JC Bowman Commentary: Government Needs Oversight and Transparency

It is a disturbing trend to hire outside consultants or independent contractors, with little direct oversight, to perform government jobs, whether nationally or statewide. The running joke is “if you have an out-of-state license plate on your car and drive by slowly at the Tennessee Department of Education, they will throw a contract in your car, and you too can be an education consultant.” Now that is probably not very accurate or fair, but then again, I have a Tennessee tag on my car and I have been known to drive a little fast.

It is likely that the majority of consultants and contractors follow our state laws and maintain the necessary integrity. However, all Tennesseans should be somewhat concerned by a contracting process if it has little or no accountability. We must also do a better job of tracking performance data. Especially when we are using tax dollars in Tennessee to contract with people outside the state. Oversight is critical to making sure taxpayers are getting what they are paying for.

Read More

Government Job Losses Are Piling Up, and It Could Get Worse

Jobs with state and city governments are usually a source of stability in the U.S. economy, but the financial devastation wrought by the coronavirus pandemic has forced cuts that will reduce public services — from schools to trash pickup.

Even as the U.S. added some jobs in May, the number of people employed by federal, state and local governments dropped by 585,000. The overall job losses among public workers have reached more than 1.5 million since March, according to seasonally adjusted federal jobs data released Friday. The number of government employees is now the lowest it’s been since 2001, and most of the cuts are at the local level.

Read More