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Civilian contractors, on-base employees to compete for projects;

By Sgt. Todd Greenwood | | December 8, 2000

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The Air Station recently held all-hands meetings for civilian employees on the A-76 competitive sourcing initiative to inform them of ongoing changes that may affect their employment status. 

The meetings are designed to keep civilian employees abreast of the status of the ongoing competitive sourcing study and ensure all employees are prepared for career transition, should positions be affected by the outcome of the study.

Every year the federal Office of Management and Budget Circular A-76 conducts cost comparison studies of work performed by civilian and government personnel to determine if it is more cost efficient to maintain in-house work projects or contract them to the private sector.

Whichever program is implemented, the government saves money with A-76.  Under the provisions of the study, the Air Station must meet efficiency goals of more than $2 million of sustained savings by FY2004.

?Under the A-76 process, the in-house workforce will be organized into its Most Efficient Organization (MEO) before competing against a ?best value? private sector contractor,?  said William Hall, deputy business reform initiatives director. 

Assisting the Public Works team in development of the contract and management study are functional experts from Southern Division Engineering Command in Charleston, South Carolina and Battelle, an independent consulting firm with a proven A-76 track record.

?The All Hands meeting is an excellent way of  ensuring  the lines of communication remain open since those in attendance include both the commanding officer and his senior staff  plus the majority of civilian employees most affected by  the impact of business reform initiatives,? said Hall.   ?The approach is simply to share information, speak with one voice, and ensure all employees are routinely informed of where we are in regard to the established milestones.?

Hall further emphasized that since the command?s functional experts are in attendance, employees have the opportunity to ask questions and offer suggestions on ways to improve work processes and manage resources more efficiently.  

Any on base activity meeting the criteria of a commercial activity is potentially open to competitive sourcing, according to Hall. 

?Because competitive sourcing primarily affects the civilian work force, a major part of the meetings is used to publicize the potential impact each initiative might have on civilian personnel and discuss how programs such as those offered at the Transition Assistance Office will be available to assist employees in taking advantage of opportunities,? said Hall. ?These opportunities may include transitioning to other federal positions, resume writing and interviewing skills training.?

Hall further explained that even though Public Works Office is the only business unit currently undergoing A-76  study, all employees should  be aware that whether Public Works is the successful bidder and implements the MEO or is unsuccessful and converts to a contract operation,  the potential exists for a base-wide Reduction in Force (RIF).  

?Obviously, if a base-wide RIF becomes necessary, not only Public Works  personnel, but all civilian employees aboard the Air Station may be affected,? he said. ?Regardless of the outcome, it is likely that a RIF will have to be conducted, although the RIF impact will logically be much greater if a contractor wins.?
The Transition Assistance Program will play a major role in helping civilian employees prepare for the federal positions application process.

?We are letting them know we?re available and making this a central focus of our efforts,? said Caroyl Berry, Transition Assistance Program Career Consultant.  ?I work with the employees on a case by case basis. They come into the Transition Assitance Program Office in Building 807 (Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron), room 3 and we?re going to be doing a lot of the same things we do with military transitioning, with an emphasis on preparing for the federal positions application process.  Our role is to assist anyone whose position is no longer needed and to make the most of their skills in seeking an alternate position in the federal government.?

For more information on the ongoing Air Station A-76 study, phone Vera Grainger at 228-7080.  For more information on civilian personnel issues, contact Myrna Stuart at 228-7272.

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