Ban insourcing until policy published, rep urges

Congressman wants rationale published for comment

A Republican congressman is calling on agencies to publish their rationale for insourcing contractor jobs and to give the public a chance to comment on it.

Rep. Mick Mulvaney (R-S.C.) also is uring the Obama administration to impose a moratorium on cost-based insourcing decision until the Office of Federal Procurement Policy issues its guide on insourcing federal work.

Mulvaney is the chairman of the Small Business Committee’s contracting and workforce subcommittee.

He said at a hearing June 23 that will be sending the written testimony and transcripts of the hearing to OFPP officials along with other suggestions for the insourcing policy.

Mulvaney’s hearing focused on the impact insourcing has on small businesses. He said he intends to both investigate instances where agencies’ decisions on insourcing hurt small businesses and find ways to get the Small Business Administration involved in the insourcing debate.

At the hearing, Jacque Simon, public policy director for the American Federation of Government Employees, defended insourcing. She said the government has seen the success of insourcing through saving taxpayer money and providing a more transparent approach to budgets and spending. She also said the federal employees have to be ready to take on new work or different work if the agency needs it. Their jobs entail “other duties assigned” beyond their basic job. Meanwhile, contractors force the government into negotiations whenever a contract needs a change or adjustment.

On the other hand, Bonnie Carroll, owner and president of Information International Associates from Oak Ridge, Tenn., said insourcing has decreased opportunities for small businesses and can take away their contracts, even for work that is not considered an inherently government function, or a job only a federal employee can do.

She and others who testified at the hearing said the government doesn’t give details on pricing comparisons or other factors on how insourcing the work is a benefit to the government.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

Reader Comments

Fri, Aug 12, 2011 Troubled Company Arlington, VA

Our company, thought not small, is not very large. We were up to $74M in revenues when the Gov't decided to not buy anymore hardware on our contract. And we dropped to $61M. Then they insourced about 40 of our people. We dropped to $55M. Then the lawyers got involved and said some of our customers could no longer use our contract which meant that we lost another 28 FTEs and we will be at about $40M for this year. By the way, the insourcing has not saved them any money. And now they may be looking at Reductions in Force (Lay Offs). Guess who gets RIFFED First - the people they took from us are still in their propationary year. Our contract is still available. Will we have to rehire to staff the same work? Do they even know the havoc they have wreaked upon our company? The Government doesn't seem to care about the damage to us. If we did that to them, they would never give us another contract. But we have to suck it up!

Mon, Jul 11, 2011 Fort Riley, KS

It doesn’t look like anything is going to happen soon enough to save my Small Disadvantaged Business 8(a). I just got notice (8-July-2011) the Army (IMCOM) will not exercise options. It will, however, offer GS positions to some of my employees. We spent significant amount of resources in the development of systems and process for non-inherently government requirements. Contract is running smooth and will be real easy to take over. The Subject Contract constitutes 97% of our gross revenue and was accepted in the U.S. SBA 8(A) Business Development Program.

Mon, Jun 27, 2011

Ban any changes, period- insourcing or outsourcing- until they do a clean-sheet-of-paper requirements verification, and rationalize the organizational structure. Way too many departments with overlapping and duplicated missions. Get rid of all that FIRST- that will really save some bucks.

Fri, Jun 24, 2011

The majority of the federal employees I've worked with are incompetent, lack any drive to accomplish goals, will not work more than 40 hours/week (regardless of the risk to a project), and look for every opportunity to take advantage of the taxpayer (frequent offsite meetings, trips to other cities that include golf-aka- team building events). In several modernization efforts, with new software, tools, etc. already purchased by the agency, my company has demonstrated how certain tasks, jobs could be automated. Federal workers tend to sabotage modernization efforts to ensure they do not lose the control or position that comes with meaningless roles in their Agency. Obama should mandate a 20% cut of all Federal Employees and allow agencies to hire back half of those cut with up and coming, highly motivated, college hires. Most contractors will be abhorred by my candid comments here as we all (even I) do our best to protect our clients and help them look good in front of their peers and OMB to ensure a solid relationship for future work. But as a taxpayer, the president needs to consider a major housecleaning before suggesting that insourcing federal work actually has any chance of success.

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