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Federal Employees News Digest : June 3, 2013
Phil Piemonte, Managing Editor E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org What's Inside44 JUNE 3, 2013 • VOL. 62, NO. 44 DOD still outsources many government functions, GAO finds The Government Accountability Office has found that the Defense Department continues to improperly contract out work---specifically, "inherently governmen- tal functions"---that by law must be done in-house by federal employees. "This report is very disturbing," John Threlkeld, legislative representative for the American Federation of Government Employees, told FEND. "What's disturbing is this is the third---and final---GAO report required to look into this, and it shows [DOD contractors] are still, in large num- bers, doing governmental functions. It's still business as usual here." DOD is the federal government's most prolific user of private contractors, with contracted services officially totaling $199 billion in fiscal 2011 (the most recent year for which comprehensive figures are avail- able). Contracted services include intelli- gence support, medical, food and building services. A 2008 federal law required DOD to compile and review an annual inventory of contracted services---including the num- bers of contractors and their function. Another law---the 2010 National Defense Authorization Act---required GAO to pro- duce a report for three years describing these service contract inventories. Threlkeld told FEND that earlier reports, including even ones in 2007 and 2008, show that "DOD and DHS both habitually out- source inherently governmental functions without a lot of thought, and they don't subject these contracts to extra surveillance, or consider bringing them back in-house, and they roll these contracts over again and again." "The law, dating from the end of the Bush administration, on this is clear---it says to DOD [that] you need to review your service contracts, and then eliminate contracting out inherently governmental functions; you need to eliminate unauthorized personal service contracts; and you need to review contracting out 'closely related' governmen- tal functions," he said. "What we have learned is that DOD can't even correct instances where they have illegally contracted out inherently govern- mental functions," Threlkeld continued. "Nevermind [whether they are] properly reviewing 'closely associated' functions care- fully. By the way, many of those that can be allowed as 'closely related' functions include preparing budgets, regulations and overseas contracting---things the man on the street would say are inherently governmental." According to the latest GAO report, titled "Continued Management Attention Needed to Enhance Use and Review of DOD's Inventory of Contracted Services," DOD provided components with guidance that included six elements to be considered in contract inventory review, "including the selection criteria and methodologies used to conduct the reviews, the extent to which contractors were found to be performing certain functions, to include inherently gov- ernmental and closely associated with inher- ently governmental, and to the extent neces- sary, a plan to realign performance of such functions to government performance." Chained reaction As a kid on a field trip to our local commercial waterfront area, I saw my first lobster. Very impressive. The teacher said it was a real delicacy (we lived in a boarding house where lobster was seldom---as in never--- on the menu). You need lots of butter, she said. When I asked how they were cooked, she said you put them in a pot of cold water. Then turn up the heat. They were cold, then warm and happy, then ready for the plate. Or you could toss them in a pot of boiling water. They never feel a thing either way, she assured us. It sounded too good to be true. When we moved to an apartment with a stove and icebox (this was a while back) I tried it. Not with a lobster. With myownhand.FirstIputitinapanof cold water and turned up the heat. She was wrong. I did feel it and withdrew my mitt quickly. Then I thought about plunging my hand in boiling water. But that seemed a little over the top. And what if I killed my hand, even if it was painless? Never mind. Which brings us to you. Whether you are retired, ready to retire or have 30 years to go, one of the reasons you are working or worked for Uncle Sam is that the retirement plan is better than almost anything in the private sector. INSIGHT BY MIKE CAUSEY continued on page 2 For more news...see Federal Daily at www.FederalDaily.com • Survey seeks input on USPS 3 • In Brief 4 • Legal Matters 6 • Informed Investor 7 • Federal Benefits Q&A 8 continued on page 3
May 27, 2013
June 10, 2013