Q & A With Daphne Greenwood: How Outsourcing Can Harm Communities

Egregious examples of government contractors fleecing the public abound. But how does the outsourcing of government functions to contractors and the erosion of the public sector affect society?

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Public Accountability in Public-Private Partnerships

The nonprofit group In The Public Interest (ITPI) released a white paper last week outlining what state and local governments should do when considering using public-private partnerships for infrastructure projects like roads. For anyone interested in maintaining democratic control of public structures as well as getting a good deal for the public, ITPI’s paper is a great starting point for designing and modifying laws and policies to achieve those goals.

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Long Overdue: Obama to Raise Minimum Wage for Federal Contractor Employees

In advance of his State of the Union speech tonight, the White House announced President Barack Obama will sign an executive order – which does not require congressional approval – to raise the wage floor to $10.10 for the lowest paid workers at companies that work on new federal government contracts.

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Corners Cut in Outsourced Background Checks: A Case for the Public Sector

Yesterday, the Justice Department alleged in a court document that a government contractor that conducts background security investigations for the U.S. government committed fraud for more than four years on more than 650,000 investigations for personnel seeking clearance to access secret classified government information. The company, U.S. Investigations Services (USIS), has been accused of knowingly billing the government for about 40 percent of investigations it conducted during that period despite cutting corners, called “dumping” by the company.

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Senate Bill Lowers Contractor Compensation Cap Nearly $300K

A Senate bill would reset the maximum amount taxpayers pay government contractors for their employees’ compensation back to its original level, adjusted for inflation, and would change the formula for determining future increases in this level. This is commonly referred within government and contracting circles as the contractor compensation cap.

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GAO: Lower Contractor Compensation Caps Would Save Hundreds of Millions

Hundreds of millions of dollars per year could be saved if Congress lowers the maximum amount the government reimburses contractors for their employees’ compensation, according to a new report released yesterday by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), Congress’ investigative arm.

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White House At Odds With House on Weapons Cancellations

It's an old battle: executive branch expertise on how it thinks taxpayer dollars should be spent versus the congressional power of the purse. This story plays out often in the yearly authorization and appropriations bills for the Department of Defense (DOD). This year is not any different as a White House statement from yesterday makes clear.

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GAO Reports Defense Department Barely Moving toward a Comprehensive Service Contracts Database

Earlier in April, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released the second in a series of new, congressionally mandated reports assessing the Department of Defense’s (DOD) efforts to compile an inventory of service contracts. Congress intends for the Pentagon to include these reviews in its yearly budget work and expects “inherently governmental work” currently performed by private contractors to be brought back “in-house.” This review process will help the Pentagon find ways to reduce costs and limit the over-reliance on contractors.

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New CAP Papers Offer Contracting Reform Recommendations

The Center for American Progress (CAP) has released a series of three new papers on how the federal government can improve contracting through selective insourcing, better auditing, and increased transparency. Each paper contains specific recommendations that would help improve how Uncle Sam doles out contracting dollars and the return Americans could see on that spending.

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Study Shows Private Contractors Usually Cost More than Public Employees

Conventional wisdom in Washington dictates that the private sector can always provide services at a lower cost than the federal government. A new study from the Project On Government Oversight (POGO), however, turns conventional wisdom on its head, demonstrating that the government rarely reaps the purported benefits of lower costs through the outsourcing of service work. In fact, POGO found that, on average, the government pays service contractors more than 1.8 times the amount it pays federal employees with the same education, doing the same job and performing similar tasks.

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