EPA plans more competitive sourcing

A broad swath of federal jobs at the Environmental Protection Agency previously considered unaffected by competitive sourcing efforts will be reclassified as not inherently governmental, said Kim Nelson, EPA chief information officer.

"You will see very broad spectrum of positions there," Nelson said today, speaking of the agency’s recategorization effort during an Industry Advisory Council lunch in Washington, D.C. A three-year plan for converting more jobs to competitive sourcing eligibility will be released soon, she added.

Competitive sourcing, a controversial part of the President's Management Agenda, encourages agencies to cut costs by opening to competition some job functions performed by the government. Office of Management and Budget officials project that a quarter of jobs now done by civil servants are not inherently governmental and so could be done by contractors.

Data analysis for example, is not inherently governmental, Nelson said. Only the policy decisions made as a result of that analysis need to be handled by civil servants, she added.

The EPA has a yellow score in the competitive sourcing column of the most recent quarterly PMA scorecard. That's partially because the agency pulled back from competitively sourcing its human resources function following announcement of the HR line of business, Nelson said.

As agencies begin to move their back office functions to planned cross-agency service centers they will need to make sure bridges exist between the different lines of business solutions, Nelson said.

"I would love to see a situation where one organization out there was actually doing payroll and financial management and HR and grants, a completely integrated back office function," she said. In the meantime, "the challenge we're going to have as we move forward with these lines of business is how well we bridge the similarities" between the service centers, she added.

The EPA will be among the agencies to shear itself of an in-house financial management system. "We're trying to get some certainty to where the financial line of business goes, but we will have a major financial management effort in the next year," she said.

About the Author

David Perera is a special contributor to Defense Systems.

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