"Government oversight" privatizedTweet
October 1, 2004Two posts back, we highlighted the breakdown of contract oversight amidst increased government contracting, often without competition. The post was ended by noting that even oversight functions are being contracted out. Today�s LA Times covers a development in the outsourcing of government oversight which Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) has called �ominous.� The General Services Administration turned over control of the Federal Procurement Data System, a database that tracks federal spending, to Global Computer Enterprises. POGO flagged the fact that the first GSA report done by Global is 8 pages long; the report done in-house by GSA last year was 192 pages. (Since POGO noted the difference, GSA has posted a longer, more detailed report.) This is strong evidence that transparency may be decreasing under this privatized system. David A. Drabkin, the GSA's deputy chief acquisition officer, attempts to explain this discrepancy in the LA Times article:
Drabkin said the report, compiled during the transition year, was truncated because the number of federal employees maintaining data had been reduced from 15 to three as Global began to take over.But it seems that the gutting of GSA was cause for the outsourcing to Global in the first place:
Steven L. Schooner, a former federal procurement official who teaches procurement law at George Washington University, said the government had cut so many federal acquisition positions that it had been forced to hire a private firm to do the work of government employees.So by gutting in-house governmental operations to save money, we then spend possibly more money on private contractors for a job that should be inherently governmental?
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The Congressional Management Foundation offers the Gold Mouse Awards annually to members of Congress who make the most of the opportunity the digital world offers them. POGO spoke with members of Rep. Mike Honda's communications team about their award.