Scope and Savings Have Not Met Goals
By Christopher Lee
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, April 25, 2008; Page A01
Joseph Wassmann thought he had a secure position producing videos for the U.S. Military Academy, but not long ago he found his job on the line because of a Bush administration plan to inject more efficiency into the federal bureaucracy.
Wassmann, 40, was among a group of information management employees at West Point who had to prove that they could do their jobs better and more cheaply than a private contractor. If they could not, they were told, the work would be outsourced. It was all part of President Bush's government-wide plan to reduce costs by inviting contractors to bid on about 425,000 federal jobs that could be considered "commercial" in nature.
The West Point competition dragged on for more than two years. In the end, Wassmann and most of his co-workers won, but only by agreeing to downsize from 119 employees to 88. And the mood has never been worse, he said.
"Tensions are at an all-time high," he said. "We have to cut ourselves to the bone to win these bids. . . . And morale is just destroyed afterward."