November 17, 2009

Schumer, Gillibrand, Hinchey, Hall Announce Official Army Decision To Cancel West Point A-76 Study Issued Today; Plan Is Officially Dead

Cancellation of Study Will Save Nearly 400 Jobs, Taxpayer Money; Move Comes After Persistent Lobbying From Schumer, Gillibrand, Hinchey and Hall

Today, U.S. Senators Charles E. Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand along with Congressmen Maurice Hinchey and John Hall announced that the official decision to cancel the West Point study that was proven to be flawed and ineffective was issued today, preventing the loss of hundreds of federal jobs at the United States Military Academy at West Point, and saving taxpayer money. The study, referred to as an A-76 study, is currently used to compare the use of private versus public employees to ensure that the government does not waste taxpayers' money. 

However, a series of congressional investigations by the Government Accountability Office have highlighted the significant flaws inherent in the current A-76 process suggesting that it neither conclusively saves money nor produces a more efficient output and puts federal employees at a disadvantage.  For the past several months, Senators Schumer and Gillibrand and Congressmen Hinchey and Hall have been calling for the cancellation of the study to prevent the outsourcing of hundreds of jobs at West Point.  The announcement today comes on the heels of the lawmakers' push for legislation to cancel A-76 studies. 

Rep. Hinchey successfully secured language in the House Defense Appropriations bill that would prevent the Pentagon from moving forward with its plans to potentially privatize nearly 6,000 civilian and military jobs, including the jobs at West Point.  While the jobs at West Point are now safe from the flawed A-76 process, thousands of government jobs remain at risk.  Schumer and Gillibrand have been working to include the House provision in the final bill.

"This is the final nail in the coffin of this deeply flawed study,"  said Senator Schumer. "The A-76 process was obviously unsound and relying on its inaccurate data made no sense at all. During a time when we need to maintain as many jobs as possible, cancelling this study will preserve nearly 400 jobs at West Point and save taxpayers money."

"This is great news for West Point and the Hudson Valley," said Senator Gillibrand. "My top priority is keeping New York jobs and rebuilding our economy. Ending this flawed study is the right decision and will ensure these New Yorkers will continue to have the job they deserve and need."

"Today commonsense won out over ideological stubbornness as the Army abandoned the senseless study that had been initiated by the Bush administration in an attempt to privatize hundreds of government jobs at West Point," said  Congressman Hinchey. "More than 500 workers at West Point, who have done their jobs well for years, now have the comfort of knowing their jobs won't be outsourced to a private company in Georgia that would have cut their wages and benefits while padding the salaries of company executives.  The entire A-76 process is broken and misguided and should be eliminated.  I'm thankful for Army Secretary McHugh's leadership on this matter and I encourage him and other Pentagon officials to cancel the remaining A-76 studies, which have been proven to be inherently unfair and remain a threat to thousands of workers across the country.  I'm hopeful that this latest development at West Point will strengthen our efforts in Congress to have the Senate support the language I secured in the House Defense Appropriations bill that would cancel these privatization efforts across the country."

"Keeping these jobs both local and in the government is the right decision for West Point, the Army, our community, and the taxpayers," said Congressman John Hall, whose Congressional District includes West Point. "Allowing the A76 study to go forward would have outsourced West Point's jobs and cost taxpayers more money. The A76 study that led to the privatization of West Point jobs was inherently flawed, skewed, and discriminatory since its inception. Privatization reviews were commissioned by the Bush administration as part of an ideological effort to outsource government jobs to private companies. I am glad we have finally done away with this illegal holdover from the Bush Administration."

Today the Army issued their official notification cancelling the West Point study.  The official notification follows a commitment Army Secretary McHugh made in personal phone calls last month to Schumer and Hinchey to prevent the study from going forward.   In addition, the NY Delegation is still moving forward with efforts to make sure that no additional jobs at West Point are outsourced.

The final cancellation notice has been attached.