Saturday, March 04, 2006

Halliburtoning the Forest Service

Given Halliburton's track record of malfeasance and mismanagement in Iraq, you'd think the Bush Administration would be done with outsourcing government jobs to the private sector.

Apparently not:

WASHINGTON - Under a draft proposal by the U.S. Forest Service, roughly 21,000 of the agency's jobs would be considered for privatization during the next four years.

If the draft proposal came to pass, critics say hundreds of the 548 Forest Service full-time equivalent employees in Central Oregon could lose their jobs.

But Washington-based Forest Service spokeswoman Heidi Valetkevitch said it is very unlikely that many jobs would be cut.

"Ninety-five percent of all full-time employees that we have studied have stayed in-house," she said.

Members of the National Federation of Federal Employees, a union representing about 20,000 Forest Service workers, said that outsourcing - even if it's only 5 percent of the work force - would be harmful to the agency.

The plan, which has not yet been approved by the Forest Service, stems from a push by the Bush administration to make federal agencies more cost-effective by using competitive sourcing - a process to determine if it is cheaper to hire private contractors than government employees.

"Cheaper" matters to some degree. Everyone wants the government to be as inexpensive as possible.

But "cheapest" shouldn't be the hightest priority. Efficiency and having things properly managed should be.

I honestly can't decide if the Bush Administration is merely incompetent with this stuff or if they're criminally negligent. Either way, they haven't been able to privatize things formerly managed by the government and have those things done well.

Iraq is one example. Hurricane Katrina cleanup malfeasance is another.

Privatizing government isn't working. Or at least these clowns currently running stuff in DC don't know how to make it work.