Readers Write

Dear Readers,

I would like to acknowledge the smart, lively, even frothy responses that Government Inc. has received from you all.

It just goes to show that contrary to my early assumptions about the effort -- including that some of you would find contracting unpleasantly akin to eating raw broccoli -- the subject apparently can inspire. It turns out that some readers enjoy raw broccoli with the same passion they bring to procurement matters.

Below are excerpts from some of the very interesting comments I have received. The full comments appear on the blog as they were originally posted.

Please note that I'm also happy to receive story and blog ideas and materials directly, at oharrowr@washpost.com.

One reader going by vklip responded to The Price of Good Service by expressing unease about the increased spending on contractors:

"Seems to me that the original purpose of contracting out - or at least one of the stated purposes was, of course, to save money, and another stated purpose was smaller government. I'm not clear on how employing outside contractors makes for smaller government, and I am darned sure that they are, in measurable and immeasurable ways, a great deal less accountable than even the worst "civil" servant."

A scribe called Federal Procurement Guru (I wonder who that could be?) added important context to GSA, Sun and More Questions To Come:

"Any attempt to link Federal Procurement issues with the current administration should be viewed with skepticism.

The simple fact of the matter is that many of the issues pertaining to Federal Procurement are a result of the misapplication (on the part of the Government) of reforms to procurement regulations that were reformed during the Clinton administration...Many of the Clinton era reforms were in an attempt to increase competition by streamlining the acquisition process to allow commercial companies to sell to the Fedeal Government rather than having the Federal Government incurr unnessary developmental costs to buy items that are readily available in the commercial marketplace...The fact of the matter is that the Government and Government auditors are as much to blame for current procurement issues as contractors. If we return to an era where commercial companies are inclined not to sell to the Government, we will return to the days when the Government truly waste tax payer dollars."

Some readers detected a skepticism about contractors in the introduction note. William wrote this:

"This is certainly something worth covering, but do I detect a bit of anti-contracting bias even in this early post?
In my own experience in government work, it was often the contractors who worked the hardest and produced the most, whereas the GS employees had little fear of discipline (let alone being fired) and were somewhat lazy."

Someone called "a concerned ex fed" said:

"This is a big issue and one we should talk about. But I am a little surprised you launched this blog with such a one side assault. Doesn't offer much hope for balance here...or...in your reporting?"

Government Inc. also has some fans. They include an anonymous poster (who I'm almost certain isn't my mother) who wrote:

"Bravo for starting the Government Inc. feature! Truly, most in our country and many in Washington have only the slightest grasp of the contracting world. Having worked for just a few years with private companies who were government contractors, I saw enough to know that the system is very flawed. Hopefully your articles will catch people's attention and begin to motivate reform."

Someone called CThomas807 said:

"Thanks so much for providing this service to "we the people." I look forward to learning more from Government Inc."

And I look forward to learning more from all you readers.

By Robert O'Harrow |  July 16, 2007; 6:15 AM ET Readers Write
Previous: Procurement Debate Goes Feline | Next: Nukes, Documents and FFRDCs

Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



Today's posting confirms what I've believed about this blog since the beginning - no original thought. Instead of his usual laziness of re-reporting previous Post stories or informing us what is on other blogs, Mr. O'Harrow is enlightening us by summarizing the comments by his readers. If the rest of his audience is like I am, with real contracting missions to accomplish , they too will grow tired of the site.

Posted by: Contracting Al | July 16, 2007 8:20 AM

Contractor waste is rampant in the USAF, where acquisition personnel are apparently only measured by how many contracts they award. Take two examples: USAF FIRST, which was supposed to improve financial planning and budgeting, hasn't delivered any useful capability to users since it was awarded back in 2001, 7 years ago, to Accenture. GCSS, which is a cash cow for Lockheed because they burn tax dollars on $100M/year with no oversight whatsoever; their contracted periods of performance end when they burn through all the money, not due to completion of anything useful. The lack of oversight is basic: no one in USAF acquisition ever reviews resumes of contractors to ensure skills match labor rates. And all the while, our troops have to buy their own body armor for tours of duty in Iraq!

Posted by: upstate111 | July 17, 2007 7:39 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2007 The Washington Post Company