SCHUMER, GILLIBRAND: DEEPLY FLAWED GOVERNMENT STUDIES JEOPARDIZE JOBS, THROW LIVES INTO TURMOIL AND PRODUCE NO BENEFIT TO TAXPAYERS
Schumer And Gillibrand Introduce Legislation With Senate Colleagues To End So-Called "Efficiency" Studies That Have Been So Inaccurate They Were Ordered Halted By President
West Point Study Is Prime Example Of Flawed Study; Army Changed The Requirements For Current Workers Halfway Through
Schumer, Gillibrand: Legislation Will Put Final Nail In The Coffin Of Ineffective And Counterproductive A-76 Studies
The legislation comes on the heels of an A76 study that, if unchecked, will privatize hundreds of operations and maintenance jobs at West Point Military Academy and leave over a hundred more custodial positions in jeopardy. The decision, announced by the Department of Defense earlier this month, will transfer operational control of almost 400 operations and maintenance jobs to The Ginn Group, headquartered in Peachtree, GA if left unchecked. Unfortunately, A76 studies that were currently underway were not affected by congressional action. Schumer and Gillibrand will be introducing an amendment to the upcoming Defense appropriations bill to prevent the implementation of this study. They are introducing "The Clean Up Act" to prevent any future study from endangering the jobs of hard working federal employees while providing no benefits to the tax payers.
The A76 study just completed at West Point is a prime example of what is wrong with the A76 process. For one, it measured two employment structures that cannot be accurately compared. The study estimates the total cost to the Army of continuing to use federal employees. However, when soliciting bids from private contractors, the Army is asking for a "cost plus firm fixed fee" contract. These contracts do not require the contractors to estimate their costs, and mean that the Army will have to pay whatever the contractor bills. If this contract is privatized, it could easily cost the Army more money than using the current unionized workforce. That risk alone is sufficient proof that the study is flawed.
The senators also noted that the study was flawed because the Army changed the requirements for the union halfway through. Originally, the Army allowed the union to combine the operations/maintenance and custodial responsibilities into a single bid, which allowed them to achieve economies of scale. Halfway through the process the Army required the union to separate these two contracts, but did not allow them to begin the process over.
Schumer and Gillibrand noted that with such an inherently flawed process, the costs at West Point could indeed increase, leaving the Army and the taxpayer on the hook.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) established the A76 study to ensure that the government does not waste taxpayers' money by paying government employees to perform tasks which could be completed at a lower cost by private contractors. However after studies by the Government Accountability Office caused great concern about the accuracy of such studies, Congress acted in the Fiscal Year 2009 Omnibus Appropriations bill to curtail the A76 process.
- Ensuring that work that should be performed by federal employees-whether it is inherently governmental, closely related to inherently governmental, or mission essential-is incrementally brought back inhouse so that it can be performed by reliable and experienced federal employees who put the public interest first;
- Encouraging agencies to assign new work to federal employees, especially when insourcing would be better than yet another 20 solesource or limited competition contract, and identify obstacles to insourcing more new work;
- Establishing agency inventories of service contracts so that managers know what contractors are doing, how much they cost, whether the work involved should be performed by federal employees, and when work is not being performed effectively and efficiently;
- Requiring agencies to determine where there are or will be shortages of federal employees and develop plans to address these shortages;
- Directing the Obama Administration to make drastic, longoverdue reforms to the OMB Circular A76 process; and
- Suspending the use of that process until all of the reforms discussed above have been substantially implemented across the federal government.