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US Gov't Pays IT Contractors Twice As Much As Its Own IT Workers 382

Posted by Soulskill
from the on-the-inside-looking-out dept.
bdcny7927 writes "The U.S. federal government pays outside IT contractors nearly twice as much for computer engineering services as it pays its own computer engineers, and 1.5 times more for IT management work, according to a non-profit watchdog group. 'The study points out that IT specifically "is widely outsourced throughout the federal government because of the assumption that IT companies provide vastly superior skills and cost savings." The Project on Government Oversight says its salary comparisons prove that those cost savings are not being realized. However, the comparisons do not address any cost savings that might be achieved through the skills, processes or systems that private IT services companies might deliver. The POGO researchers say that the federal government itself does not know how much money overall it saves or wastes with its sourcing decisions and has no system for doing so.'"
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US Gov't Pays IT Contractors Twice As Much As Its Own IT Workers

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  • by WrongSizeGlass (838941) on Friday September 23, 2011 @02:27PM (#37494558)
    Being able to point the finger of blame at an outside source has significant value.
    • Being able to point the finger of blame at an outside source has significant value.

      And this is the primary motivation behind employing contractors in many places.
      A slightly different rationale applies to taking on consultants. Their job is to figure out what you want to do, and then provide "outside expert opinion" that this is, in fact, the best strategy. They take the blame like contractors, but pocket the money anyway.

    • There is the fact you can politically blame them value.
      There is the fact that they can dropped at any particular time value.
      There is the fact that they don't need to pay for benefits value.
      There is the fact they can be pushed to part time value.
      There is the fact that they will keep your full time staff honest value.

    • by lucm (889690)

      aka "outsourcing risk", which is a no-brainer especially in heavily unionized organizations

    • by Larryish (1215510)

      Federal Government: The left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing.

      News at 11.

    • You could argue that the public sector workers are accepting less pay in return for a more steady, in fact nearly guaranteed even in the long term, paycheck.

      I also find it confusing: "[IT is] widely outsourced throughout the federal government because of the assumption that IT companies provide vastly superior skills and cost savings." Then they present their findings that contractors are paid more than public sector workers, then we get "However, the comparisons do not address any cost savings that might

      • by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland.yahoo@com> on Friday September 23, 2011 @04:22PM (#37495876) Homepage Journal

        I am a government employee. A software developer. I have been for 6 years, and I was private sectors for a couple of decades prior.

        I have been on both sides of this specific issue

        The best IT staff I have worked with is the government employees. The most mediocre and bad were private sector. I suspect it has to do with it being easier to get a private sector job.

        The software built in house lasts, ans lasts, and lasts. Out sourced work always runs longer and over, always has issues, and never is really going until years after the 'final roll out'.

        I get calls pretty regularly from people in the private sector offering me jobs. Not interviews, actually over the phone jobs. Usually someone who knows me from my past gets into management and they look me up. I could make 50% more.

        I don't take the because I value time, a lot. I work hard for 40 hours, done in 4 10's. Then I go home. If they need me, I get OT or comp time. I spend a lot of time with my family. I have friends making 100-140K, but 80-100 hour weeks. I did that for years, and what for? making some one else rich.

        This "inefficient and lazy government worker" statements have been disproven time, and time again.

  • Luckily... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday September 23, 2011 @02:29PM (#37494570) Journal
    Conveniently, we have plenty of shrill talking heads telling us that the private sector is always more efficient. That should be a viable substitute for so called "empirical evidence".
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Not the private sector. Government contracting is steeped in politics.

      • It is, but as a contractor you are able to break a lot of politics.

        For one you are not part of the Bureaucratic System. So you can go talk to whatever level you need too, vs going up the chain. Secondly you are hired for performance, you can make those little mistakes that could hurt a full time employee.

        • by idontgno (624372)

          Not in all cases. Your contract may attach you to a specific spot in the org chart. You'll still be serving a particular bureaucratic master. You'll have to honor his ulterior motives and unstated plans, carry his water and fight his battles, or you'll discover you're more expendable than a "civil servant" with tenure and some collective bargaining leverage.

          This is particularly the case of contractors hired by OMB Circular A-76 provisions, which are often executed as headcount-by-headcount replacement of sa

    • by Baloroth (2370816)

      More efficient != cheaper. In fact, it is usually the opposite. Car analogy: more fuel efficient cars are (usually) more expensive. More power efficient computers: more expensive. Better workers: more expensive. It may well be they pay twice as much for a contractor, who performs twice as much work as an inhouse employee.

