The Circuit

A-76 in the Gates

The long wait for the revised Circular A-76 is drawing to an end. Mitchell Daniels Jr., director of the Office of Management and Budget, plans to release the A-76 rewrite before he leaves his post early next month, according to an OMB official.

A-76 outlines how the public and private sectors should compete to perform commercial functions for government.

In November 2002, OMB asked for public comment on proposed revisions to A-76, many of which have been incorporated into the revised version, said Jack Kalavritinos, associate administrator for competitive sourcing at OMB's Office of Federal Procurement Policy.

"You'll see that we listened" to the feedback, Kalavritinos said, speaking May 20 at the National Academy of Public Administration's (NAPA) Performance Conference in Washington, D.C.

The final rule will set specific time frames so that competitions will not take three or four years to complete, he said. It also will address conflict-of-interest issues and integrate the Federal Acquisition Regulation.

Project Management Guidance Due

The Office of Personnel Management is expected to issue its guidance for project managers next month.

In October 2002, OPM issued a draft of the guidance designed to help agencies identify project manager positions, clarify project manager duties, recruit and develop project managers, and implement training programs. It also addressed information technology projects specifically.

The guidelines will come at an opportune time. OMB has put agencies on notice: Fiscal 2004 funding for hundreds of IT projects could be delayed if agencies do not shore up their management plans.

CSC's Pat Ways to Retire

Pat Ways, president of business development for Computer Sciences Corp.'s federal sector unit, is retiring next month.

Ways, an 11-year veteran of the firm, took his current position last summer and has worked in IT for about 40 years. The company has not formally announced Ways' decision.

He will leave by mid-June and will be replaced by Austin Yerks, senior vice president of CSC's federal sector.

A Question of Trust

Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), who is continuing to shepherd bills through the House to reform services acquisition and the pay structure for the Defense Department's civilian employees, had a few words to say last week about government oversight.

Speaking at the NAPA conference, Davis said the best oversight comes when different political parties control the White House and at least one house of Congress.

The power shifting is a sign that voters don't trust either party, Davis said. "They elected Republicans [to Congress] in 1994 to protect them from President Clinton," he said. "Then they elected President Clinton in 1996 to protect them from the Republican Congress."

Interior Still Struggling

The Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs should focus less on reorganizing and more on the real problem: the division of land interests into tiny factions, which is overloading the computer systems and wasting funds and energy, said Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), a member of the Indian Affairs Committee.

"If we don't have a plan to deal with that, I don't think we'll ever catch up with this problem" of the agency's failed financial management and trust asset accountability, he said last week.

The division of land interests among heirs, known as fractionation, expands exponentially with each generation, forcing the system to deal with lengthy decimals. Any system that is devised becomes swamped, leading to ineffective technology and mismanagement, Conrad said.

"We've got a dynamic occurring here where the interest gets fractionalized and the result is a nightmare for anybody to manage," he said.

Bureau officials testifying before the committee recognized that fractionation is a problem plaguing the reorganization and said that because all the bureau's systems are linked, it affects all areas of the bureau. "If it weren't for the limited bit of computers we have today, we would have more of a disaster than we have now," said Ross Swimmer, Interior's special trustee for American Indians.

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