Link: GAO Opinion
Agency: Department of Justice
Disposition: Protest denied.
Protest challenging the decision of the Federal Bureau of Prisons to terminate the agency’s inmate vocational dental laboratory training program and obtain the dental laboratory services (being performed by inmates) from private sources is denied where positions of federal employees are not being converted to contractor performance.
General Counsel P.C. Highlight:
Mr. Gose argues that the agency’s actions constitute a direct conversion of his and the other vocational dental laboratory trainers’ positions to private performance in violation of law. Specifically, Mr. Gose contends that Division D of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2008, P.L. No. 110-161, sect. 739(a), 121 Stat. 1844, 2029-31 (2008), prohibits the direct conversion of an activity or function performed by the vocational technical instructors here. Mr. Gose states that the vocational trainers perform numerous activities that will be performed by a contractor. As a result of a study, BOP determined in 2008 that the vocational training dental laboratory program was not efficient or cost effective and decided to terminate the program, close the regional laboratories, and obtain the dental laboratory services from private sources. BOP informed Mr. Gose and other vocational dental laboratory trainers that the regional dental laboratories would be closed and that the dental laboratory trainers would be transferred to other vocational training positions within the agency.
GAO agrees with BOP that the function or activity that would be converted to contractor performance is that performed by the BOP inmates and not that performed by Mr. Gose and the other vocational training instructors. Fundamentally, the RFQ seeks a vendor that would provide the services performed by the inmates, whereas the vocational training instructors are intended to support the inmates’ performance of these services. Even if a public-private competition were required for the dental laboratory services, the vocational training instructors would (if they competed) not be proposing to do their current jobs, but rather to take over the tasks now performed by BOP’s inmates. Therefore, GAO concludes that, although the agency’s decision to discontinue the dental laboratory program indirectly affects the vocational training instructors’ positions, this does not establish that the agency’s actions constitute a conversion of these positions within the meaning of sect. 739(a) of the Consolidated Appropriations Act. Accordingly, the function or activity being converted to contractor performance is not that performed by the vocational training instructors. The protest is denied.