Early Briefing: Private-Federal Competition

*President Bush proposed an initiative in 2001 to force federal employees to compete for their jobs against private contractors. The goal was to decrease costs, even if the work stayed in the government.

But critics say this "competitive sourcing" initiative had disappointing results, with morale shaken among civil servants and private contractors reluctant to participate in the competitions, which federal employees have won 83 percent of the time. From 2003 to 2006, agencies completed competitions for fewer than 50,000 jobs, a fraction of what Bush envisioned.

Administration officials say the competitions completed thus far have generated realized and projected savings of more than $7 billion while costing only $225 million.

A Pepco lineman upgrades a powerline in Northeast Washington. (By James M. Thresher -- The Washington Post)

*Residents of Maryland and the District can buy electricity and natural gas from someone other than their traditional utility. Virginia residents can do it for natural gas. It's the product of the deregulation of the electricity and natural gas markets - the old utility still delivers the power and probably sends you the bill, but you're buying from a different company.

*Columnist Steven Pearlstein writes that business related to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act is a growth area for Washington law firms. It's also given a boost to accounting firms, forensic computer specialists and a growing army of compliance consultants.

*Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac had told the Department of Housing and Urban Development months ago that it was unrealistic for them to try to meet affordable-housing quotas in 2007 because of market conditions, and yesterday HUD agreed. The companies won't face any penalty for not hitting requirements that they devote certain percentages of their business to funding loans for various categories of borrowers.
It's part of a shift toward a more accommodating government stance toward the two mortgage-funding companies.

Milton V. Peterson, in a room overlooking his company's National Harbor in Oxon Hill, invested $380 million and borrowed $450 million for the project. (By Bill O'Leary -- The Washington Post)

*National Harbor celebrates its grand opening today. The $4 billion project in Prince George's County couldn't have happened without a public-private partnership.

*The District said it's seeking to develop land next to the historic Lincoln Theater, a U Street institution that would receive financial assistance from the project.Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) invited developers to submit proposals for the District-owned site, two neighboring parcels behind the theater that are large enough for an eight- or nine-story building, and underground parking. City officials have not decided whether to sell or lease the land.

*ComScore, the supplier of data on Internet use based in Reston, said analysts drew the wrong conclusions from its advertising click data for Google. Reports put out before Google reported earnings had led to hits in Google's stock. Google's revenue in the United States was little changed in the first quarter, mirroring a trend in advertising click data, ComScore said.

*Washington Adventist Hospital has received the first of numerous approvals needed for its proposed move from Takoma Park to a site north of White Oak and near the border of Montgomery and Prince George's counties. Yesterday, the Montgomery Planning Board unanimously recommended that the hospital be granted a special exception allowing it to relocate to 48 acres near Route 29 and Cherry Hill Road.

By Terri Rupar  |  April 25, 2008; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Morning Brief
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