NAPA to study government accountability

"Managing Federal Missions with a Multisector Workforce"

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The National Academy of Public Administration announced this week it has begun a multiphase research project to analyze the impact of an expanding contractor workforce on government accountability.

NAPA researchers will analyze new challenges facing federal managers as agencies outsource more work to federal contractors. No reliable, current figures exist on the size of the federal workforce, according to NAPA officials. But 2002 data from Paul Light, professor of public service at New York University, illustrates the trend: 5.1 million contractor jobs to 1.7 civil service and 1.4 uniformed military personnel jobs.

NAPA uses the term “multisector” to describe the new federal workforce. NAPA’s Multisector Workforce Management Working Group will sponsor forums focused on emerging management practices that address the challenges. The group’s leader is Rosslyn Kleeman, distinguished executive in residence at George Washington University’s School of Business and Public Management.

In the first research phase, NAPA formulated the following questions that its researchers said they hope to answer in subsequent phases of the project.

* What is the impact of the government no longer directly employing the workforce that is conducting new research and producing technology innovations?

* Can federal performance management systems, including pay-for-performance systems, be designed to support coordination, oversight and management of the multisector workforce?

* What is the impact of contractors supervising other contractors on behalf of the federal government or contractors supervising federal employees?

* How do agencies address the fact that the federal government has traditionally addressed social equity in employment, whereas many who are increasingly doing the work of government do not?

* What happens to the culture in an agency when different employees are working under different pay and benefit plans?

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