GAO: Workers have no role in A-76 protests

Sen. Susan Collins

Olivier Douliery

The General Accounting Office has ruled that federal employees do not have the right to file protests to GAO over public-private competitions under revised OMB Circular A-76.

GAO concluded that Agriculture Department employees who tried to protest an A-76 decision had no statutory basis to contest USDA's choice of a vendor's bid over their bid.

The audit agency issued the ruling earlier this month based on an attempt by USDA employees to protest the selection of Serco Management Services Inc. of Gibbsboro, N.J., for fleet maintenance services for Forest Service locations in California, Hawaii and Guam.

In its ruling, GAO said neither federal employees nor their unions qualify as interested parties.

GAO comptroller general David Walker sent a letter to Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), chairwoman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, suggesting Congress amend the Competition in Contracting Act of 1984 CICA to give federal employees standing in such protests.

'The law requires us to find that, even under the revised circular, the [federal employees submitting the bid are] not an actual or prospective offerer, and we, therefore, do not have legal authority to hear protests filed on [their] behalf,' Walker said.

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