Agencies participating in the program would exchange employees from three months to one year, with the possibility of extending individual exchanges up to another year. Government IT professionals can participate in the program multiple times, to a maximum of six years during the lifetime of their federal tenure. They would not lose any of their rights as federal employees while on assignment. Under the proposed rules, federal employees working at private concerns would be barred from having access to their temporary employers' trade secrets or other nonpublic information of commercial value.
The new rules would require participating agencies to assign 20% of its exchange employees to small businesses when five or more employees are assigned in any year.
House Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis, R.-Va., the provision's main backer, says the program will help the government better manage complex IT projects by improving the skills of federal IT managers by exposing them to cutting-edge management trends in the private sector. In turn, he says, federal agencies benefit by tapping expertise by private-sector managers who'll temporarily work for the government.
The Office of Personnel Management is accepting comments on the rule until March 15. To view the proposed rule, go to: http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/14mar20010800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2004/04-862.htm.