Washington, DC — The National Park Service is now considering
contracting out the entire operations of three national parks, according to
a memo from NPS Director Fran Mainella released today by Public Employees for
Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Previously, the National Park Service looked
to outsource certain types of jobs, such as maintenance, among several parks
but is now looking at park units in their entirety for future bids by private

The three parks under review are Boston National Historical Park, San Juan
National Historic Site (in Puerto Rico) and the Indiana Dunes National
Lakeshore. Altogether, these three parks employ 312 NPS employees on a full-time

In an April 15, 2005 memo, NPS Director Fran Mainella cited these three parks
as the subject of “preliminary [competitive sourcing] planning efforts
for FY 2005. We will be reviewing whole parks to achieve the most efficient
operations possible.”

“We have now reached the point where Disney or Bally’s Resorts
can bid on entire national park operations with almost no public debate on whether
that is appropriate,” stated PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch. “Why
stop at individual parks, why not auction off the whole national park system
to the lowest bidder?”

Citing cost overruns and potential side effects, Congress severely restricted
the Bush Administration efforts to outsource National Park Service and U.S.
Forest Service jobs during the 2004 fiscal year. Those restrictions, however,
lapsed this past October and now the Bush Administration is again pushing its
“Competitive Sourcing” initiative.

In her memo, Director Mainella indicated that NPS reviewed only 588 jobs in
the past three years, fewer than 200 a year. In 2002 and 2003, no government
workers were replaced. In 2004, an unspecified number of NPS employees were
displaced but given early retirements or buy-outs. The only identified savings
from these exercises totaled $2 million but this figure does not account for
what it cost to stage the reviews nor the roughly $5 million NPS paid a private
consultant to advise it on the review process.

“It is widely acknowledged that contract management is not the strong
suit of federal agencies yet the Competitive Sourcing strategy seeks to promote
precisely what government seems to do worst,” added Ruch. “The Bush
outsourcing program in the Park Service has been a major disruption, a morale
killer and a waste of funds that has benefited only the consultants who dispense
expensive advice on the taxpayers’ dime.”


the Fran Mainella “Competitive Sourcing Update” memo

Look at earlier NPS outsourcing plans and costs:

1/20/03 – Park
Service Set To Outsource Staff

4/21/03 – Park Service
Must Cut Operations To Pay Outsourcing Costs

5/9/03 – Park Service
Suspends Repairs To Pay For Outsourcing And Security

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