Employees Win Three-Fourths of A-76 Studies

The in-house side won 73 percent of A-76 studies in fiscal 2007, according to an OMB report, continuing a pattern of winning the large majority of cost competitions with private sector bidders. However, a win by the in-house side often comes at the cost of a reorganization that pares down the workforce. The report said that 15 agencies completed 132 competitions involving about 4,200 positions last fiscal year, about 1.5 percent of positions identified as suitable for competition. The number of positions studied was down by about a third, OMB said, largely due to restrictions placed on the program by Congress which the Bush administration has repeatedly opposed but never vetoed. OMB estimated the net savings of the Circular A-76 program at $7 billion over the last five years. Employee unions challenge those estimates as failing to take into account all the in-house costs associated with contracting studies; they also say agencies fail to document projected savings or account for declines in the quality of work. Over the five years, OMB said, agencies have conducted 1,375 competitions involving nearly 51,000 jobs, nearly 40,000 of them studied under standard competition rules and the rest under truncated rules.