Legislation adds new twist to competitive sourcing awards

Federal employees now can appeal competitive sourcing contract awards to the Government Accountability Office, but only if an agency tender official concurs. The agency tender official is a civil service employee who represents the agency during the source selection process.

This rule change governing the competitive sourcing of government jobs is embedded in the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal 2005, although it affects all agencies. The change has provoked praise and derision.

"It's a reasonable compromise," said Stan Soloway, president of the Professional Services Council, a group that represents professional and technical services companies.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) originally had proposed allowing federal employees to appeal directly to GAO, but her Defense Authorization bill amendment was modified during conference between House and Senate members.

Opponents of the rule change worried that GAO appeals would become a routine means of attacking competitive sourcing outcomes. Collins, however, said the final result is good for federal employees, adding that she "will monitor closely the effectiveness of this provision."

"We don't regard it as much of a compromise, and we don't regard it as much of change," said John Threlkeld, a Capitol Hill lobbyist for the American Federation of Government Employees.

About the Author

David Perera is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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