Protest puts off IRS competitive sourcing deal

Union officials say the contract was for supporting mainframe operations at 10 campuses where the IRS has large data centers.

An IRS information technology services contract based on competitive sourcing should have been announced this week but has been canceled because of a vendor's protest.

National Treasury Employees Union officials, who oppose competitive sourcing contracts such as the one under protest, said the contract was for jobs supporting mainframe operations at 10 campuses where the IRS has large data centers.

Colleen Kelley, NTEU's president, said the protested IT contract represents the first such award that IRS officials have made in complying with the Bush administration's competitive sourcing agenda. Competitive sourcing requires federal agencies to invite the private sector to compete for federal jobs that are not inherently governmental.

In past public statements, Kelley has referred to the Bush administration's publicized savings from competitive sourcing as fiction.

Bush administration officials have identified 850,000 federals jobs for which they would like the private sector to compete, but progress on competing for those jobs been slow, Kelley said.

One reason is that federal employees in many offices have little experience with competitive bidding. Another is that federal unions are opposed to competitive sourcing, Kelley said, adding that "we've done everything we can to slow it down, I'm very proud to say."

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