Wednesday, February 4, 2015


Hi Ladies!

From my comments, I can see that I'm being dumb, assuming everyone knows what "inside-the-beltway" contracting means.

Once upon a time, the federal workforce was huge.  People stayed forever and knew their job because you could move up, retire young, and be happy or find another job, knowing you'll have health care and a pension for life.

Then President Ronnie came in and said "the federal government is too big" and started the get rid of the hated fed movement.  So he axed a lot of government workers.

Except the work remained.  So they ramped up the number of private contractors needed to do the work.  Typical contracts were five years, and workers had to be hired by the contractors to do the work.  And they didn't have the corporate experience that the fed workers had, so they had to learn.

And now the government needed more people to write, review, process contracts.  And now the contractors needed more teams to respond and bid to contracts ~ which was added to the price of the contract.  And contractors usually made more than government workers so they charged more, plus, of course, a profit for the contracting agency.

So instead of hiring a team of, say, 20 people to man a project, the government had to hire a company to supply 20 workers.  And a program manager, to interface with the workers.  And a couple of govvies to oversee the project.  And they had to pay a premium for the 20 people, who had to learn the system they were upgrading/running/producing.

Not bad for us contractors; not great for the rest of the taxpayers.

But recently, contracts are "three years" which means one year, plus two "option" years.  So the contracting company may only be there a year before it's rebid.  What it practically means is, there's no stability and no product knowledge.

Our contract was up last week.  The government chose to not rebid it, which is strange because the product is congressionally mandated.

So I (and 30+ officemates) need to look.  My company helps, some.

Life is always interesting, isn't it?


  1. Meg -

    The ONLY benefits that the government gets from using contractors (and this applies to private industry too) is that the contracts can be terminated "quickly" with a new firm/workers coming in to replace an under performing firm/workers, and the government need not worry about worker benefits on their books.

    The big problem - the loss in institutional knowledge coupled with the extra expense of hiring the contracting firms. There is no real savings. If I recall correctly, two thirds of real government employment has been transferred to contract work - and we'd save money if we were to bring that work back in-house. Of course, politics won't let that happen.

    Good luck looking for work.


  2. As an "Outside the Beltway" govvie researcher (yes we still exist someone has to develop new ideas). I know perfectly where you're coming from. That said, have you considered USAJobs? We do have IT professionals, particularly sys admins with real life experience, that are fed's.

    Either way, good luck with the search.


  3. Meg,
    Well put. I guess that is one way to "create jobs".
    Expecting the best for you and your "30+ officemates"!


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