Point of Beginning

ACSM Opposes Kennedy Amendment

June 24, 2002
The organization urges surveyors to write to their senators.

The following is a draft letter that was faxed on ACSM letterhead to all senators except Sen. Kennedy.

Curt Sumner, executive director of the ACSM, discussed the matter with ACSM Government Affairs Committee Chair, John Matonich and ACSM Government Affairs Consultant, Laurence Socci. They concurred that the position stated in the draft letter is consistent with their position related to any TRAC type legislation, such as the Kennedy Amendment.

Because time is of the essence, it is critical that letters to the senators be faxed to their offices, or send via E-mail, as soon as possible. Mr. Socci is of the opinion that a faxed correspondence is more positively received than that which is E-mailed. Therefore, if you are so inclined and have the opportunity, please use the draft letter as a guide and send a letter to your respective senators.

Draft Letter:

Honorable ________________
Office # _______________
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

RE: Kennedy Amendment to Defense Authorization bill (S. 2514)

Dear Senator _____________________:

I am writing to you today on behalf of the American Congress on Surveying and Mapping (ACSM) to urge you to oppose an amendment to the Defense Authorization bill (S. 2514) which will be offered by Senator Kennedy in the near future.

ACSM is a professional organization representing surveyors, mappers and other professionals engaged in communicating the Earth's spatial information using precisely prepared plats, charts, maps, digital cartographic and related data systems. We have members around the world --- including in every state and Puerto Rico.

We believe that the Kennedy amendment, as it appears, is not good for the public nor the government, and not good for our members --- many of whom are independent businesspeople who often compete for government contracts. It puts a burden on the Defense Department because it would force them to go through costly, burdensome and time consuming comparisons of government employee performance, and contractor performance, on activities before the Defense Department can contract out with the private sector. These comparisons typically do not adequately account for the government's in-house overhead, general and administrative expenses, and do not address concerns about OMB Circular A-76. Also, the amendment mandates Defense Department studies on "in-sourcing," or moving activities currently performed by non-governmental contractors into the government. In essence, while President Bush is calling for a smaller government, the Kennedy amendment expands it.

The Kennedy amendment does not take into consideration the recommendations of the Commercial Activities Panel, convened by the General Accounting Office. In fact, it does not include any of the ten recommendations of the Panel. Additionally, the Kennedy amendment would upset the compromise that Congress struck when it enacted the Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act (FAIR Act, Public Law 105-270), in 1998. The Kennedy amendment would inject two provisions --- mandating OMB Circular A-76 type studies and "in-sourcing" commercial activities performed by contractors --- which were considered and rejected by Congress when the FAIR Act was enacted.

For these reasons, ACSM urges your opposition of the Kennedy amendment.

Sincerely,

Curtis W. Sumner, LS
Executive Director

The ideas and opinions expressed by ACSM do not necessarily reflect those of POB.