OFPP's Styles: Competition will improve agency management

OFPP's Styles: Competition will improve agency management

President Bush's commitment to the public-private competition of more than 425,000 federal jobs is part of an overall plan to improve management, an administration official said yesterday.

Angela Styles, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, said that the most important thing about competing these jobs is the competition itself, which will reduce costs and improve the quality and availability of services to citizens.

Styles was the keynote speaker at a conference in Washington on electronic procurement. She discussed topics that ranged from the Office of Management and Budget's Circular A-76 to Section 508 requirements to a governmentwide online procurement system.

'Many of our current initiatives are focusing on competition,' she said. 'Competition drives the economy and must drive agencies. It maintains the integrity of how the taxpayers' dollars are used.'

Styles said the process by which these jobs are competed'A-76'needs to be updated.

'A-76 was originally implemented for lower-end services and does not work very well for higher-end services,' she said. 'We are trying to come up with a process which is quicker and better.'

Styles is a member of the General Accounting Office's Commercial Activities Panel, which will issue a report May 1 on how the A-76 process can be improved.

'We have agreed on some principles, and we will know how the process will change in the near future,' she said.

Styles said one component of A-76 she hopes to change is the use of cost accounting principles in agency budgets. The 2003 budget, which will be released Monday, will for the first time reflect the real costs of employee retirement, benefits and health care to an agency, even though these costs are paid for through the Office of Personnel Management.

'This is the first step to hopefully getting rid of A-76 altogether,' she said. 'Getting rid of A-76 might be pretty far away, but knowing the costs of employees to agencies is a very important part of competing positions.'

But because A-76 is still being used, Styles said it is just as important for federal employees to have an opportunity to compete for jobs that already are contracted out.

'There are some agencies that may have sent too much work to contractors,' she said. 'They are not managing it very well, and it shows.'

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