Congressmen call for halt to competition for West Point jobs


Congress and the White House have declared their desire to see an end to public-private competitions for federal jobs through the omnibus bill and other proclamations. But that doesn’t mean the competitions have been stopped completely.

Approximately 570 public works and custodial employees at the U.S. Military Academy will learn the fate of their jobs next week when a two-year long public-private competition for their jobs is expected to conclude.

Two members of congress are urging the Defense Department to cancel the competition before a decision is announced. In a March 18 letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Reps. John Hall, D-N.Y., and Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., wrote:

The A-76 program was shut down by Congress in the omnibus appropriations act that the president signed into law earlier this month because of longstanding concerns. Two Government Accountability Office reports issued last year detail how poor guidance from the Office of Management and Budget had result in systematically overstated savings and understated costs.

In the letter, the congressmen write that the West Point competition is unlikely to save the government money because it has overrun its 30-month statutory time limit. The competition was formally announced in 2006, but has been in planning stages since 2002.

They also cited a 2008 appeal from West Point leaders to Army commanders to stop the competition because internal reengineering of the work would be “less disruptive” and yield greater savings than the prolonged competition with the private sector. That appeal was rejected.

Don Hale, the president of the local American Federation of Government Employees chapter representing the employees, said he hopes Congress can stop the competition and preserve federal jobs in the economically depressed region.

Employees are still willing to implement their proposal to make the academy run more efficiently, said Hale, who could lose his job if the federal employees do not win.


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