Letter to the editor
Following is a response to an FCW.com poll question that asked: Should government outsource more IT services?
Federal employees in the information technology field, when properly trained and well managed, are a hard-working and very conscientious group. We take our jobs seriously and ensure customer satisfaction.
Agencies choosing to fire IT employees will be losing most of their computer expertise. Eventually, technical software contracts will no longer be written, managed and overseen by federal employees who understand the technical specifications. Agencies will be forced to accept whatever quality of software products the contractors provide, or continue to pay additional monies in an attempt to complete projects with inadequately defined requirements.
Supplemental contractor support to federal IT shops has been a good thing. However, relying too heavily on private industry at the expense of in-house IT robs the federal government of key areas of expertise and risks creating a higher drain on taxpayer dollars.
The federal government is acting schizophrenically because it publishes information about future IT retirements that will create the need for internal hiring. Who is going to tell the new recruits hired at the recent "virtual job fair" that the positions they so keenly competed for are now in jeopardy of being contracted out?
How will the government continue to attract the "best and brightest" in the IT field if potential candidates see that their jobs are being given to private industry? It just doesn't add up!
Cyndi Cheek Office of Personnel Management