OMB reports job competitions saved $1.4 billion last year

Agencies saved $1.4 billion in fiscal 2004 by holding job competitions between federal employees and the private sector, according to the Office of Management and Budget. That figure, up $300 million from 2003, represents the projected savings over the next three to five years.

The announcement was included in remarks by Clay Johnson, OMB's deputy director for management, about the latest President's Management Agenda score card. The agency will soon release a more detailed report about competitive sourcing, including a breakdown of competitions and the savings they have generated by agency.

OMB's numbers indicated that fewer positions were competed in fiscal 2004 than the year before, suggesting that more money was saved per position competed. Agencies reported competing 12,000 positions in 2004 compared to 17,000 positions in 2003.

The increase in savings can be attributed to the types of positions being competed, improved efficiency at holding competitions and possibly lower bids, said Geoffrey Segal, director of government reform for the Reason Foundation, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit organization. In fiscal 2003, savings per position averaged around 15 percent, while last year it was about 25 percent, he said, adding that both fell into the range of expected savings.

Agencies held more standard competitions that involved more than 65 employees in fiscal 2004, compared with the previous year when agencies relied more on smaller, "streamlined" competitions. Larger competitions give private bidders more flexibility and generate greater savings, said Segal.

Larger competitions also group more positions together, which saves administrative costs, but irks union representatives.

"We are obviously concerned that this needlessly haphazard and heavy-handed approach could prevent agencies from fairly considering the unique contributions made by all of the different employees," said John Threlkeld, legislative representative for the American Federation of Government Employees.

AFGE is also wary of the way OMB calculates savings from job competitions. In October, OMB directed agencies to exclude costs related to employee time spent on preparing for competitions during normal business hours.

The new numbers come shortly after the confirmation of the new chief of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, David Safavian, who has indicated he might change some job competition guidelines.

These latest numbers give him the momentum to pursue competitive sourcing more aggressively, said Segal. "Given the budget deficit, I think this new report will show that it's worth pursuing at a greater pace simply because of the savings that it has brought," he said.

In its score card, OMB downgraded its assessment of competitive sourcing at Defense, the department that has conducted the largest number of job competitions.

"It sends a signal to the government agencies, 'Look, if you put a goal out there and you didn't make it, we're calling you to task about it,' " said Richard Keevey, director of the Performance Consortium at the National Academy of Public Administration.

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:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.


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