      Or it might not. However, being supplied with one small piece of information doesn't give the whole picture or determine whether private or public sector employees are more efficient. Coul

    • Conveniently, we have plenty of shrill talking heads telling us that the private sector is always more efficient.

      That is the biggest lie I saw perpetrated in government contracting. That the private sector could always do a job cheaper. Big, fat lie in most cases. What it did do is keep the number of government workers artificially low while lining the pockets of campaign contributors running the outsource contractors (I'm looking at you CACI).

      The occasional benefit to contractors was that getting ri

    • Conveniently, we have plenty of shrill talking heads telling us that the private sector is always more efficient. That should be a viable substitute for so called "empirical evidence".

      Not really. The article admits that skill levels are not factored into the comparison. The article mentions that the outside contractors may possess superior skill levels and be better trained and that there may be savings related to having more capable people running and implementing a project. I'm not claiming this is necessarily the case, I'm just saying the it is premature to make claims as to whether money is being well spent or wasted. I know some very highly skilled people who work in a government IT

  • I know a foreign government that does the same, if it makes you Americans feel any better...

  • Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ccguy (1116865) on Friday September 23, 2011 @02:30PM (#37494592) Homepage
    People having life time jobs make less than people willing to work on a day-by-day basis, with twice the hours, triple the productivity, working in any location the job requires? Really?

    I hope this is the first of a series of articles called 'real life eye openers'. To be distributed among public workers worldwide.
    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@gmail.cCOBOLom minus language> on Friday September 23, 2011 @02:40PM (#37494724) Journal

      Do you have any first-hand experience with this? Because I do, and in my experience the contractors are pampered telecommuters who only physically pop in a few times per week.

      In fact we had a big issue a few years back where we had to replace a bunch of contractors with full-time government workers because they are that much more expensive and an accountability nightmare.

      And since I've already stated where I work, I was one of the people who replaced a contractor. I take in somewhere between a third and a half of what the contractor did and you bet your ass I get more done as a full-time employee, even on just the 1 or 2 duties that the contractor had vs. the many more I also have now.

      • by ccguy (1116865)

        Do you have any first-hand experience with this?

        Plenty. In Spain, but I think it's safe to consider this a rather general thing.
        And to be honest, with the amount of public workers around here (3 million, total population around 45), there just shouldn't be any contractors, well paid or not.

        • with the amount of public workers around here (3 million, total population around 45), there just shouldn't be any contractors, well paid or not.

          Quantity != quality.

      • an accountability nightmare.

        Honestly I feel like this is as much a problem as anything else. In my experience, contractors sort of lack "buy in". They have no skin in the game, so to speak. It's a little too easy for them to walk away without having really fixed your problem, and if anything it often ends up being in their interest to do a crappy job, because then you have to pay them to come back and fix everything that broke.

    • Re:Really? (Score:5, Informative)

      by segfaultcoredump (226031) on Friday September 23, 2011 @02:49PM (#37494876)

      Sorry, I've worked both sides of this fence, and you should have stopped before you even typed the first word.

      The contractors for the fed/military/etc do not work day to day, twice the hours or have triple the productivity.

      They are given year+ long contracts, work the same hours, and have the same or less productivity. The perms face the exact same thing, their entire division can be wiped away with the stroke of a budgeting pen.

      We are not talking about day labors here, all federal contracts are long and well defined. While your project may get canceled with the next _YEARLY_ budget, the odds of it suddenly going under are next to 0.

      As a fed contractor, I never put in more than 40 hours a week. That is what we had in the budget, and to do more than that would have resulted in issues. The "cost+" contracts that would let me work 80 hour weeks and have the contracting agency get paid for it are few and far in between. Most are fixed at the rates and the number of hours, it does them no good to have you work more than your scheduled rate.

      The productivity thing is pure bullshit. I've seen incompetent admins on both sides, but most are on the contracting side because the contracting firm wants to keep a larger % of the cut to themselves, and thus toss inexperienced newbies into the slot in the hopes that nobody will notice. The real kicker is that as a contractor you have an incentive to not really fix things, but to just patch them. After all, why fix something once and for all when your job depends on the customer needing to have you around to constantly fix something?

