Contracting Out of Laundry Services at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio

PSAD-80-17: Published: Dec 7, 1979. Publicly Released: Dec 12, 1979.

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Based on its cost comparison which showed that contracting out for laundry services would result in a 3-year cost savings of about $30,000, the Air Force awarded two contracts on August 10, 1979, to provide laundry services for the base medical center and other base activities at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio. An investigation was made of an allegation that the contracting out of these services might not be cost effective. In addition, an investigation of the use of handicapped and hard-to-employ personnel in the base laundry was made.

Using the same criteria as the Air Force, GAO agreed that contracting out for laundry services was less expensive than performing the service in-house. However, it was estimated that the 3-year savings would be about $387,000. The smaller Air Force figure resulted from an inaccurate estimate of the number and type of in-house employees required to produce quality laundry service and reliance on historical data rather than future estimates of the work required by the contracts. With regard to the 26 persons previously employed by the base laundry, GAO could identify 17 who fit into one of the three categories of handicapped and hard-to-employ veteran and student personnel. Two of these were handicapped students and clearly hard-to-employ; however, some question remained as to whether the rest should be considered hard-to-employ. Of the 17, 16 were offered, and 13 accepted, other positions on base. Of the 13, 3 permanent employees accepted other permanent positions, 8 temporary employees accepted other temporary positions at the same grade level, and two students accepted other part-time student aide positions. The person not offered other employment was hired after the contracts were awarded with the understanding that the position would expire when the laundry closed on October 19, 1979. Although the laundry employed only two students on September 21, 1979, it had employed a larger number in the past and would probably have employed a larger number of handicapped or unskilled student workers in the future.

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