Federal Bytes

Show me the money

The good news about the plethora of blanket purchase agreements (BPAs) is that vendors have more opportunities to sell their goods and services. The bad news is that there is that much more ground to cover without any guarantee of business.

Consider Datatrac Information Services Inc. a small business that recently won a Department of Veterans Affairs' BPA for telecommunications and computer products and services. The BPA is potentially worth $1 billion and Datatrac has about 40 employees. Do the math: If Datatrac wants to realize the full value of the vehicle each employee - from the receptionist to the president - would have to generate $25 million in business.

On the bright side the year-end bonuses will be out of this world.

Once a bureaucrat...

One of the slogans of the National Performance Review's plan to reinvent government was to make government act more like a business and the NPR enshrined that common-sense thinking in "Access America " an initiative to re-engineer the government through information technology.

But lest we forget sometimes you can remove the boy from the country but not the country from the boy. In a brochure announcing a 17-city tour to spread the Access America word NPR lists agencies and companies that offer "results-driven information technology solutions." Included in the list is Dun & Bradstreet spelled "Dunn & Bradstreet." At least NPR had enough street smarts to hold its Jan. 21 conference in Honolulu. Now that's how business thinks.

Self-serving feds

A survey published last week by Rasmussen Research found that six out of 10 Americans view the federal government as a special-interest group "that looks out for itself." Only 20 percent said they believe the government is "an impartial organization that helps all Americans."

Does this mean the phrase "public servant" is a misnomer?

Using nasty names

The New York Times reported last week that according to the Treasury Department the use of PCs and color printers to make counterfeit U.S. dollars has been on the rise. This prompted an unnamed Secret Service agent to tell the Times that the department is "trying to get the word out to these knucklehead kids that this is against the law."

This prompted one of our editors to ask why government officials do not give us good quotes like this.

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