redstone government consulting, cost and pricing and budgeting

All one has to do is read a recent article written by David Cox, President of the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), to derive the answer to this question, and the answer is that contractor employee compensation should be brought in line with the salaries that public sector employees (e.g., federal civilian personnel) are paid.

The lengthy July 15 2013 article written by Mr. Cox, and published within the Bloomberg BNA on-line Federal Contracts Report, does correctly acknowledge that the OMB is revisiting its benchmark data to determine if the underlying compensation wage survey information, as well as the approach used to project reasonable future year contractor executive employee ceilings, are accurate.

And the article narrative also walks the reader through four contactor compensation reform measures “pending before Congress” which offer remedies to the “outrageous and unnecessary premiums” paid for contractor services. The impact of the four proposals on reductions to allowable contractor compensation ceilings range from modest adjustments in calculation strategy, which would result in a small deduction to existing compensation caps, to more draconian measures, the most dire of which would dispense with using commercial market-place wage surveys in gaging reasonable compensation ceilings and thus relegate ceiling benchmarks to public servant compensation levels (e.g., annual base salaries paid to heads of Executive Department Agencies, the President, or Vice-President). This latter bi-partisan proposal, according the Mr. Cox, “rejects the proposition that private sector executive compensation should determine how much taxpayers must contribute to the yearly compensation of the federal government’s richest contractors”.

In case you have not figured out which of the four proposals Mr. Cox believes is best for our country, it is the latter—measurement of annual compensation to our senior government leaders and ostensibly to that leadership’s effectiveness in running our country.

The article is anything but objective and is obviously crafted in a manner to draw empathy for the plight of federal workers and their dilemmas with frozen pay levels and furloughs due to huge budget deficits. Were it not, however, for the continuous and redundant interjection of clichés intended to seek pity for the working person (this includes everyone but contractor personnel) who have made sacrifices during periods of budget reductions, a reader could, in a very few instances, take the article’s discussion more seriously.

The article overpowers logic with hyperbole, one example of which is a badly worded metaphor suggesting that routing Forest Service aircraft to release “lovely fragrances” over Washington (in lieu of fire retardants) would not be enough to “conceal such an appalling stink (e.g. trends in excessive compensation for contractors) especially when working and middle-class Americans are making significant sacrifices in order to reduce the federal government’s deficit.” The AFGE’s attempt to connect legitimate wage dilemmas facing federal employees to selecting a reasonable method for measuring contractor executive commercial-based salary ceilings, in this writer’s opinion, fell short of that objective, and such a connection is obviously irrelevant to the necessity of ensuring FAR Part 31 Cost Principles ensure reasonable benchmarks for allowable contractor employee compensation in a commercial market environment.

Written by Darryl Walker

Darryl Walker Darryl Walker is a Emeritus Advisor for Government Compliance with Redstone Government Consulting, Inc., and formerly served as an Owner and Technical Director for the Beason & Nalley Government contract consulting group for over ten years. He provides content for our Government Insights Newsletter, provides training courses to government contractor and business community leaders, and consults with government contractors regarding a vast range of issues including cost proposals and presentations, internal controls, proposal preparation, compliance with the FAR and Cost Accounting Standards, litigation support, specialized claims, defective pricing issues, liaison with procurement and DCAA audit officials, and accounting and management systems compliance. Prior to joining Redstone Government Consulting, Darryl worked with the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) for almost 34 years in a variety of technical and management capacities. During his tenure with DCAA, Darryl provided audit services to a wide range of government agencies, including the Department of Defense, NASA, Department of Energy, Department of Interior, General Services Administration, and Department of Justice. During his experience with DCAA, Darryl audited over 3,000 government contractors throughout the Southeastern United States, Europe, and the Middle East. Education Darryl is a graduate of Texas Wesleyan College with a major in accounting and minor in economics.

About Redstone GCI

Redstone GCI is a consulting firm focused on fulfilling the needs of government contractors in all areas of compliance. With a singular mission to help contractors through the multiple layers of “red tape,” we allow contractors to focus on what they do best – support their mission with the U.S. Government. We are home to a group of consultants made up of GovCon industry professionals, CPAs, attorneys, and retired government audit and acquisition professionals.

Our focus and knowledge of audit and compliance functions administered by DCAA and DCMA will always be at the heart of what we do. However, for the past decade, we’ve strategically grown to support other areas of the government contractor back-office with that same level of focus and expertise. We’ve added expertise in contracts management, subcontract administration, proposal pricing, various software systems, HR and employment law, property administration, manufacturing, data analytics/reporting, Grant specialists, M&A, and many other areas. When we see a trend in the needs of contractors, we act to ensure we can provide the best expertise in the market to fulfill those needs.

One thing our clients can be certain of is that with the Redstone GCI Team in your corner, there is no problem too big and no issue too technical for our team to tackle.

Topics: Proposal Cost Volume Development & Pricing, Employee & Contractor Compensation