GAO calls for Air Force to reverse A-76 decision

GAO calls for Air Force to reverse A-76 decision

The General Accounting Office has recommended that the Air Force reverse its earlier decision and award an OMB Circular A-76 competition decision to DynCorp of Reston, Va., to handle operating support functions at Maxwell Air Force Base and Gunter Annex, Ala.

Under the five-year, $200 million contract, which GAO has recommended the Air Force award to DynCorp Technical Services LLC, the company would provide operating support for information technology, energy and emergency management, site maintenance, human resources, airfield support, transportation and housing.

The outsourcing could affect the jobs of 814 Air Force workers.

The Air Force had awarded the contract to an in-house work force. DynCorp appealed the decision, but the Air Force upheld its ruling that the in-house work force was the more cost-effective service provider.

DynCorp appealed again, this time to GAO, which last month ruled in favor of the company. GAO found that the Air Force failed to properly compare DynCorp's and the government workers' proposals.

'DynCorp proposed to do more work than the in-house people,' said Dan Gordon of GAO's Office of the General Counsel. 'The Air Force didn't compare apples to apples.'

The Air Force declined any comment on the decision pending the public release of GAO's report, which is expected soon. Until then, both sides are reviewing the recommendations, Gordon said.

DynCorp officials failed to return a phone call seeking comment.

About '99 percent of the time' federal agencies follow GAO's recommendations in the bidding process, Gordon said. But, because GAO is the investigative arm of Congress and the Defense Department reports to the executive branch, the Air Force is not required to abide by the GAO's recommendations.

Under the contract, DynCorp would manage the communications squadron, which is the technology hub of the base. The company would provide telephone maintenance, network management and information assurance. DynCorp also would manage the Base Network Control and Telecommunications centers, and maintain the land mobile radio, the Air Force said.

The base's workers are fearful for their jobs, said Wiley Pearson, a Defense policy analyst with the American Federation of Government Employees, the Washington union representing them.

'We don't have the right to go to court. We don't have the right to go to GAO,' he said. 'Where does that leave us? They are all worried.'

The only recourse for the union is to lobby legislators to have the decision reversed, Pearson said'a prospect he considers likely.

Place your bid

In A-76 competitions, government workers and private companies bid for jobs. If government workers lose the bid, they face layoffs unless hired by the winning contractor.

To win, the company's bid has to be 10 percent lower than the workers' bid.

Pearson said the A-76 process is slanted to benefit industry.

But the Air Force said every time it conducts a competition, the service saves money.

'Whether the government or commercial sector is chosen to provide the service, normally a reduction in cost averaging between 30 percent to 40 percent is achieved,' the service said in a press release.

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