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Government contracts can be terminated

By Staff | Jul 28, 2011

The Doyle Report of July 15 published in The Chronicle dealt with “the ins and outs of contracting services.”

In the report Delegate Doyle describes an incident whereby rules were reinterpreted by a contractor under the auspices of the Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR). He criticized the contractor for acting as if it were the government. The irony of this statement should not be lost on the taxpayer.

The conclusion that Delegate Doyle draws from this incident: Take the services “in house” and have the government provide them directly. He believes that the government can be as efficient as a private enterprise. If that were so, then the government employee(s) charged with managing this contractor would have done their job properly and would not have allowed this incident to get to this point and would have disciplined the contractor appropriately. It’s called taking responsibility.

One of the positives about using contractors to provide government services is that they can be fired or the contract can be terminated for cause. Further, if for some reason the service is no longer needed, the contract may not be renewed. If you bring the function or service in house, the odds are overwhelming that it becomes a permanent part of the government bureaucracy and you can almost never get rid of it – even if it is no longer needed. Repeat this process enough times and you wind up with out of control government spending. That is where we are today and that is how we got here.

My advice to Delegate Doyle would be to fire the state government employees that did not provide proper oversight of this contractor, terminate the contract, reevaluate the program and if needed, hire another contractor.

Elliot Simon

Harpers Ferry