Letter to the Editor

E-filing should be set free

I read your July 19 article "Taxpayer advocate proposes free e-filing for everyone," and I heartily agree. All taxpayers should be able to file their taxes electronically for free.

It is clearly in the best interests of the government to maximize e-filing, and the only way to do that is to enable free and direct e-filing of tax returns with the Internal Revenue Service.

At a minimum, the IRS should have PDF-like forms that can be filled out manually or by importing from a text file.

Robert Karlsen

Not a passing grade

In regard to your article "NMCI's silent majority" [FCW, Aug. 16], is 55 percent a passing grade? Not where I went to school.

There's an old saying that figures don't lie but liars figure. If you let Navy Marine Corps Intranet officials calculate satisfaction grades about the system, why even bother? Do you think they'll accurately reflect the level of dissatisfaction that exists?

What the Navy has bought is a super-expensive e-mail network that doesn't even deliver e-mail messages very well. I suppose if you don't care about the fact that the NMCI network was bid to cover legacy systems and now that's too hard to manage, then 55 is probably a good score.

When fiscal 2005 ends, the Navy has to be 100 percent certain that NMCI works before it cuts off all legacy systems. Then what will the acceptable passing grade be? Maybe 25 percent?

William Holderby

Securely inefficient

Your recent articles about e-authentication are very timely. As a manager, to sign/approve a travel order via our online system, I have to log onto my NMCI computer with a user name and a password that is good for 90 days, insert my Common Access Card, enter my personal identification number to log onto the Travel Manager site, enter my user name and another password good for 90 days, select a document and enter a "signature" password (no expiration), and review the document and enter the signature password a second time to approve and forward.

That's four passwords, one PIN and two user names. It may be secure, but it sure does not seem very efficient.

Mike Wechsler

MEO does less work

Regarding your editorial "A-76: A textbook case" [FCW, Aug. 16], you don't have all the facts in hand because you've been told that the Internal Revenue Service will get a new most-efficient organization (MEO) to perform work while reducing its workforce.

The main problem is that the tasks the MEO will perform are not those originally set forth for the A-76 study.

If a complete redesign of the work to be performed had not been done — depending on software being adapted to some tasks while completely de-emphasizing or eliminating much customer service provided today — the MEO would be much larger and the organization would not look so different.

The process also completely ignores the negative effect on morale and other issues.

Charlie Trapp

'Do' leads to 'don't'

I'm afraid I disagree with contractor James McAleese's "Ethical do's and don'ts" commentary [FCW, July 26] regarding how the government contractual process should work.

It seems to me that the "do's" cause the "don'ts." For example, on the contractor side, McAleese states that a contractor should not seek source selection information during competition. However, that is a direct and inevitable result of the "Contractor do" responding to the draft statement of work. On the government side, the government employee shouldn't — and by law can't — disclose proprietary information from one company to another.

Unfortunately, this precludes the "Government employee do" of treating contractors equally.

I also disagree with the blanket statement that the government should not retaliate against a contractor that protests a contract decision. If that protest is baseless and submitted by that contractor solely to retaliate against a decision that didn't go in the company's favor, then that contractor should be severely penalized.

If the protest has merit, however, then the government procurement officer should be penalized.

I would go further in McAleese's global "Don't" and forbid any federal employee from seeking employment with any contractor that does business with that agency for a period of at least five years.

Cliff Byrum


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