Long-term contracts (was Another Ethical Question)

Subject: Long-term contracts (was Another Ethical Question)
From: Lori Lathrop <76620 -dot- 456 -at- COMPUSERVE -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 12 Sep 1994 20:11:34 EDT

In response to Karla McMaster (mcmaster%pcmail -dot- cti-pet -dot- com -at- CTI-PET -dot- COM),
who posed another ethical question -- this one about long-term contracts:

Karla -- I hope you get as many thoughtful responses to your ethical
question as I got to mine. Anyway, off the top of my head, here are some
of my thoughts on your question:

Not all government contract work is a scam, even if it lasts for a year
or more. Some government contract work is very satisfying, although it
generally does not pay as well as contract work for private industry.
Also, in my somewhat limited experience with government contracts,
they've never been negotiated for longer than one year, and that was only
when the contract ran from the beginning to the end of one fiscal year.
Contracts that started somewhere in the middle of a fiscal year always
ended at the end of that fiscal year, at which time they could be
renegotiated and renewed. So ... if a consulting agency offered me a
contract for a period longer than one year, I would suspect that they're
saying anything they think they need to say to fill the contract, and I
might have a small doubt or two about their ethics.

The info you gave on the situation at the facility where your husband
works is so sketchy that it's difficult to say one way or the other
whether our tax dollars are being mishandled.

I am in partial agreement with you, tho', on accepting long term
contracts because the consulting agency always takes a large cut for the
work *you* do. Of course, most agencies have high overhead espenses, and
they spare you the time and effort of getting the contract on your own
... which, in many cases, you couldn't do anyway because some companies
use only certain pre-approved vendors, or they are required to use only
vendors who meet certain criteria (like being a minority-owned business,
which is a common criteria for government contract work). So, it could
be worthwhile to take a contract if: (1) the agency offers you a
reasonable salary; (2) you are willing to obligate yourself for the
specified period of time; and (3) the work would be interesting to you or
would give you valuable skills.

I'm sure there are subscribers on this list who have more experience with
government contracts than I do, and perhaps they'll give you some insight.

Lori Lathrop -----------> INTERNET:76620 -dot- 456 -at- compuserve -dot- com
Lathrop Media Services
P.O. Box 808
Georgetown, CO 80444
(303)567-4011 -- home office
(303)567-9306 -- fax

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