January 28, 2003
U.S. Department of Housing
and Urban Development
Office of the Chief Financial Officer
451 Seventh Street SW, Room 2214
Washington, DC 20410
Subject: Appeal of Adverse Decisions to FAIR Act Challenge
Dear Ms. Blake-Green:
This letter serves as an appeal by AFGE Council 222 of several adverse decisions received in connection with our FAIR Act challenge dated November 27, 2002. Our challenge asked for a review of several positions. We have received adverse decisions from: the Offices of the Assistant Secretaries for Public and Indian Housing, Community Planning and Development, and Administration; the Office of the Assistant Deputy Secretary for Field Policy and Management; and the Office of the Chief Financial Officer. We have yet to receive decisions from: the Office of the General Counsel and the Office of Housing-Federal Housing Commissioner.
Although our challenges were detailed, the adverse decisions we received are brief to the point of being pro forma. Our challenges set forth the standard for inherently governmental, detailed employee responsibilities, and then compared the responsibilities to the standard. Management’s adverse decisions merely set forth the standard and conclusion. The fat middle—the part that demands a comparison of employee responsibilities to the standard, the part that would require Management to tease out the inherently governmental from the commercial—is missing. Why am I not surprised that the part that requires Management to think critically is missing?
Part of our challenge is a demonstration of just how much work it would take for Management to write a Statement of Work that would clearly separate the inherently governmental work from the commercial work. All these employees do some commercial work. But the inherently governmental and the commercial work is so closely bound together, separating them could be difficult, could result in increased cost, and/or could negatively affect the quality of work.
Writing Statements of Work is hard for any agency, and HUD has a miserable track record. The fact that these Assistant Secretaries, the Assistant Deputy Secretary and the Chief Financial Officer are unwilling to do this sort of critical thinking as part of a FAIR Act challenge should raise a red flag. If, in response to an OMB mandated quota, HUD were to rush to put a percentage of the supposed commercial activity out for competition, would HUD have what it takes to write a clear Statement of Work? Or would we rush to market with half-baked proposals and inferior goods, giving commercial vendors—whose highest priority is returning maximum profit for their stockholders—undue advantage?
Because the adverse decisions provide little or no critical assessment, we have no choice but to resubmit our challenge as our appeal.
Should you have questions, please feel free to call me at 617/994-8264. Please send a copy of your decision to me via facsimile at 617/565-7337, and send a hard copy to: P.O. Box 5961, Boston, MA 02114.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
Carolyn Federoff, President
AFGE Council 222
cc: Council 222 Executive Board
and Local Presidents
AFGE National Office