March 1 2010
DHS now has more contractors than employees
The number of contractors has grown well out of proportion at DHS over the last few years--and now it appears that the contractors rule the roost in our newsest--and usually most incompetant--Federal Agency. Ed O'Keefe wrote about the matter on Februrary 25th for the Washington Post, and said, "The Department of Homeland Security said this week that it employs more private contractors than federal employees, an admission that officials blamed on the department's quick establishment seven years ago and the federal government's burdensome hiring process. "
"DHS officials informed Senate staffers this month that it employs roughly 200,000 contractors and about 188,000 federal employees. The figure does not include uniformed members of the Coast Guard, which is one of the department's 22 agencies. "
"That raises a question of whether it's the most efficient use of taxpayer money, but also the question of who's making critical decisions at the department," Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) said Wednesday during a hearing of the homeland security committee on the department's annual budget requests. "Is it private contractors, or is it full-time federal employees?" He called the figures "shocking and unacceptable."
Secretary Napolitano disputed the numbers during an oversight hearing chaired by Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT), saying, "I think the number illustrates a problem, or an issue we have to work on. The department was stood up quickly, and in order to accomplish the many missions that it has, contracting was a mechanism to be used."
Paul Light, a Brookings Institution scholar on the federal government, disputed the DHS estimates, and said the number of contractors is likely to be much higher. Who should one believe? Read the entire story here.
DHS Identity Program is Prone to Failure
Information Week is reporting the the touted E-Verify Program used to identify illegal workers is erroneous more than half the time, says its February 26th issue (Electronic). Government system employers can use to check a potential hire's eligibility to work in the U.S. accurately flags unauthorized workers less than half the time, according to a research report.
"A report from Westat found that the Department of Homeland Security's E-Verify system inaccurately identifies workers unauthorized for employment in the U.S. as authorized 54 percent of the time. "
"E-Verify is an online system that compares employee status with more than 444 million records in the Social Security Administration database and more than 60 million records in DHS immigration databases."
"Only 6.2 percent of all E-Verify queries related to unauthorized workers, however, and the system is matching up legal workers with the proper status with 99 percent accuracy, according to the report. "
That is a wide margin of error that can be disasterous. Read the whole story here.
In Arizona, all employers are required to use the program, but, as the Arizona Republic reports in today's electronic edition, they can also be held liable for hiring someone verified by the program, but later found to be an unauthorized hire using fraudulent identity papers.
More later about this and other major malfunctions at DHS.