Federal Manager's Daily Report

The American Federation of Government Employees is launching a series of television ads aimed at curbing the contracting out of federal jobs.

“We want the public to know what’s really going on in government. Taxpayer money is just being squandered with no accountability to the American people. We think the taxpayers deserve better,” said AFGE president John Gage.

The initial effort is aimed squarely at discouraging the practice at the Department of Veterans Affairs. The ads are targeting the presidential race, attacking the Bush administration, which, in the union’s view, is rewarding big business with lucrative contracts at the expense of its members. The union also says that the administration is targeting 850,000 federal jobs for possible contracting out.

The administration, however, says that what it’s doing is making the federal sector compete with the private sector for government work, sparing from the competition only those jobs that should be kept in house. The issue from the White House’s view is taxpayer fairness.

Contracting out is nothing new to the federal scene, veterans of the U.S. civil service know. It has been practiced by both Republicans and Democrats for many years.