Letters to the editor
Following are responses to an FCW.com poll question that asked: "Is it possible to have a fair competition between public and private groups bidding for the same work?"
It is fundamentally impossible for public agencies to fairly compete with private industry.
It is impossible because the "bottom line" for the commercial sector is profit, while the bottom line for government is equity. This is not an academic distinction.
Also, there is a good reason certain responsibilities are placed in the hands of government rather than private industry. How many of us would be content to have H&R Block (for example) determine and collect our income tax? How would it be if the Franklin Mint produced our coinage? When Sylvester Stallone's bodyguards are looking for a new job, do you want them protecting the president? Etc., etc.
Too many policymakers disregard the above and seem to feel it simply does not matter who does these things. It matters. A lot.
Robert Benson Defense Logistics Agency
Because the object of the competition is to give an award to a private concern, the competition is biased toward the desired result. The only way for the government source to win is to avoid the competition.
Charles Stith Consultant Former FAA employee