Letter to the Editor
- By Ed Andersen
- Sep 19, 2000
As a government financial manager with a keen interest in computers and
costs, I find another article about the "woes" of shortages of IT personnel
and its solution (more money) to be laughable ["Survey reconfirms IT staffing
woes," FCW, Sept. 4].
The top executive in Washington, D.C., and I am sure elsewhere, should
really begin to look at what the IT staff is really doing. Executives should
look at what the investment they are making really buys and ask whether
is it the best use of their operating budgets.
How many of those IT employees are certified to do anything? What are
the ratios of computer geeks to program personnel they support? How many
IT personnel actually look for improvements through more cost-effective
"best practices" (without any compromise in service)? My guess is very few,
if my department is any indication. Turf protection is mission one! You
use the word "router" to a top executive, and they prostrate themselves
before the IT "gods"! Design a feeble Web page using FrontPage, and you
are a "Webmaster"! All of this "expertise" is compensated at grades 13,
14 or 15!
I think that it is time these IT snake oil salesmen be uncovered for
the sham they are perpetuating at the taxpayers' expense. (I do not wish
to imply that all government IT folks are in this category.) Before the
Office of Personnel Management starts offering special pay for these "critical"
personnel, I think it is time to require [certifying] these employees if
they want to be paid the big bucks. Let's start making sure we are getting
the best and brightest.
I am all in favor of upward mobility, but the time of overpayments must
stop! It is pretty bad when a former secretary with only a high school diploma
who demonstrates minimal computer aptitude who knows "computerspeak" can
make as much money or more than lawyers, nurses, Ph.D. holders, and other
I'd say there is a workforce challenge here, but it requires more than
just pay to resolve.