Revamped A-76 due before summer

A final version of a new Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76 will likely be published before summer, Angela Styles, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, said today.

In a hearing on President Bush's management agenda and budget, Styles told the House Subcommittee on Government Efficiency and Financial Management that her office will shortly complete a review of public comments on a draft version of the revamped circular, released last November.

The agency received more than 700 comments on the proposed revisions.

A-76 promulgates procedures for public-private competition for government work deemed commercial in nature. The circular is centerpiece of the administration's competitive sourcing initiative, one of the five major items on the management agenda.

Styles defended the adminstration's competitive sourcing policies in an exchange with Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), who charged that "one of the reasons for low morale [among federal workers] could well be the outsourcing initiatives that you are running out of OMB."

Towns cited as evidence of low morale a new Office of Personnel Management survey of federal employees that found that more than a third are considering leaving their organizations.

"I don't accept the proposition that competitive sourcing is demoralizing to our workforce," Styles said. "I've seen many good and some bad examples of competitive sourcing. When it's run right and when it's managed well, it infuses our workforce with pride. [Workers] become innovative, they become competitive, they become more efficient and they beat the private sector."

She added that the administration wants to make sure that federal workers have the training and resources to bid for government work in the A-76 process.

"In the end, we're all going to win if we can have a workforce that can compete and put together a bid that is on par with the private sector," she said.

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