Agencies: A-76 changes minimal

New job-competition language in the Transportation-Treasury Appropriations bill will have little impact on A-76 competitions, agency officials said.

Senate and House conference committee members passed the appropriations bill with language changing the revised Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76. The change is that in all public- and private-sector competitions for more than 10 positions, a private-sector offer would have to be 10 percent or $10 million less than the government's offer. OMB had revised the circular to delete the cost differential for competitions of fewer than 65 positions.

The appropriations bill also requires agencies to report to Congress annually on the competitions, costs and decisions. The agency or an individual appointed by the employees also can appeal an A-76 award to the General Accounting Office.

"Most of this is right out of the new circular," said an agency official who requested anonymity. "We will do what Congress tells us to, but it will not have a major impact on what we are doing now."

The official added that his agency is already doing or is considering much of what the new provisions require. He said the 10 percent price preference for government employees has little overall effect on A-76 competitions.

Employee unions, however, see this as a victory. John Gage, national president of the American Federation of Government Employees, said that the provisions are more equitable to federal workers.

But Cathy Garman, vice president of public policy for the Contract Services Association of America of Arlington, Va., said the changes could shut down the A-76 process by causing a backlog of stalled competitions and legal challenges.


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