OPM workers win another A-76 bid

In competitions for IT jobs, employees have won by wide margins, Office of Personnel Management officials said.

Office of Personnel Management employees have won another Circular A-76 streamlined job competition. They have won 14 of 16 competitions since fiscal 2003, OPM officials said.

The agency’s record on streamlining operations under the government’s A-76 rules for competitive sourcing has earned OPM high marks on the President’s Management Agenda score card. But agency officials also consider it a reasonable approach to managing personnel costs, said Ronald Flom, OPM’s associate director for management services.

“Competitive sourcing is something the agency thought was a smart thing to do,” he said.

In the competition that OPM announced Feb. 7, a group of 15 full-time OPM program managers, human resources specialists and training specialists bid their services against similar services that the agency could buy from existing government contracts. The group’s bid was more than $1 million less that the prices quoted on contracts, Flom said.

By restructuring their group and downgrading -- but not eliminating positions -- the employees will save the government $700,000 in the next five years, he said. OPM spent about $37,000 to conduct the competition, Flom added. That amount is based on a formula of $2,500 per full-time equivalent employee.

“These employees were determined to be able to perform their work more efficiently than the private sector and as a result, were selected to continue to perform these functions,” said OPM Director Linda Springer in a Feb. 7 statement. “This competition lets the world know how good OPM employees are.”

OPM is a small agency of about 4,700 employees. “Our whole strategy in starting the [President’s Management Agenda] score card program was to get out in front,” Flom said. To be one of the first agencies to have a green score, OPM had to run 10 competitions.

About 35 percent of OPM’s A-76 competitions involved information technology employees. “In all the IT competitions that we’ve run, the employees have won by fairly significant margins,” Flom said

Only two of the 16 competitions were standard head-to-head contests in which contractors bid on the jobs. In one case, the contractor submitted the winning bid. In the other, OPM employees won.

The one standard competition that was announced about a year ago involved 163 clerical, technical support and administrative positions, Flom said.

“Now all those employees have either been placed in other jobs, retired, taken buyouts and those jobs are now being performed by a contractor — and they’re doing a good job, by the way,” he said.

Flom said OPM has already obligated funds to conduct two more A-76 job competitions in fiscal 2007.