The General Services Administration has decided to move ahead with a plan to contract out work covered by 150 federal jobs at its Franconia Stores Depot.
The move at the facility, which serves as the federal government's regional storage center for furniture and general office supplies, means that many of the 130 federal employes affected could be fired. Some, however, will be offered work elsewhere within the federal government. Another 20 positions are unfilled.
The agency originally had planned to convert the warehouse management, security and supply functions in question to contract-work positions in July and had set last Dec. 1 as the deadline by which proposals should have been received from the private sector.
But before the proposals could be evaluated and negotiations started with interested contractors, GSA decided to open a new personal property center at the Franconia facility on Loisdale Road south of Springfield Mall.
"We did not know if we had the legal grounds to include the Franconia property center in with the scope of work we had already asked for proposals on," explained Les L. Mitchell, director of GSA's office of federal supply and services. It wasn't until Monday afternoon that Mitchell decided that such a move would be illegal.
That decision will delay for at least another 30 days efforts to begin negotiations with contractors, according to Dale L. Bruce, a GSA spokesman, because those submitting proposals will have to be told of the change first.
Under a federal law, GSA cannot turn over 20 other custodial positions at the warehouse to a private contractor because veterans have preferential hiring rights for those jobs. The law applies to similar positions elsewhere around the country.
There are currently seven other contractors in the region doing jobs previously performed by federal employes. Those jobs are primarily landscape and pest control work.
In addition, GSA currently is soliciting bids or looking for proposals that would result in the contracting out of 19 other contracts which could affect hundreds of other federal employes. No single one of those contracts affects as many people as are involved in the Franconia Stores Depot, however, said GSA spokesman Rodgers Stewart.