      • by iceperson (582205)
        You seem to be confused, a 1 year contract for Lockheed, Northrup, etc... isn't a 1 year contract for the employee. The company the contractor works for can replace them any time they want without cause. Oh, and let's not forget the 4 weeks paid VACA and other benefits gov't employees get that contractors don't.

        Disclaimer: I'm a government contractor who's salaried and I'm expected however many hours a week it takes to get my job done without overtime pay. Sometimes that's less than 40, but my average is
      • by leenks (906881)

        I too have worked both sides of the fence. As a contractor I feel more obliged to do things properly, and I am rewarded by being respected on the team I'm on and being one of the "go to" people for the rest of the team. On top of that, by doing things properly I'm keeping myself on my toes and improving my skills. What is the point in muddling through and just bodging everything? I'd go insane if I worked like that...
         

        • Having worked in education, dot.com startups (during the boom and bust years), federal (DoD) and now Local government, I have found that the desire to "do things properly'"is not a trait of the type of job (contract, perm, etc), it is a trait of the individual.

    • People having life time jobs make less than people willing to work on a day-by-day basis, with twice the hours, triple the productivity, working in any location the job requires? Really?

      You have no idea what you're talking about. None. Permanent federal and state employees invariably work harder, and produce more, for less money, than contractors brought in from a consulting firm whose CEO happens to be some senator's brother-in-law.

    • by hrvatska (790627)

      People having life time jobs make less than people willing to work on a day-by-day basis, with twice the hours, triple the productivity, working in any location the job requires? Really?

      Having spent some years working on federal contracts, I can't say that I've noticed a real difference between government programmers and contractors in terms of productivity per hour and quality of work. I used to put in more hours than the government employees, but after a certain number of hours your productivity and quality falls off. Fifty percent more hours does not equal fifty percent more productivity. Sometimes it just means more bugs that get caught in test or corrections after the code reviews ar

    • I think someone needs an eye opener in regards to contractors and how much work they actually do.
  • Any surprise? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by papasui (567265) on Friday September 23, 2011 @02:31PM (#37494600) Homepage
    Temporary workers always make more money per hour than those doing it full time, its the trade off for the convience of having an on demand workforce. It's also very misleading to go strictly off per hour wage when your not including the total compansation package into the mix. Full-time employees will get PTO, insurance, 401k/pensions, etc. That isn't a small chunk of change.
    • Re:Any surprise? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by narcolepticjim (310789) on Friday September 23, 2011 @02:41PM (#37494752)

      The workers are often full-time employees of the contractor (e.g., General Dynamics IT). They get benefits along with their salary.

      • by shmlco (594907)

        If they are in the employ of the contractor (General Dynamics IT), then even though the government might be paying them twice as much per hour, they're not getting paid twice as much per hour since General Dynamics IT is pocketing a significant percentage of the money.

        In short, they could well be "paid" the same amount, or even less.

        • I *think* the rule is the contractor can take 10% of your rate, the subcontractor can do the same, and the rest must go to your salary and benefits.

    • Re:Any surprise? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Friday September 23, 2011 @02:51PM (#37494894)

      Actually they factored in the extra 40% cost of benefits on top of the government employees salaries and the private contractors were still 1.5-2 times more expensive. The people doing this study weren't so dumb as to not factor that in:

      Because the contractor billing rates published by GSA include not only salaries but also other costs including benefits contractors provide their employees,[66] POGO added OPM’s 36.25 percent benefit rate to federal employee salaries[67] and BLS’s 33.5 percent loading to private sector employee salaries to reflect the full fringe benefit package paid to full-time employees in service-providing organizations that employ 500 or more workers.[68] All supporting data for this study are found in Table 1 and Appendices B through D.[69]

  • by Enry (630) <enry@wayga.FORTRANnet minus language> on Friday September 23, 2011 @02:31PM (#37494602) Journal

    That actually isn't that bad, given that the cost of an employee is way more than what their salary is (sick time, vacation time, health insurance, retirement, other benefits, etc.) all add up.

    I'd be more concerned if it was 5-6x as much. 2x is a relative steal.

    At the same time, if the feds only need someone for a few months for a specific project, it's a lot cheaper to bring in a consultant for the time needed than hire someone and have them working for you way too long.

    • 2X is normal. If you are providing the office they work out of, and all equipment, it might go down a little, but paying 2X for outside consultants actually ends up about breaking even.

      Now, if you are hiring an entire department of them, it might work out differently.

