Feds, contractors 'nervous' about deficit plan cuts

Thursday - 12/2/2010, 4:28pm EST

Stan Soloway, President, Professional Services Council

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The president's fiscal commission votes on its final set of recommendations tomorrow. A provision calling for a reduction in federal contractors has been removed. But the plan still calls for federal program cuts and workforce reductions, recommendations that Stan Soloway says will still impact the contracting community.

Soloway, president of the Professional Services Council, told the DorobekINSIDER that both federal employees and contractors are "nervous" about the effects of the Commission's plan.

"We don't know how deep or where the cuts will actually be," Soloway said.

Soloway said an across-the-board pay freeze will hurt government's efforts in recruiting, especially in high-skill areas. Agencies may also see their highly skilled workforce leave for higher paid jobs in the private sector, he said.

"Folks who can find other work, which are those very ones you need to keep, are often the first to bail," Soloway said.

He said the United States could take a cue from the United Kingdom, where some government departments face as much as a 25 percent budget reduction but are collaborating with partners on how to save costs.

If U.S. agencies likewise collaborated on cost-cutting plans, acquisition professionals would be able to find "unfettered" cost savings, Soloway said.

Soloway said he does see some good recommendations in the proposals. However, the plan has "political ramifications" for both parties.

Soloway said his concern is that those good recommendations would be "superceded by the ones that ring bells more loudly."