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Paper or plastic and other news

Fed / Contractor Compensation Issues Are Burning Red Hot
Scott Amey – (POGO) – February 3, 2012 – Compensation was a hot topic this week–here’s a recap of the biggest developments:

Monday: The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released a study that found that federal employees, on average, are paid 16 percent more than employees in the private sector with the same education.

Tuesday: The White House blogged that the contractor executive compensation cap of $693,951 should be reduced to a “level on par with what the Government pays its own executives – approximately $200,000.”

Wednesday: The House passed a bill (H.R. 3835) freezing federal salaries through 2013.

Thursday: The Senate proposed a bill to freeze civilian pay through 2014 and cut the civilian workforce.

You might recall that in 2011, the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (H.R. 1540) included a provision that extended the reimbursable compensation cap to all defense contractors (with a large loophole for top-talented scientists and engineers that is ripe for abuse). This might sound good, however the cap is expected to jump to approximately $750,000 (see p. 21) in 2012. Although, one might question that cap because it was based on “commercially available surveys of executive compensation,” which included the “5 most highly compensated employees in management position.” With the new cap applying to defense contractor employees, it seems top-heavy to use the old formula. (Click HERE for article)

13th ESC commander dies of apparent natural causes in Afghanistan
Brigadier General Terence J. Hildner
(Fort Hood Press Center) – FORT HOOD, Texas – February 3, 2012 – Fort Hood officials have released the name of a Soldier who died of apparent natural causes Feb. 3 in Kabul, Afghanistan.

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Flexing Muscle, Baghdad Detains U.S. Contractors

By MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT and ERIC SCHMITT
Published: January 15, 2012

BAGHDAD — Iraqi authorities have detained a few hundred foreign contractors in recent weeks, industry officials say, including many Americans who work for the United States Embassy, in one of the first major signs of the Iraqi government’s asserting its sovereignty after the American troop withdrawal last month.

The detentions have occurred largely at the airport in Baghdad and at checkpoints around the capital after the Iraqi authorities raised questions about the contractors’ documents, including visas, weapons permits and authorizations to drive certain routes. Although no formal charges have been filed, the detentions have lasted from a few hours to nearly three weeks.

The crackdown comes amid other moves by the Iraqi government to take over functions that had been performed by the United States military and to claim areas of the country it had controlled. In the final weeks of the military withdrawal, the son of Iraq’s prime minister began evicting Western companies and contractors from the heavily fortified Green Zone, which had been the heart of the United States military operation for much of the war.

Just after the last American troops left in December, the Iraqis stopped issuing and renewing many weapons licenses and other authorizations. The restrictions created a sequence of events in which contractors were being detained for having expired documents that the government would not renew. Read the remainder of this entry »

The Pentagon’s “revolution” & other news

Debarment Report Shows How Some Agencies Use it Well
Six agencies, including the U.S. Department of Labor, had zero suspension and debarment cases during the past five fiscal years, GAO’s report states.
(Occupational Health & Safety) – November 20, 2011 – The federal government uses a practice named suspension and debarment to exclude firms or individuals from receiving contracts to provide goods or services if they have engaged in certain crimes, such as bribery or tax evasion, or violated certain statutes or regulations. A new Government Accountability Office report says four agencies use the process more effectively than others because they employ full-time staff, have detailed policies and procedures, and encourage an active referral process.

Fortunately, the four doing it right, according to the report, include the General Services Administration, which manages thousands of federal buildings and thus buys a great many contracted goods and services. The other three are the U.S. Navy, the Defense Logistics Agency, and DHS’ Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit, known as ICE. (Click HERE for article)

Senators propose new cap on contractor pay
Charles S. Clark – (GovExec) – November 18, 2011 – As the Senate nears consideration of the Defense authorization bill, three senators have added a new wrinkle to the ongoing debate over the level of contractor executive compensation that should be reimbursed with taxpayer dollars.
 
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