    • Also I'm not sure how they compare the two unless it was by title only which may not be the best comparison. One friend of mine was working as a contractor with a government DBA. My friend wouldn't call himself a DBA but has extensive experience working with databases even on the administration side. Designing a new table, my friend could not convince the DBA to use an integer key for state. Instead the DBA was going to use text and index that instead. The reason: The DBA didn't want to write the join
    • by Antisyzygy (1495469) on Friday September 23, 2011 @03:19PM (#37495230)
      Pretty sure they factored that it and still found them to be more expensive.

      Actually they factored in the extra 40% cost of benefits on top of the government employees salaries and the private contractors were still 1.5-2 times more expensive. The people doing this study weren't so dumb as to not factor that in: Because the contractor billing rates published by GSA include not only salaries but also other costs including benefits contractors provide their employees,[66] POGO added OPM’s 36.25 percent benefit rate to federal employee salaries[67] and BLS’s 33.5 percent loading to private sector employee salaries to reflect the full fringe benefit package paid to full-time employees in service-providing organizations that employ 500 or more workers.[68] All supporting data for this study are found in Table 1 and Appendices B through D.[69]

      That was posted by Lunix Nutcase above.

    • ...in the study. I work in government IT, and figuring the cost of benefits is standard procedure when we're working up a budget, and trivially simple. Here's a link to the actual study [pogo.org]

      You're right about bringing in consultants for short-term projects, of course it makes more sense than hiring.
    • by Whorhay (1319089)

      As someone who went from being a contractor to a civil servant, in a workplace with about a 50:50 mix with 400+ workers I think I can speak to this.

      The first year I worked as a contractor I had in my possession a piece of paper I was undoubtedly not supposed to have. It listed all the pertinent details of the contract slot including the $ amount the government was paying for it, $154K. My salary was under 40% of that. Now in this job everything was furnished by the government including equipment and workspa

  • Worth every penny (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GlobalEcho (26240) on Friday September 23, 2011 @02:32PM (#37494610)

    I am guessing that in about half these cases, at the individual level, the contractors are former government employees who weren't getting paid their fair market value by the public sector. Given that a good IT worker is worth about 5 times a medioce one and 20 times a bad one, they're probably a much better value, on average, than those "left behind". Consulting budgets and the like also let huge bureaucracies get necessary work done that is internally impossible because it is "not in the budget".

    The other half these cases, I am also guessing, will prove to be unnecessary wastes of money even worse than typical government IT initiatives.

    • A story on this point:

      A friend of mine consults for DC public schools. Yes he does make quite a bit but it isn't actually a story about him, he at least delivers for his money.

      So they want him to write a bigass database processing script. It will get fed data from a bunch of sources, including a web interface for users, and have to process it and store it in a Quickbase (Intuit's online database service). No problem, this is what he does best. So they've laid out for him what they require, he lays out for t

  • by Tolkien (664315) on Friday September 23, 2011 @02:32PM (#37494612) Journal
    I don't make as much as a Highly Paid Consultant, either, but fuck off! This should be considered normal. Do you think the zillions of perks you get as an employee for the government (health insurance, unions, more holiday time, guaranteed pay raises) are free?
    • by Hatta (162192) on Friday September 23, 2011 @02:40PM (#37494728) Journal

      POGO's report [pogo.org] is freely available on the web. If you actually look at their methodology, you'll see that they included benefits.

      Because the contractor billing rates published by GSA include not only salaries but also other costs including benefits contractors provide their employees,[66] POGO added OPMâ(TM)s 36.25 percent benefit rate to federal employee salaries[67] and BLSâ(TM)s 33.5 percent loading to private sector employee salaries to reflect the full fringe benefit package paid to full-time employees in service-providing organizations that employ 500 or more workers

    • Your tax dollars at work baby!

  • by Sooner Boomer (96864) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <rmoob.renoos>> on Friday September 23, 2011 @02:34PM (#37494634) Journal

    ...and I work for a state govt. I have to cover all my insurance costs, all the SS and other mandatory deductions, plus vacation and other paid time off. Some states are trying to mandate paid vacations and health insurance - even for baby sitters. This raises the costs considerably. PLUS - we are actually accountable: if we don't perform up to spec, we can lose money. A govt employee, esp. a federal employee has (in essence) a sinecure.

