Recently, the Project On Government Oversight (POGO) perused a few contractor job listings for congressional affairs specialists and budgetary analysts.
Reviewing the job descriptions, POGO was alarmed at the extent to which the jobs included tasks that are borderline illegal to contract out.
It’s no secret that the government relies on contractors to perform different tasks, and there is generally no problem with that given that the private sector has a vast amount of highly skilled workers. However, there are federal activities that, by law, must be performed by government employees, including determining agency policy, budget request priorities, and what supplies or services are to be acquired. Drafting congressional testimony or responses to congressional correspondence is also off limits to contractors.
One job announcement was so blatant that it even stated that a legislative affairs specialist would support the United States Cyber Command “With minimal guidance”’ or “With no guidance” to prepare background papers and talking points, and prepare leadership to testify before Congress, meet with Members of Congress, and meet with pertinent Congressional Committee Staff Members.
The government has become overreliant on contractors, and POGO is concerned about the blurred line between jobs that must be performed by a government employee and those that can be performed by a contractor. Jobs that must be performed by government employees are called “inherently governmental functions,” a term that generates much confusion and controversy. A 2014 Congressional Research Service report illustrates how multiple definitions of “inherently governmental” have been created over the years. The result is differences in controlling laws, regulations, White House policy and policy letters, which POGO has urged the government to clean up.
Keep reading this article at: https://www.pogo.org/analysis/2016/08/to-be-or-not-to-be-contracted-out/