ITAA challenges agencies on FAIR Act

OMB Circular A-76

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FAIR Act Summary

A major industry association representing 11,000 information technology developers and suppliers has accused a slew of agencies of failing to comply fully with a federal law that requires agencies to identify government jobs that could be contracted out to the private sector.

The Information Technology Association of America on Oct. 29 issued written challenges to 10 agencies, claiming that they did not disclose the full number of information technology-related jobs that could be handled by the private sector. Federal agencies are required to do so by the Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act of 1998. As many as 52 agencies on Oct. 1 released their annual inventories of jobs they determined are not inherently governmental.

ITAA challenged the inventories submitted by the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Housing and Urban Development, and Health and Human Services, the General Services Administration, the Environmental Protection Agency, NASA, the Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

According to ITAA challenge letters obtained by Federal Computer Week many of the 10 agencies failed to list automated data processing activities, data center operations, office equipment maintenance and repair, software services, and other telecommunications and ADP functions on their commercial inventories.

Although ITAA called upon most of the agencies to simply include certain job categories that were not included on their inventory lists, it also called upon HUD, Education, EPA, SSA and USAID to withdraw their inventories and resubmit them once they are completed.

Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.), chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, on Oct. 12 sent a letter to Jacob Lew, director of the Office of Management and Budget, challenging OMB's process of providing open access to agency inventories. "No central point of contact is provided; and as designated FAIR officers vary from agency to agency, potentially interested parties may lose valuable time seeking access to inventory materials while the 30-day clock advances for challenging the inclusion or exclusion of inventory activities," Thompson said in the letter. "Agencies should be required to post published inventories on the [World Wide] Web," he said.

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