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Copy Shop Scores With Print Jobs

Thursday, January 12, 2006

The guy holding up the line at your neighborhood FedEx Kinko's copy shop may be putting your tax dollars to work.

The Government Printing Office, which already contracts out the bulk of the government's printing to the private sector, is taking things a step further by hiring Kinko's to handle small printing jobs for federal agencies.

The contract, worth about $100 million annually and renewable for up to four years, will allow federal employees to get discounted copying, binding and printing services (including posters, signs, business cards and brochures) at 1,300 locations across the country. The GPO will pick up the tab through a new GPOExpress Card that federal employees will use.

"We pay for it," said Bruce R. James, who holds the title of public printer of the United States. "One of the real tricks here was trying to figure out a way to allow government agencies to more efficiently buy their printing and still comply with the law. The law says that all government printing has to come through GPO; it doesn't necessarily say we have to handle every single job."

The arrangement will enable an agency manager here, for instance, to send handouts electronically to a copy shop in Sacramento, where an official can pick them up before a meeting in the agency's regional office. Kinko's also will provide electronic copies of documents for possible inclusion in libraries that archive federal government documents.

Most of the printing going to the company had been done by other GPO contractors or by agency print shops, James said. And, yes, an undetermined number of federal jobs will be lost, but he said the losses will be through attrition.

The effort began in December as a pilot program involving five agencies and will expand government-wide in February.

-- Christopher Lee

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