    • And before some people claim BS on some of this there was a recent dust-up here in Minnesota over our current governor's executive order to allow in home private daycare workers to unionize [publicradio.org]. Now granted this won't exactly be a state mandate for benefits and other things it is a possible mandate for all daycare workers to be part of a union. I say possible as the executive order hasn't been issued and no one know what is in it so it may just republicans making hay.
      • Im not sure why it should ever be illegal or legally discouraged to unionize. Seems like a violation of your rights.
    • by cayenne8 (626475)

      I have to cover all my insurance costs, all the SS and other mandatory deductions, plus vacation and other paid time off.

      Well, you *did* take under consideration these payments (vacation, sick time, insurance) when you negotiated your bill rate, right?

      Also, I hope you incorporated yourself, and did something like a "S" corp, which will allow you to save money on the SS and medicare....so that you don't have to pay those taxes on everything your company bills for and brings in....???

  • by CapnStank (1283176) on Friday September 23, 2011 @02:35PM (#37494646) Homepage
    Cost to run in-house IT/etc.:
    - Personel wage
    - Facilities
    - Administrative costs
    - Training
    - + others

    Cost to pay contractors:
    - Wage/Contract cost

    Typically they're similar or the contract will come in lower. Wage is not the only variable in the entire equation
    • by RandCraw (1047302)

      Lower cost? That's the very point that the OA disputes.

      In fact, contractors who work on-site (as most do for the gov't), incur the same costs as gov't in-house staff do for facilities, admin costs, training, etc. In practice, the only savings due to outsourcing are health care and retirement, and outside of the military, these account for nowhere near 50% of an in-house gov't staff salary.

      This fallacy is exactly what the gov't concluded in the OA.

      I've worked as a contractor for several gov't customers. A

  • I know lots of people in federal IT contracting. NOBODY makes that kind of money. I call B.S. on this whole article.

    And the gov't employees make more, work less, and walk away with a pension.
    • by Morty (32057) on Friday September 23, 2011 @02:47PM (#37494836) Journal

      It's not about what the people make, it's about what the people cost. Remember that when the government hires a contractor, there is usually a contracting company. The company gets a lot more money per employee than the employee sees. Some of that is fair per-employee costs such as payroll taxes and employer-funded health care. Some of that is overhead -- the company's HR, payroll, accounting, contract offices, and profits come out of charging more per-employee.

    • I know lots of people in federal IT contracting. NOBODY makes that kind of money. I call B.S. on this whole article.

      You just don't know the right people. When I was working on a government contract, I was billed at $220/hr. Of course, I only got a fraction of that in salary. But still to the point, there are contractors and contracting companies billing the government at rates that would get them to $268,000/yr.

  • You can't just compare a consultants rate to an employees salary. The government is paying for the employee's health care, pension, etc. As an independent consultant I have to pay for all that out of my rate. Additionally I have to carry Errors & Omissions Insurance, General Liability, Workman's Comp and several other things that are just the cost of doing business. A one-to-one comparison is very misleading.
    • Yes, you can't which is why they factored in benefits and everything else into the salaries they quote for government workers.

      Because the contractor billing rates published by GSA include not only salaries but also other costs including benefits contractors provide their employees,[66] POGO added OPM’s 36.25 percent benefit rate to federal employee salaries[67] and BLS’s 33.5 percent loading to private sector employee salaries to reflect the full fringe benefit package paid to full-time employees in service-providing organizations that employ 500 or more workers.[68] All supporting data for this study are found in Table 1 and Appendices B through D.[69]

      You aren't being as clever as you think you are.

  • private corporations routinely pay IT contractors more than their own IT workers for the privilege of
    being able to quickly hire and fire anyone they like without the cumbersome and frustrating effort of dealing with health, dental and life insurance as well as 401k and training/certification benefits. Thats right, the art of oursourcing is also a clever means of engineering around your inherent value as a human being. Much the same as "benefits" are a delightful means of ensuring corporations never pay t
  • ... that the gov't could commission a study to nail this figure down.

    The POGO researchers say that the federal government itself does not know how much money overall it saves or wastes with its sourcing decisions and has no system for doing so.

    Any private IT consultants willing to take this task on for a truckload of cash?

  • Actually it was at least initially part of the smaller government initiative back in the 90's. All the IT folks had to be contractors. No government IT folks. Our first couple of contracts were so badly written that servers didn't get updated. If a server broke, the government paid to replace it. But if it got old, the contractor pays for a replacement. So as long as we could keep it going, it wouldn't cost the contractor anything.

