Gov Career

By Phil Piemonte

Blog archive

And around it goes ...

The position of some members of Congress is that insourcing certain work to federal employees somehow “robs” jobs away from the private sector.

The Obama administration’s overall policy, on the other hand, has been to insource jobs to the federal workforce when those positions perform “inherently governmental functions”—and to take a hard look at work that is contracted out.

The White House so far has gotten its way on insourcing. But the deep federal downsizing advocated by many in the new Congress may have started to cause the winds to shift on that issue.

One indication: A memo released Feb. 1 by Army Secretary John McHugh announcing that he is reserving authority to approve any Army insourcing proposal—and even to suspend already approved insourcing decisions until his people can conduct a full review. A year ago, McHugh told the Senate Armed Services Committee that the Army planned to insource 11,084 positions between fiscal 2011 and 2015.

A moderate Republican who served nine terms in the House, McHugh was ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee when appointed in 2009 by President Obama.

He qualified his decision this way: “In an era of significantly constrained resources, the Army must approach the insourcing of functions currently performed by contract in a well-reasoned, analytically based and systemic manner.”
In other words—take a hard look at work that is insourced.

Politics? Fiscal reality? Which?

Posted by Phil Piemonte on Feb 04, 2011 at 4:02 PM

Reader comments

Tue, Feb 8, 2011

The Last time I took a hard look at outsourcing work in regard to downsizing and a top driven review of work processes I came to one conclusion. If I am responsible to conduct work on a Forest as a Supervisor, I need to operate on sound business principles. The most effective strategy to accomplish the work is to give me my budget and challenge me to make sound decisions on how best to spend the allotted resources. If I have been afforded a budget then I need to work within that budget to accomplish work. I am in essence a CEO of a company. If I don’t have the business skills to make sound judgments on how to accomplish the work the most efficient and effective way then I must rely on my staff for assistance. If I am running a business without the benefit of sound business practices and sound advice then I am in a state of business degradation. I will fail. My conclusion is, the best way to accomplish the work that needs to be done is to have a great CEO with a great staff who knows how to operate under sound business principles. Give me my budget and I will determine the best way to accomplish the work. Unfortunately, in the Forest Service, we know Natural Resources but we sometimes don’t have even the slightest business sense. Sometimes contracting out is the most cost effective, sometimes in house is the best alternative. The details of the issue at hand will determine the best strategy for accomplishing the work. It takes a business mind to run a business. Public service is operating a business using public funds to accomplish needed work.

Tue, Feb 8, 2011 AJW Washington, DC

My 29+ year Fed. Gov. career has identified most govt contractor positions cost an minimum of 50% more then the basic govt position (if doing the same tasking). This additional 50% plus premium covers the corporate overhead,...for the given contractor.

Additionally, it is basically cost prohibitative to get these contractors to travel (domestic or international) as their travel pays them for both premium pay and business class airline seating.

Lastly, since the contract is between the company and employee, the Fed. Govt. workforce has no supervisory control. Thus, we can't task the contractor with anything (even handing me a piece of paper) without drafting a requirements document,...a long and drawn-out process.

Summary: Outsourcing Federal Government positions is EXPENSIVE, INEFFECIENT, and NO CONTROL -- sounds like our Unions!

Tue, Feb 8, 2011 Pat Chicago

The righties have been harping on Government employees for some time now, as though none are repubs. We are citizens, so US citizens hold government jobs. What's the problem except that the righties aren't alive unless harping about something untrue to those who know. Should we work up a kick back pot somehow?

Tue, Feb 8, 2011's my 2 cents. Having been a Contracting Officer Representative for a Temp Labor (Contractors) contract, it is not the way to go. In experience, contract workers cost more $$ than not and, the workers don't get the money - it all goes into the vendor's hands and we get sub-standard employees. Also, with a contracted worker, they can only do "specific" things so, you have to hire 2-3 bodies to do what ONE GOVT employee does because of the way the contract and positions are written in DOL. You see, GOVT workers have to do "other duties as assigned", contract workers are not allowed to because of Dept of Labor (DOL) and contractual requirements. And, want to talk about the hours and hours of management of a labor contract by the GOVT on top of the costs of the contract???

Tue, Feb 8, 2011

insourcing, outsourcing, upsizing, downsizing, rightsizing, I'm getting dizzy.

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