DATE: March 23, 2001

SUBJECT: General Accounting Office; Commercial Activities Panel

SOURCE: Federal Register, March 23, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 57, page 16245

AGENCIES: General Accounting Office (GAO)

ACTION: Notice and Request for Comments

SYNOPSIS: The GAO is convening a panel of experts to study the transfer of commercial activities currently performed by government employees to federal contractors, a procedure commonly known as "contracting out" or "outsourcing." GAO is seeking input on issues the panel should address, and references to or copies of written materials on topics related to outsourcing.

EDITOR'S NOTE: "Contracting out" or "outsourcing" is governed by Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular A-76, Performance of Commercial Activities. OMB Circular A-76, its Revised Supplemental Handbook, and currently applicable Transmittal Memoranda are available at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/circulars/index.html.

DATES: Submit comments and information no later than May 7, 2001.

ADDRESSES: Send comments, suggestions on the issues that should be addressed, and references to or copies of written materials by sending either an e-mail to A76panel@gao.gov or a hard copy to the General Accounting Office, Office of General Counsel, Room 7476, 441 G Street, NW, Washington, DC 20548, ATTN: William T. Woods.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: William T. Woods, Project Director, 202-512-8214; e-mail: woodsw@gao.gov.

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION: Section 832 of the Floyd D. Spence National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2001 (Public Law 106-398), requires the Comptroller General of the United States (the head of the GAO) to convene a panel of experts to study the policies and procedures governing the transfer of commercial activities for the federal government from government personnel to a federal contractor. The panel's study is to include a review of: (1) procedures for determining whether functions should continue to be performed by government personnel; (2) procedures for comparing the costs of performing functions by government personnel with the costs of performing those functions by federal contractors; (3) implementation by the Department of Defense (DOD) of the Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act of 1998 (Public Law 105-270); and (4) procedures of the DOD for public-private competitions under OMB Circular A-76. By May 1, 2002, the Comptroller General must submit to Congress a report of the panel on the results of the study, including recommended changes with regard to implementing policies and enactment of legislation.

Section 832 requires the Comptroller General or a designated GAO official to serve as the panel's chairman. The Comptroller General is required to appoint highly qualified and knowledgeable persons to the panel, and must make sure that the following entities are fairly represented on the panel: (1) DOD; (2) private industry; (3) federal labor organizations; and (4) OMB.

GAO is in the process of forming a panel to conduct the study. GAO issued a Federal Register notice on December 1, 2000, inviting the public to submit suggestions on who should serve on the panel, the specific agencies and organizations that should be represented, and the qualifications of panel members. GAO is reviewing these comments and nominations. Formation of the panel will be announced in the Federal Register.

In preparing for the panel's discussions, GAO is now asking for input from interested parties, including federal government agencies, federal employees or their representatives, industry groups, labor unions, and individuals. GAO is seeking comments identifying significant outsourcing issues, as well as references to or copies of written materials related to these issues, including: (1) determining which functions should be performed by the government and which functions are potential candidates for outsourcing; (2) options, mechanisms, and best practices for determining how commercial activities should be performed; and (3) issues involving OMB Circular A-76. GAO invites comments, articles, and publications on these issues or other key topics the panel should address.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Panoptic Enterprises at 703-451-5953 or by e-mail to Panoptic@FedGovContracts.com.

Copyright 2001 by Panoptic Enterprises. All Rights Reserved.

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