On October 19, 1998, President Clinton signed into law the "Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act of 1998" (FAIR Act). The FAIR Act directs Federal agencies to submit to OMB each year an inventory of all their activities that are performed by Federal employees but are not inherently Governmental (i.e., are commercial).
Below are links to download the U.S. Department of Education's (ED) 1999 Commercial Activities Inventory. The inventory was prepared in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-76, its March 1996 Revised Supplemental Handbook and the FAIR Act. The inventory includes the number of ED Full-time Equivalent (FTE) employees performing functions that could be considered commercial in nature. After review by, and consultation with, OMB, the Department is hereby making the inventory available to the public.
There are 28 commercial activity functions listed on ED’s 1999 inventory. The FTE numbers in the report reflect ED's staffing level as of September 20, 1999. ED considers the personnel performing these functions as the minimum number of specialized, scientific or technical staff needed in-house to ensure that the Department has the necessary capabilities to fulfill its mission responsibilities or meet emergency requirements.
Several years ago, the Department undertook an aggressive effort to contract out its major activities. Contractors now perform the following activities:
- computer center, network and telecommunications operations;
- debt collection;
- training and development of ED staff;
- student financial assistance services;
- grant proposal review;
- parking services;
- library services;
- copy center services;
- mail room services, and
- research and special studies.
As a result of its effort to outsource, ED's FTE staff dropped from approximately 7,500 in 1980 to its current level of around 4,965.
Inventory Challenges and Appeals
Under Section 3 of the FAIR Act, ED's decision to include or exclude a particular activity from the Commercial Activities Inventory is subject to administrative challenge and, then, possible appeal by an "interested party." Section 3(b) of the FAIR Act defines "interested party" as:
- A private sector source that (A) is an actual or prospective offeror for any contract or other form of agreement to perform the activity; and (B) has a direct economic interest in performing the activity that would be adversely affected by a determination not to procure the performance of the activity from a private sector source.
- A representative of any business or professional association that includes within its membership private sector sources referred to in 1. above.
- An officer or employee of an organization within an executive agency that is an actual or prospective offeror to perform the activity.
- The head of any labor organization referred to in section 7103(a) (4) of title 5, United States Code that includes within its membership officers or employees of an organization referred to in 3. above.
An interested party may submit an initial challenge to the inclusion or exclusion of an activity within 30 calendar days after publication of OMB's Federal Register notice stating that the inventory is available. The challenge must set forth the activity being challenged with as much specificity as possible, and the reasons for the interested party's belief that the particular activity should be reclassified as inherently Governmental (and therefore be deleted from the inventory) or as commercial (and therefore be added to the inventory) in accordance with OFPP Policy Letter 92-1 on inherently Governmental functions or as established by precedent (such as when other agencies have contracted for the activity or undergone competitions for this or similar activities).
The Department will review initial challenges. Written notification of ED's decision will be transmitted to the interested party within 28 calendar days of receiving the challenge. The notification will include a discussion of the rationale for the decision and, if the decision is adverse, an explanation of the party's right to file an appeal.
Appeals of an adverse decision to an initial challenge must be transmitted to ED within 10 working days after receiving the written notification of the decision. The Department will decide the appeal and transmit to the interested party a written notification of the decision together with a discussion of the rationale for the decision within 10 working days of receipt of the appeal. ED will transmit to OMB and the Congress a copy of any changes to the inventory that result from this process, make the changes available to the public and publish a notice of public availability in the Federal Register.
Submit both initial challenges and appeals to:
U.S. Department of Education
Office of the Chief Financial Officer
ATTN: Gary Weaver, ROB-3, RM 3600
400 Maryland Ave., SW
Washington, DC 20202-4249
Questions Regarding ED's 1999 FAIR Act Inventory
For further information regarding the inventory, the Department requests that questions be submitted in writing. E-mail questions to Gary.Weaver@ed.gov or fax questions to (202) 205-0323, ATTN: Gary Weaver.
To download the complete 1999 U.S. Department of Education FAIR Act Inventory as an MS Excel spreadsheet or Adobe PDF file, click on the appropriate link below.
EDFAIR99.xls (42K) - 1999 U.S. Department of Education FAIR Act Inventory in MS Excel 97 format.
- 1999 U.S. Department of Education FAIR Act Inventory in Adobe PDF format. PDF format allows viewing of the inventory electronically on most computers. The Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free, is required to view and print PDF files.)
EDFAIR99.zip (88K) - This file contains the 1999 U.S. Department of Education FAIR Act Inventory in both MS Excel 97 and Adobe PDF formats as well as a cover letter to requesters in MS Word 97 format. The 3 files are zipped for easy downloading. Zip utility software is required to extract the 3 files from this zip file before viewing in spreadsheet, word processor or other applications.