Letter to the Editor

I enjoyed Milt Zall's April 23 column in Federal Computer Week, "Keeping TRAC of jobs."

Here are several additional points, however, which I am not sure anyone really has thought through or put into the equation.

First, there is the cost to the government to monitor the contractor. In my observation, with much contracting out of work, the cost to monitor the contractor — including the cost to teach him how to do what you want — frequently equals the cost of doing it in-house. However, these costs never are part of the contractor costs, so they get ignored!

Second, there is the whole business of ownership. When the government designed a building and took responsibility for it, there was someone in the government who had his name on the project and who took personal responsibility for the end result. With the advent of contracting out, that ceases to be, and there is no one who is responsible or who gives a damn! There is a major cost associated with this in the long-term ownership!

The same principle applies to ships, and a host of other things. While there are probably some things where these factors don't apply, there are a lot more where they do.

I am not a federal civil servant, but it is my observation that after working with many, they are underrated and badly abused by the press and much of our society. This is hurting our country.

Colin Jones
Retired Navy captain
Honolulu

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