Monday, September 23, 2013

Congress Wants Contractors to Share the Pain - If There's a Government Shutdown

What is becoming a perennial event, the Government shutdown, is back in the news. As we watch the saga play out yet again, we can only guess what the outcome will be. This time, the shutdown threat is linked to funding the Affordable Healthcare Act. What usually happens in these shutdown situations is that Government employees are told to stay home, Congress and the President reach an budget agreement, Government workers come back and get paid for the days they didn't work. This year, there's some talk that Government workers will not be receiving pay for the days not worked. Between shutdowns and sequestrations, we genuinely wonder how the Government can attract and more importantly, retain good workers.

Earlier this month, the House Committee on Appropriations sent a letter to Defense Secretary Hagel expressing its concerns with the a recent review that recommended a 20 percent cut to the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) staff in order to meet funding possible limitations. The main thrust of the letter, though not explicitly so, is that cuts, if any, should not only be made to the civilian workforce but also include contractors who perform services for the department. The memo states:
We believe that the total workforce should be considered, to include the size and cost of contractor workforce.
Additionally, the Committee wants DoD to review whether contractors are performing inherently Government functions. The memo states:
Both the Congress and the Administration have recently identified instances in which contractor personnel are inappropriately performing functions that are inherently governmental and critical. We recommend that the Review consider instances in which contractor personnel in the management headquarters workforce should be reduced because they are illegally performing inherently governmental functions.
Congress is expecting DoD to share the results of its review.

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