Goddard Space Flight Center:

Decision to Contract for Plant Operations and Maintenance

NSIAD-93-92: Published: Jan 12, 1993. Publicly Released: Feb 4, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Goddard Space Flight Center's decision to contract out the operations and maintenance of its plant facilities.

GAO found that: (1) converting all positions to contract would be less costly than reverting to all civil service staffing or continuing the current mixed civil service and contractor staffing; (2) Goddard officials expect the costs of an all contractor work force to be further reduced when the contract is opened to competition in 1994; (3) Goddard officials acknowledged that the current mixed work force is disruptive and has resulted in an inefficient distribution of job skills within the total work force; (4) contracting out provided such advantages as making personnel billets available that could be used to hire scientists and engineers, allowing Goddard to support the small disadvantaged business 8(a) program, and providing added flexibility to respond to future work load fluctuations; (5) Goddard stated that the quality of work had not deteriorated since contracting out maintenance services; (6) problems during the transition included lowered employee morale, loss of productivity, poor attendance, leave abuse, insubordination, and employee conflicts; and (7) the current mixed staffing has resulted in ineffective distribution of job skills within the civil service work force and continuing problems associated with the interface of civil service employees and contractor employees doing similar work.

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