12:14 pm, April 21, 2014

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  • Govt STEM jobs no longer attractive due to outsourcing
    Honest Broker
    I recently retired and hated to leave, but the politicians took budget cuts out on Govt employees and they keep us from doing the real engineering work by forcing an outsourcing environment. I had considered the partial retirement approach, but I was in FERS and I would lose 100 percent of my supplement which equated to one third of my retirement check. If I only work 60 percent of a week, then I expect to receive 40 percent of my retirement check instead of 25 percent. As for doing real engineering work, DAU only teaches the business side of engineering and not the rest of it. As a professional engineer, I was trained to take into account the economics of my design but that was only a small portion of my overall responsibilities. The contractors drive all the decision making whether the Govt needs the technology or not. They offer sweet retirement jobs to senior civilian and military personnel to push it through the system. For those that question it are put away in the cubicle farms, while those that go along with this legal bibery system are promoted. When I first started in the 1980s, the Govt engineers were in charge, salaries automatically appropriated by Congress, procurements were in days instead of weeks or months, and we made all decisions while retirees could not work for any of our contractors to avoid conflict of interest. Since that time, our salaries came out of task funds, contractors could bribe our supervisors with jobs, procurement efficiency declined, and all decisions were made about the design before it got to our desk. We became nothing more than a tax to our customers. Before I left, my STEM new hires were sharp and hungry for technical work, but it was hard to find, they were shackled by the glacial procurement system and they saw little promotion potential if they stayed technical. The contractors on the other hand, still did the real hands on technical work, made promotion for it and could buy with lightning speed plus a sizeable charge to the Govt. I hear a lot of lip service about changing, but I do not see any real evidence about shifts in this technical outsourcing trend. Anyone considering a Govt STEM job should not be expecting it to be technically challenging, so they should seriously consider working as a contractor and fully use their 401K for retirement. With the politicians slaved to the contractors donations and who knows what else, I do not see this trend changing.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Contractor legal council discussing woes of more Govt ratio? A little biased
    Honest Broker
    I originally thought Joe Petrillo was a Govt legal council representative, but it turns out he is part of a commercial legal firm in Washington working on the behalf of his contractor customers so it explained some of his comments about changing the Govt to Contractor ratio. --1st Point-- Do not shift from contractors to Govt if threat of "Undue harm to national defense". Really? How many Govt personnel want the military or other groups to fail at their mission? Not many. As a project lead, my main problem with Govt folks was finding qualified technical people since they had outsourced that work for years. The pool of knowledge is really small right now. Another hurdle is take the shackles off the Govt procurement process like automating it something like an Amazon site with a pre-negotiated price. Two or more Govt personnel would confirm its a good price and fit for the job, but to mire down the decision into weeks or months for a less than $100K is an insult to the tax payer or soldier. At one time, the project leads had credit cards which we could buy small items and keep things moving. We had a less than 1 percent fradulent use of the card, so they took it away instead of publicly punishing those individuals as criminals. The contractors make fees off procurements, so I suspect that had something to do with that decision. -- 2nd Point -- Cost type contracts do not work? McCain's political rhetoric said he would ban them. I TOTALLY AGREE. Cost plus fixed fee contracts have no incentive to finish plus its the cash cow they use to get funds for bribing influential Govt or Military personnel. Politicians use cost contracts as a means to get campaign funds, so they sincerely do not want to stop them but tell their constituents about their evil. SECDEF must sign off. As the moderator pointed out, the SECDEF office will just make some boiler plate forms. Congress will only question the contracts that make the news, but otherwise they will just look the other way. During the Kennedy and Johnson years, McNamara pushed fixed price to control costs but the guest speaker, Joe Petrillo, claimed it failed. Did it or did it cut into the profits of the Military Industrial Complex which in turn pulled the strings of the politicians? --3rd Point-- Technology moves rapidly, so Govt workforce will be outpaced by it. That is a universal problem both in the public and private sectors. The Govt has a worse track record because of the procurement shackles introduced to slow them down compared to if the work is outsourced. Make it an even playing field and the Govt will come out cheaper because it does not have to turn a profit. --4th Point-- Govt could not handle all the sub-contracting that a prime deals with. Not with the current antiquated paper system, but automation could bring this around. The cost contracts promote inefficiency and unnecessary tasks, so with Govt doing the sub-contracts too we may discover all the excess and help curb the drain on the country. Prime contractors play favorites with their sub-contractors plus some have started hinting about outsourcing to overseas so they can make even more profit. Some of this work was for the military, so they would expose classified technology. I wonder how the tax payers and unemployed Americans would like that news? The contractors are value added when they manufacture equipment or help with the Government software, but political greed has rippled down and screwed up the balance so now we are in debt for it. Too bad everyone wants their piece of the profit instead of looking out for that balance point.
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  • Kudos to Jacque Simon, AFGE - Govt cuts not equivalent to contractors
    Honest Broker
    I really appreciate Jacque Simon trying to reason with the politicians, but the contractors throw around alot of money compared to under paid Govt workers. She provided good points to measure if the politicians are sincerely trying to make even cuts across the board: --ONE--Cut back or eliminate all contracts and not just those over $500M --TWO--Discuss in an open forum inherently Govt jobs. Should not national security drive not using a for commercial entity? I worked in an engineering position, but it changed over the last 20 years from being in charge and looking out for the best interest of the Govt to turning all work over to the contractor. It was usually dictated to us which contractor to use, they did all technical work, and you better give them glowing reviews. We only did the contract paperwork, so then we just became a tax on the whole process and the military started to not see our value added. One main problem is the contractors can bribe upper management with retirement jobs, so you had better do as told or else no promotions for you. We fell so far from an engineering command that our lead Govt person had an unrelated degree and started to mandate rules that could never be carried out. My fix for starters would kill any post retirement jobs with a Govt contractor or subs, and then go back to fixed priced contracts. Good luck Jacque.
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  • Political Appointees - What is their real agenda? Outsourcing?
    Honest Broker
    John Palguta makes some good points especially about the one for listening to the new appointee's goals. In most cases, my command tried to work with the appointee but during the BRACC years we found the alliance broke down because their agenda was to close us down. With sequestration, this may be an opportunity for the appointee to outsource work for his political career or post-govt job so you best determine their agenda during the honeymoon period and be prepared for rough ride if they show bias for a contractor solution.
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