    [John]

  • The article seems to be changing terms. At first it talks about total compensation, which to some degree might be comparable. If the total compensation of a contractor is significantly greater than the total compensation of the fully funded employee, then that might be a problem. However later in the article it talks of pay of the contractor, pay of the federal employee, and salary of the private sector. This of course is silly. The cost of an employee is far greater than the salary. There is pension,
    • Because the contractor billing rates published by GSA include not only salaries but also other costs including benefits contractors provide their employees,[66] POGO added OPM’s 36.25 percent benefit rate to federal employee salaries[67] and BLS’s 33.5 percent loading to private sector employee salaries to reflect the full fringe benefit package paid to full-time employees in service-providing organizations that employ 500 or more workers.[68] All supporting data for this study are found in Table 1 and Appendices B through D.[69]

      Straight from the study where they outline their methodology. So even with a 36.25% benefit rate added to their salaries these contractors were still nearly 2 times more expensive.

  • Let me try spinning this

    GOVERNMENT IT WORKERS PAID LESS THAN SAME WORKERS IN PRIVATE SECTOR
    Obama claims government tightening belt
    PRIVATE SECTOR CONTRACTORS BILKING THE US
    Senate hearings commence in two weeks
    GOVERNMENT UNIONS KEEPING COSTS DOWN
    Union leaders praised for austerity
    GOVERNMENT UNION WORKERS FORCED TO WORK FOR LESS THAN PRIVATE SECTOR
    Bill O'Reily attacks unions for not protecting worker's rights

    Here's what I think the 'real' spin should be:
    WORKERS AT DIFFERENT COMPANIES PAID DIFFERENTLY
    Film at el

  • In the information technology category, POGO found that the federal government is paying contractors to provide computer engineers an average of $268,653 per year. That's nearly twice the average $136,456 it pays its own computer engineers and nearly twice the average private sector salary of $131,415.

    $268k is the combined invoice for the employee; $136k is the actual compensation of the GS14 or GS15 in question. Government contractor employees, unlike government employees, often work unpaid overtime for th

  • I'm surprised it's only a factor of 2.

    This has been a racket perpetrated since at least the Reagan administration, if not the beginning of time. Politicians make a big noise about how they are cutting government spending and gaining the efficiencies of the private market, by replacing civil servants with contractors. The contractors are much more expensive, which makes the companies hiring them a lot of money, some of which they use to lobby the politicians for more outsourcing. Politicians get campaign con

  • i suspect the same set of concerns applies to a lot of outsourced commercial IT.

    But there's a lot of contracting overhead between the agency and the actual guy/gal doing the work. Add to that the substantial overhead costs for compliance to all the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FARs). Within the Government, there are major problems attracting -and retaining- talent; the Government trains them and if they're good, they go get much better paying/much better working conditions jobs in industry. The truly

  • I wonder if the salary comparisons were all in costs of the federal employee - which I doubt because then you're at at a GS11/12 step 5 or so position for the quoted numbers, assuming a 1.5x salary multiplier to account for benefits. A 14 step 9 in DC already makes 133K per the salary table - so an all in cost would be around 200K minimum.

    What contractors bring is the ability to change the staffing levels quickly. Unlike federal employees, who after a year, are very hard to let go; a contractor can be ter

  • We don't have to pay for contractors' insurance and benefits (and probably neither do the contractors, who might farm out some work to their own contractors). At this rate, whether public or private, the retirement plans for *actual* workers look more and more like the Soylent Green screen play. Or maybe Mad Max.
  • In other news, that steak dinner that cost me 20 bucks at a restaurant could have been made at home for a Lincoln.

  • Is that SALARY or TOTAL COST?

    I bet they're comparing contractor total cost to government employee salary.

    Oh, look, there it is:

    To make its cost comparisons, POGO used the General Services Administration's listed contractor billing rates alongside data from the Office of Personnel Management and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The researchers point out that its government salary data does not incorporate overhead costs—management and administration, supplies, facilities—that private outsourcing f

  • I have spent some time working on government contracts where I was one of many contractors sitting at the client location full time. Part of the reason that particular agency used contractors was because their HR process was very difficult to deal with. It was very hard to hire new full time employees and it was almost impossible to fire anyone. The director knew he was paying more for the contractors, but he also knew he could quickly alter his workforce if his budget changed.

    As far as costs go, the full

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