Wednesday, April 30, 2008

National Contract Management Association in denial

Contractors are here to stay By Florence Olsen
When presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) declared in 2007 that she would eliminate 500,000 federal contractors if elected president, some policy experts said she couldn't’t do it. One of those experts was Steven Schooner, senior associate dean of academic affairs and associate professor of law at George Washington University.

Whether the federal government relies too much on contractors is an interesting — but irrelevant — philosophical, public policy and moral question, Schooner said in an interview.

Putting aside the merits of Clinton's proposal, the fact that she has made it is evidence that federal contractors in general, and security contractors in particular, have become so unpopular with the public that there are votes to be had by attacking them. When your community has sunk to political whipping boy status, it is time to rethink your approach to the world. Something isn't working.

Schooner's casual and condescending dismissal of Clinton's proposal is a study in hubris. What politicians can do politicians can undo. Clearly the National Contract Management Association thought it was in their interest to not just release Schooner's statement, but promote it.

The National Contract Management Association needs to recognize the public outrage of the documented incidents of contractor misconduct and acknowledge that their might be very good reason for such outrage. Their members might begin with a Google search on their company's name and see what turns up. That first page of results, that is what the online world thinks of you. If you don't like it you need to take action. Patronizing statements from tenured university professors will only make things worse in the present environment.

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