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Federal Employees News Digest : June 24, 2013
June 24, 2013 Vol. 62, No. 47 3 Visit us on the Internet at www.FederalDaily.com before Congress," Threlkeld added. "Now, they have done the report, but they have yet to do the inventory---and I [understand] that they may still be three years away from finishing that. This was called for in 2008, so that gives you an idea of how long they're taking on that." "Rep. Rigell actually tried to offer this [same] amendment last year at mark-up, and this year at mark-up," Threlkeld said, explaining A-76 proponents' recent failure. "He was directed to offer it on the floor of the House, which he did---and that's where it failed." Threlkeld maintained that the propo- nents of the effort did themselves in by advocating for---and ultimately winning---a less restrictive A-76 process by the middle of the last decade. But it was those loosened rules and the controversies that ensued on certain competitions which helped to stop the practice, he said. "A-76 was at its worst in the first few years of the 2000s," he said. "The process was rewritten, at that time, and made to rely more on subjective criteria---and that's the version we subsequently got de-funded. For now, the moratorium stands." "If I were Rep. Rigell and other propo- nents, I'd wait some time before revisit- ing this issue," Threlkeld said. "We got 55 Republican votes this time---more than we've ever had. We've certainly established a bipartisan coalition against A-76. But this is a way for some representatives to beat up on federal employees---and if it serves their purposes, they will be back at it again." "Winning here came down to the hard work of our activists," Threlkeld main- tained, echoing the union's president. "It also helped, maybe, that some lawmakers who represent DOD civilian employees are beginning to understand these folks have been through a lot---furloughs and possible job losses---and privatization studies could just add more disruption." "Another thing to keep in mind: the alleged, projected savings from the com- petitions is often exceeded by the cost of the studies done to compare costs," Threlkeld added. He cited GAO audits conducted in 2008 that addressed A-76 studies at the departments of Agriculture and Labor, revealing that phenomenon. Rigell and other proponents have pointed out in recent years that they simply want to legalize---not require---A-76 competitions at DOD. But AFGE and other opponents say that such a claim is a Trojan horse. "It's disingenuous," Threlkeld told FEND. "The next thing they would do is to fight to make the process required. We're prepared to fight again against A-76. One way or another, it comes up every year. " Panel examines government transformation proposal The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee at a June 18 hearing examined a proposal to "reinvent govern- ment" by using input from a commission of private-sector management experts. The proposal to create a seven- member Government Transformation Commission comes from the Government Transformation Initiative, a coalition of corporations, nonprofits and other groups pushing for establishment of a statutory commission to remake federal government operations. Implementation of any recom- mendations would require congressional approval. GTI is chaired by former U.S. Comptroller General David Walker, who led the Government Accountability Office during the administration of George W. Bush. In prepared testimony, Walker noted that unlike the Simpson/Bowles Commission, the proposed commission "would not make policy recommendations regarding taxes, social insurance programs or other policy areas, but would focus on operational and management matters." "Workforce reduction is not the focus of the Government Transformation Commission," he also pointed out. "If adjustments, eliminations or consolidations are made to programs or activities, it would not necessarily result in a loss of federal jobs because most individuals should be able to be redeployed within the federal govern- ment. In addition, there is little question that there are too many government contractors and not enough controls and safeguards over them. The work of the commission could result in the replacement of certain contractors with government employees." American Federation of Government Employees National President J. David Cox Sr. rejected the idea, and urged lawmakers to turn it down. "Before Congress agrees to cede its role in deciding which agencies and programs to authorize and what level of funding it considers adequate for efficient and effective operation and delivery of services, I urge you to consider that there is nothing any commission could recommend that can- not also be accomplished through normal, democratic processes," Cox testified. Cox also was wary of using best practices in the private sector as a standard, calling the idea "particularly dangerous." "Private-sector best practices are about profit maximization," he stated. "They are inconsistent with the mission of many fed- eral agencies to protect public health, pro- vide assistance in times of food insecurity, homelessness, poverty and old age. They are not standards appropriate for law enforce- ment, data gathering, scientific research, national security, or the defense of civil rights or equal employment opportunities." "I am not convinced," he said. "I believe that a commission with the same individu- als and the same corporate sponsors as pre- vious commissions will produce the same sorts of recommendations that have been previously rejected." National Treasury Employees Union President Colleen Kelley, who also sub- mitted testimony, noted that "many coali- tion members themselves do a lucrative federal contracting business," and won- dered whether the commission "is just another way to increase market share for their members..." Kelley said that the commission would 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
June 17, 2013
July 1, 2013