OMB seeking competitive option

Responding to concern from many areas of government, the Office of Management and Budget is examining a streamlined competition process that would replace direct conversions, said Angela Styles, OMB's administrator for the Office of Federal Procurement Policy.

Under direct conversions, small commercial-like functions can be shifted to the private sector without a full cost-comparison of whether the function can be performed more efficiently in-house.

Many of the comments that OMB received on its proposed revisions to Circular A-76 — the regulation outlining competition between the public and private sectors — cited worries over the possible excessive use of direction conversions, and OMB has had concerns of its own, Styles said.

She was testifying March 26 before the House Government Reform Committee's Government Efficiency and Financial Management Subcommittee.

In addition, Rep. Edolphus Towns (D-N.Y.), ranking member on the subcommittee, raised his own questions about the process at the hearing. Last week, members of the Senate Armed Services Committee also voiced their opinions.

Because of all such concern about direct conversion, OMB is "examining the viability and fairness of a process that would allow for a highly simplified and streamlined consideration of public- and private-sector sources," Styles testified.

The final revisions to A-76 should be released by this summer, she said.

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