Platts asks how OMB will align A-76 with LOB initiative

Rep. Todd Platts (R-Pa.) is questioning whether the Office of Management and Budget needs to amend rules for determining if inherently commercial functions performed by government employees should be outsourced under the administration's Lines of Business Consolidation Initiative.

Platts, chairman of the Government Reform subcommittee on Government Management, Finance and Accountability, in a letter today to OMB controller Linda Combs asked if the administration was considering changing Circular A-76'which details how agencies should compete commercial tasks against the private sector'if agencies outsource their financial management services to a private company.

'If OMB Circular A-76 is to be discarded or changed for purposes of this initiative, will the alternative process or the changed A-76 circular be consistent with the laws established to require public-private competition before conversion to contractor performance?' Platts asked.

Platts sent the letter after holding a hearing on OMB's initiative to encourage agencies to consider turning over their financial management services to both public and private centers of excellence (COEs). At the hearing, Platts raised concerns over how publicly funded COEs could compete against the private sector because of inequities built into the law that may hamper an agency COE from investing in capital improvements, including technology refresh.

In his letter, Platts continued his questioning of how the public and private sectors would compete against each other under the LOB concept, although this time he targeted A-76 because he only briefly touched on it during the hearing, he said.

"The FMLOB [Financial Management Line of Business] initiative is a broad undertaking that will have implications for many aspects of federal agency management,' Platts said in a statement to GCN. 'We briefly touched on the A-76 issue at the hearing, but we weren't able to delve into the issue as completely as I would have liked. These written questions serve as a follow-up to those asked at the hearing."

For example, Platts asked OMB to detail any potential changes to A-76 that may be made in order to support the LOB initiative and if the administration would even require agencies to use A-76 at all.

'Please indicate whether OMB intends to require the use of the OMB Circular A-76 before non-inherently governmental work that is performed by any number of federal employees, including 10 or fewer, is converted to private-sector performance, pursuant to this initiative,' Platts wrote.

Platts asked Combs to respond by April 21.


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