Letter: FEMA front lines no place for novice acquisition workers

Regarding, Agencies head back to college to recruit acquisition workers, a reader responds.
[The FCW article states]:
"Shortages in contracting officers have been blamed for contracting problems after Hurricane Katrina and in Iraq. In April 2007, Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) said that the government employs half the contracting officers it did in 2001 while handling twice the number of contracts."

[The reader writes:] As a acquisition professional with over 16 years in federal contracting, going to college to obtain additional acquisition personnel will not be the answer to the problems that were faced with [hurricanes] Katrina and Rita. A recent job announcement for a GS-13 1102 Contracts person called out that this individual could be "placed in a non-pay status when not needed, but would be subject to recall within 48 hours of notification, when an emergency situation occurred." One must immediately wonder who in their right mind would accept a position such as this, and anyone who did accept this type of position would most likely not be in his right mind. Who could afford to be placed in a nonpay status, yet retain any level of professional understanding of emergency contracting. Getting someone straight out of college, and putting them on the front line is not an answer, just like drafting someone into the military and sending them to the front line without any training is no way to win a war. I have learned a lot from the "school of hard knocks," have obtained my GS-12 Rating, but there is no way that I could consider a position with FEMA as the GS-13 was advertised.

Anonymous

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