Shadow system ethics

by reader ilsm

GAO is describing personal services in this quote “”Contractors are generally not subject to the same ethics rules as government employees even when they are collocated and work side by side with federal employees and perform similar functions.” From GAO 08-572T Testimony pg 11.

The following is cut from Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) 37 Service Contracting: Part 37.104 Personal Services Contracts:

“Obtaining personal services by contract, rather than by direct hire, circumvents those laws unless Congress has specifically authorized acquisition of the services by contract.”
(b) “Agencies shall not award personal services contracts unless specifically authorized by statute (e.g., 5 U.S.C.3109) to do so. That code states that any use of advisory services beyond a year requires approval by congress.
(d) “The following descriptive elements should be used as a guide in assessing whether or not a proposed contract is personal in nature”:
(1) “Performance on site”.
(2) “Principal tools and equipment furnished by the Government”.
(3)’ Services are applied directly to the integral effort of agencies or an organizational subpart in furtherance of assigned function or mission.”
(4)”Comparable services, meeting comparable needs, are performed in the same or similar agencies using civil service personnel.”
(5) “The need for the type of service provided can reasonably be expected to last beyond 1 year.”
(6) “The inherent nature of the service, or the manner in which it is provided, reasonably requires directly or indirectly, Government direction or supervision of contractor employees in order to—
(i) “Adequately protect the Government’s interest”;
(ii) “Retain control of the function involved; or”
(iii) “Retain full personal responsibility for the function supported in a duly authorized Federal officer or employee.”

Support contractors do technical work which constitutes personal services. The shadow government exists and violates law and rule. But who wants all us “old lady in tennis shoes” civil servants who can get away saying the “emperor has no clothes” even if we must survive the whistleblower retaliation.
When I retired from civil service I was an A&AS contractor for several years until I finally could not look the pay master in the eye. In the several positions I held I did personal services, as did all the others in the several commands I supported.
What has occurred since the Cold War is the government manpower drawdown has been superficial and the work has been shifted to contractors. This is reflected in the high cost of the much smaller military.

The shift has been hidden and at least in the areas GAO reports no competitive sourcing analysis has been done.
This one by ilsm