LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR



Unanswered questions for Navy

With regard to the article 'Commander: Outsourcing cuts SPAWAR costs' [GCN, June 25, Page 34], the implication is that costs were cut at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command by eliminating 42 percent of the 3,000 applications being run. No doubt additional savings could be realized by eliminating another 42 percent of the remaining apps.

My questions are:


  • Why didn't SPAWAR know what apps it was running?

  • Why was SPAWAR running 1,260 apps that were not needed?

  • What evidence is there that the reported savings wouldn't be realized by eliminating these apps without outsourcing?



I'm disappointed that your reporter did not ask these or other questions but rather fed us a puff piece. As for the Navy, it should stop polishing that apple. It's already been sold.

BOB WIEDER

Program director

CHM Inc.

McLean, Va.

TRAC Act will ensure quality

I must take this opportunity to correct several misstatements made in a recent column, 'Bill would put outsourcing on the wrong track' [GCN, June 4, Page 29].

The Truthfulness, Responsibility and Accountability in Contracting Act has widespread support.

It includes an enforcement mechanism to ensure compliance with its requirements to track the costs of contracting, hold full and fair public-private competitions before work is contracted out, and abolish arbitrary in-house personnel ceilings that prevent federal employees from competing for work.

What's up in your agency?
For governments east of the Mississippi, call 301-650-2225 or e-mail wdizard@postnewsweektech.com.
For those west, call 301-650-2238 or e-mail twalsh@postnewsweektech.com.
The TRAC Act would subject contractors to the same degree of public-private competition as that experienced by federal employees.

That enforcement mechanism is a temporary suspension on new services contracts. The suspension would have no effect on work already being performed by contractors. Agencies would have broad authority to undertake new contracts if they were necessary for national security, patient care or to avoid economic harm.

Because the authority to lift the temporary suspension would remain with Congress, it could end at any time. Leaving the length of time open-ended ensures agencies have the necessary incentive to restore much-needed integrity and equity to the services-contracting process.

Years of downsizing and indiscriminate services contracting have created what the General Accounting Office has called a 'human capital crisis,' leaving agencies dangerously short of employees in key occupational categories. The TRAC Act, by ensuring consideration of in-house performance before work is contracted out, will be instrumental in resolving that crisis.

The writer, Ann Costello, criticizes the most efficient organization process. We believe the MEO process has done so much to allow federal employees to be competitive with contractors that we are actually winning a majority of the competitions. For federal workers, MEO is the most popular part of the public-private competition process because it saves money for the taxpayers.

Costello also asserts that the TRAC Act would place an undue emphasis on saving money. Guilty as charged. The TRAC Act will ensure that any services contracting is undertaken on the basis of efficiency and effectiveness, not ideology and politics.

The essay insists that proponents of the legislation wait until after a GAO panel reports to Congress next year on problems in services contracting. I represent federal employees and taxpayers on that panel. But the Bush administration has made it irrelevant by putting the jobs of 425,000 federal employees up for grabs over the next four years through direct conversions to contractors and public-private competitions.

The administration and the contractor community aren't waiting for the panel. Don't you think it's a little disingenuous to suggest that federal employees and taxpayers hold their fire'especially when we're right?

BOBBY L. HARNAGE SR.

National president

American Federation of Government Workers

Washington

DON'T MISS

At a conference, Oracle Corp. chairman and chief executive officer Larry Ellison pooh-poohed the use of middleware to integrate databases and suggested that agencies create megadatabases accessible via the Web. He said such an approach would be cheaper and more efficient. What's your take?

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