EPA finds competitive sourcing may compete with Lines of Business

The emerging Lines-of-Business initiatives across government will affect the amount of competitive sourcing that agencies conduct but the extent is uncertain, said Environmental Protection Agency CIO Kim Nelson. EPA is studying both Lines of Business and competitive sourcing for projects at the agency.

EPA will release a three-year plan soon on how it will expand competitive sourcing to more tasks that the agency previously categorized as inherently governmental. “We have made a firm commitment to look at job classifications again to identify ideas for competitive sourcing over the next couple of years,” Nelson said yesterday at an industry luncheon sponsored by the Industry Advisory Council.

One of the younger agencies, EPA has had a tradition of contracting out jobs. For example, IT contractors outnumber federal employees 10 to one, she said.

Still, EPA rates a yellow for competitive sourcing on the President’s Management Agenda scorecard. That may be in part due to EPA contracting out the Defense Finance and Accounting Services to provide the agency’s e-payroll services under the Line-of-Business initiative, Nelson said.

DFAS has accommodated EPA’s unique payroll needs that are driven by its Superfund program, which taxes chemical and oil industries to underwrite pollution clean-ups and the need for detailed cost accounting. EPA is also considering a federal Center of Excellence for its human resources needs instead of contracting out to industry.

Nelson expects the Office of Management and Budget to give credit for using a Center of Excellence. “As you migrate to the Line-of-Business provider, OMB has said it will count that toward competitive sourcing,” she said.

EPA must replace its antiquated financial management system despite attaining a green rating in financial management on the PMA scorecard, she said. EPA, which is determining requirements for such a system, will wait until OMB finalizes the financial management Line of Business before deciding on a contractor or Center of Excellence. “We don’t want to build a financial management system and then have to migrate it,” she said.

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