Energy to study 420 IT positions in A-76 review

'It doesn't bother me that my job and my entire organization are being studied, because we are doing what is best for the department.'

'Karen Evans

(GCN Photo by Henrik G. DeGyor)

If Energy Department CIO Karen Evans does not run an efficient organization, she could find her job outsourced.

Evans' job is one of 420 IT positions that Energy recently began studying for possible inclusion in public-private competitions.

Along with the CIO position, every job in Evans' office will be studied as part of the administration's plan to open noninherently governmental agency jobs to competition from contractors under OMB Circular A-76.

'It doesn't bother me that my job and my entire organization are being studied, because we are doing what is best for the department,' Evans said. 'We are looking at this as an opportunity to strengthen our IT services and provide them more efficiently.'

Although the chances are slim that Energy's CIO, her deputies and many other managerial and policy positions will be contracted out, Evans said Energy will make an aggressive effort to open noninherently governmental jobs to competition.

Evans is one of eight team leaders conducting public-private competition studies at Energy. Besides IT, the agency is opening 190 logistics positions, 150 financial services jobs and 98 human resource positions to competition. Overall, the department plans to study about 1,000 jobs over the next three years.

Energy has roughly 15,000 civilian employees and more than 100,000 contractor staff members.

'We committed to 1,000 positions across the board,' said Dennis O'Brien, director of Energy's Competitive Sourcing/A-76 Office. 'The most senior people in the department are supporting this initiative.'

The Office of Management and Budget initially approved the 420 IT positions, and Evans said another 370 IT jobs likely will be studied.

Jobs nationwide studied

Energy, which performed a handful of A-76 studies in the early 1990s in the Power Marketing Administration, plans to study 224 IT positions at its headquarters. The department plans to look at another 196 jobs at field offices, including 70 at the Scientific and Technical Information Office in Oak Ridge, Tenn.

O'Brien said the Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act does not identify IT as a specific functional area, so the department had to 'cut and paste' to match IT positions, which include help desk and software development.

'We are basing the positions that the FAIR Act deemed noninherently governmental,' she said. 'We had to look at the functional areas in the FAIR Act and map over to what are considered IT positions.'

Communication is the key to making the process go smoothly, O'Brien said. He is planning town meetings across the country to explain what the department is doing and how it will affect employees. Energy has established a competitive sourcing Web site and telephone hotline to keep employees informed, he added.

Department officials also have met with employee unions to address their concerns.
'People are concerned for their jobs,' O'Brien said of the reaction to the public-private competition plans. 'We are going to do this above-board and keep everyone informed so they understand what is happening.'

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