Democrats say job competitions could hurt diversity at Park Service

A White House program to put federal jobs up for competition with private contractors could hurt workplace diversity at the National Park Service, a group of House Democrats said Friday.

The Democrats, led by Reps. Tom Udall, D-N.M., and Steny Hoyer, D-Md., will ask the Office of Management and Budget to review Park Service plans to comply with the president's competitive sourcing initiative, which aims to put 425,000 federal jobs up for public-private competition. They are rounding up signatories to a letter to Joshua Bolten, President Bush's nominee to be OMB director, asking for closer scrutiny of the agency's competitive sourcing plan.

The National Park Service plans to force 1,708 agency employees to face job competitions in fiscal 2004. Officials have raised concerns inside the agency that these competitions could disproportionately affect minority groups. In an April 4 internal memorandum to Interior officials, National Park Service Director Fran Mainella said job competitions in the Washington and San Francisco areas "may affect the diversity of our workforce."

This statement alarmed the Democrats. "The Mainella memorandum raises profound concerns that fulfillment of the privatization quota will threaten the hard-won diversity of the NPS workforce," wrote Udall and Hoyer in a draft version of their letter to Bolten. Democratic representatives Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Ciro Rodriguez, D-Texas, and Elijah Cummings, D-Md. have also signed the Bolten letter.

The Park Service has started work toward its goal of reviewing the 1,708 jobs for possible outsourcing, and some of its actions may not be reversible. For example, the agency already has finished direct conversions on 900 of these jobs, according to Donna Kalvels, the Park Service's competitive sourcing coordinator. Under direct conversions, which are banned under the new version of OMB Circular A-76, the rulebook for job competitions, civil servants cannot compete for their jobs before they are outsourced to private firms.

The Park Service finished its direct conversions before the new circular was released, said Kalvels. "The 900 that we were counting have already been done," she said Wednesday. The Park Service is still planning to hold job competitions on the remaining 808 jobs.

Udall and Hoyer plan to send their letter to OMB next week, according to Hoyer spokeswoman Katie Elbert. The Office of Management and Budget did not respond to requests for comment.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Going Agile:Revolutionizing Federal Digital Services Delivery

    Here’s one indication that times have changed: Harriet Tubman is going to be the next face of the twenty dollar bill. Another sign of change? The way in which the federal government arrived at that decision.

  • Cyber Risk Report: Cybercrime Trends from 2016

    In our first half 2016 cyber trends report, SurfWatch Labs threat intelligence analysts noted one key theme – the interconnected nature of cybercrime – and the second half of the year saw organizations continuing to struggle with that reality. The number of potential cyber threats, the pool of already compromised information, and the ease of finding increasingly sophisticated cybercriminal tools continued to snowball throughout the year.

  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

  • GBC Issue Brief: The Future of 9-1-1

    A Look Into the Next Generation of Emergency Services

  • GBC Survey Report: Securing the Perimeters

    A candid survey on cybersecurity in state and local governments

  • The New IP: Moving Government Agencies Toward the Network of The Future

    Federal IT managers are looking to modernize legacy network infrastructures that are taxed by growing demands from mobile devices, video, vast amounts of data, and more. This issue brief discusses the federal government network landscape, as well as market, financial force drivers for network modernization.

  • eBook: State & Local Cybersecurity

    CenturyLink is committed to helping state and local governments meet their cybersecurity challenges. Towards that end, CenturyLink commissioned a study from the Government Business Council that looked at the perceptions, attitudes and experiences of state and local leaders around the cybersecurity issue. The results were surprising in a number of ways. Learn more about their findings and the ways in which state and local governments can combat cybersecurity threats with this eBook.


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.