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Soundoff: Feds air complaints about contractors

A number of federal employees have written recently to complain about supervisors who give preference, without warrant, to contractor employees.

The readers were responding to a report about the prospect of "in-sourcing" -- that is, of federal agencies converting contractor jobs to staff positions.

The report, from the Federal Acquisition Innovation and Reform Institute,  advises agencies to plan carefully before proceeding. In-sourcing everything at once and doing it very quickly invites disaster, according to the report, because the government isn’t currently prepared to handle the influx of work (read the article here).

Readers however said "Pfui" to the notion that they can't handle the work. Senior managers want a contractor’s input on a situation, even after the federal employee has given them the answer.

KiloWhiskey from Denver described like this: “Senior management asks the contractor, who then comes and asks us. We tell him the answer, which he parrots back to management, whereupon it’s accepted as gospel.”

Another reader suggested a way to take work away from contractors: cut out the unnecessary contractors.

“Seen ‘Office Space’? One engineer reporting to eight people is not just in a movie,” the reader comments. And then adds, “Many projects are cheaper to mess up and restart three times over than to hire all of these process people, who push board approvals and tons of paperwork for every little request/task just to get it ‘right’ the first time.”

Disgusted Fed in New Orleans wrote that federal workers find themselves having to go back and redo many of these contractors’ work, thereby doubling their own work. “Feds work for less than contractors, and we seem to care much more about how the job is done than contractors.”

Posted by Matthew Weigelt on Jun 11, 2009 at 12:14 PM


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