Editorial: A-76 ? a textbook case

For most of the past four years, Bush administration officials have preached the gospel of competition.

"The administration is committed to creating a market-based government that embraces the benefits generated by competition, innovation and choice," said Angela Styles, former administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, in testimony before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee last year.

"While there is a certain comfort level in maintaining the status quo, our taxpayers simply cannot afford — nor should they be asked to support — a system that operates at an unnecessarily high cost because many of its commercial activities are performed by agencies without the benefit of competition," she said during a House hearing.

The Bush administration's controversial competitive sourcing initiative seems to have found its realization at the Internal Revenue Service, where competition has resulted in greater efficiencies. In this particular case, IRS employees won a public/private competition for tax-processing work. As part of that process, the IRS team determined that efficiencies gained through technology would enable them to eliminate 218 jobs — in effect, making the agency more competitive.

To the administration's credit, the IRS example may illustrate that the battle over competitive sourcing is not quixotic. We certainly hope that IRS officials can prove how federal employees can be as efficient and effective as private-sector workers if they are given the opportunity.

We agree with union officials, however, that more should be done for potentially displaced workers. We have reported that agencies are facing a looming employee crisis as feds enter retirement age. Therefore, it does not make sense to just eliminate employees.

Four years ago, then-presidential nominee George Bush called for compassionate conservatism. In this case, feds need compassionate competition. These competitions are important to ensuring organizational efficiencies. But the public sector is different from the private sector. Therefore, employees deserve an opportunity to get trained in a different part of the business.

The Fed 100

Read the profiles of all this year's winners.

Featured

  • Shutterstock image (by wk1003mike): cloud system fracture.

    Does the IRS have a cloud strategy?

    Congress and watchdog agencies have dinged the IRS for lacking an enterprise cloud strategy seven years after it became the official policy of the U.S. government.

  • Shutterstock image: illuminated connections between devices.

    Who won what in EIS

    The General Services Administration posted detailed data on how the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract might be divvied up.

  • Wikimedia Image: U.S. Cyber Command logo.

    Trump elevates CyberCom to combatant command status

    The White House announced a long-planned move to elevate Cyber Command to the status of a full combatant command.

  • Photo credit: John Roman Images / Shutterstock.com

    Verizon plans FirstNet rival

    Verizon says it will carve a dedicated network out of its extensive national 4G LTE network for first responders, in competition with FirstNet.

  • AI concept art

    Can AI tools replace feds?

    The Heritage Foundation is recommending that hundreds of thousands of federal jobs be replaced by automation as part of a larger government reorganization strategy.

  • DOD Common Access Cards

    DOD pushes toward CAC replacement

    Defense officials hope the Common Access Card's days are numbered as they continue to test new identity management solutions.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group