The following was posted by Hank Wilfong in response to yesterday’s “CONTRACTING EXPERTS CRITIQUE OBAMA’S TRANSPARENCY PUSH”
…The caution of “rushing to transparency” is well-advised. These experts ought be listened to. I’m not against “transparency”. However, transparency, in and of itself, will not get it done. And, the cost of providing it might exceed the benefits achieved.
One might innocently think, “If we expose it, we will prevent it”. Not so. One might think, “If they know we’re gonna expose it, they won’t do it”. Not so. “They” have pretty much gotten used to the fact that, even if they do it, and get caught doing it, not much is gonna happen to them.
The facts would tend to bear that out.
So, what’s the answer(s)? Seek not “transparency” so much as “effectiveness”, and “accountability”. It’s been our experience that both take time and caution. Seek to find ways that will produce effective resolutions. Then, assure that those who perform will be held accountable. Reward “good”. Punish “bad”.
Remember this, “The amount of labor that transparency requires and the pressure on agencies to get the stimulus money out fast could make increased oversight impractical and reduce potential benefits, some experts say.” Absolutely on mark.
The article went on to say, “For example, “there are often good and legally supportable reasons” for cost overruns on government contracts, Weckstein said, and reports posted on Recovery.gov might not explain them sufficiently to the public.” You got it. And, such a situation only tends to exacerbate the problem.
We, the public are often misled. The bureaucrats who must handle the task are befuddled, and harried by being hurried. They’re not used to performing like we’re all of a sudden, expecting them to perform. Angela Styles, former Director, Office of Federal Procurement Practice (OFPP) got it right when she said, “You couldn’t even find a commercial company that could manage that much money and get it quickly out the door effectively”.
Move with caution, and seek effectiveness and accountability.
Henry T. Wilfong Jr. is the President of the National Association of Small Disadvantaged Businesses and former three-time Appointee of Governor and President Ronald Reagan. He is also the Host of the Wilfong Hour, a weekly talk show. You can reach Mr. Wilfong at HWilfongJr@aol.com.