Letters to the Editor

On SDB preferences and fed employee suggestions

Many in the small-business community will rightly applaud your sensibility about the Defense Department eliminating the preference for small- and disadvantaged-business procurements ["Preference cutoff handcuffs DOD," FCW, March 3]. Other than creating an arbitrary artificial target, there is no inherent rationale for the 5 percent SDB goal.

Economic history reminds us that many of our larger companies were themselves small vendors who became large through acquisitions and mergers. Their success proved their worth to customers, such as DOD. To continue to obtain high value from such current and future businesses, the arbitrary 5 percent target should be repealed. The current dilemma is merely a case of setting the bar too low.

Also, Steven Kelman's articles on reform and public employee empowerment are interesting ["Reform empowers Air Force, Navy," FCW, March 8] but fail to hit on the major method by which huge government costs can be saved - that is, a full-blown beneficial suggestion program with the following characteristics:

1. Nonfederal outsiders per department and agency as a review panel.

2. Ninety-day turnaround on evaluating each idea.

3. One percent of the first year's actual savings awarded to the person who suggested it, with no cap on this incentive payment.

4. Make the payment tax-free.

5. Payment could go to both civilian and military personnel.

I will bet you the cost of government falls by 10 percent in two years. This is the way to unlock federal employees' hidden treasures.

John KingSupervisory Budget AnalystAssistant Secretary of the Navy(Financial Management and Comptroller)

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