. The Air Force also provided correspond- ing information. In this regard, 473 Air Force full-time equivalents were found to be performing "inherently governmental func- tions," 1,398 were at work on tasks "closely associated with inherently governmental functions," and another 85 were providing unauthorized personal services. According to the report, neither the Army nor the Air Force provided "complete information on actions taken" to resolve these problems. "GAO recommends that the secretary of defense direct component heads to dis- cuss in their certification letters all required inventory review elements, as well as how instances where contractors are perform- ing inherently governmental functions were resolved," the report concluded, among other recommendations. The report noted too that DOD "generally concurred with our recommendations," but did not concur with GAO's call for the secretary of defense to participate directly in resolving the issues identified in the report. Threlkeld noted that there is a bill pending in the House Armed Services Committee--- sponsored by Rep. Scott Rigell (R-Va.)--- that addresses outside contracting, but that the AFGE official said "would water down" even today's weak reporting requirements on the contracting. Threlkeld also warned against another possibility---that the Army would be pun- ished for its reported high numbers of non- compliant contracts. Instead, he said, the Army and Air Force should get credit for reporting as required by law. See the GAO report at: www.gao.gov/ assets/660/654814.pdf. Survey seeks consumer input on USPS Research released last month by the Postal Service Office of Inspector General indicates that most Americans continue to value the role the U.S. Postal Service plays in their lives. The OIG commissioned market research firm InfoTrends to conduct a 45-ques- tion web survey to get a better fix on how Internet-connected Americans view USPS, and to assess the role Americans they think USPS could play in their lives in the future. The OIG said it commissioned the sur- vey because it believes the American public has been largely absent from the debate over the fate of the Postal Service. The project surveyed 5,000 Internet- connected Americans ages 18 years and older. In releasing the study, the OIG noted that as a web-based survey, the research excluded about 20 percent of the U.S. pop- ulation that lacks regular Internet access. The OIG said the findings "are intended to be the basis for more in-depth follow-up research into topics this initial survey iden- tifies as important," and that future research likely will reach a larger population, includ- ing those without Internet access. Among the key trends emerging from the survey: • An “overwhelming majority” of respondents think their lives would be affected adversely if USPS did not exist in five years, and most feel postal delivery should be maintained as a public service even if it is not profitable. • A “strong majority” of respondents indicated they would be interested in more self-service options. At the same time, most said getting access to services through a non-postal retail facility like a grocery store would not increase or decrease their use of USPS. • Respondents generally did not support cost-reduction efforts that would delay mail delivery, reduce mail delivery to three days per week, or decrease post office hours. • The majority of respondents still have an interest in receiving at least some physi- cal mail. • Respondents expressed interest in being able to get additional services at post offices, such as renewing a driver's license or obtaining permits or licenses. Early closures rile lawmakers Even as the OIG gauges consumer senti- ment, USPS is moving forward with plans to reshape the organization's mail process- ing network by closing or consolidating dozens of facilities this year that were not slated for consolidation until 2014. About 50 members of Congress last month signed a letter asking Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe to keep the 71 mail processing facilities open until next spring as originally planned. "We believe it would be imprudent of the United States Postal Service (USPS) to close or eliminate processing of mail, at any continued from page 1 Don’t miss our discussion of weekly news topics. Discuss these stories and more with your fellow federal workers at www.FederalSoup.com. continued on page 4
May 27, 2013
June 10, 2013