Thursday, May 11, 2006

Alphonso Jackson's Orange Jumpsuit

The new HUD Secretary has gotten into quite a pickle by blatantly violating a law and then having the idiotic notion to BRAG about it!

"He had made every effort to get a contract with HUD for 10 years," Jackson said of the bidder, according to an account of the speech in the Dallas Business Journal. "He made a heck of a proposal and was on the GSA [General Services Administration] list, so we selected him. He came to see me and thank me for selecting him.

"Then he said something. . . . He said, 'I have a problem with your president.' I said, 'What do you mean?' He said, 'I don't like President Bush. ' I thought to myself, 'Brother, you have a disconnect -- the president is elected, I was selected. You wouldn't be getting the contract unless I was sitting here. If you have a problem with the president, don't tell the secretary.' "He didn't get the contract," Jackson continued. "Why should I reward someone who doesn't like the president, so they can use funds to try to campaign against the president? Logic says they don't get the contract. That's the way I believe."

Maybe Jackson was not aware there were these things called Acquisition Regulations, you know, that say the government has to decide in a fair and transparent way based on who offers the best service (not the lowest bid, that is a MYTH, people!) and not on whatever a political appointee thinks or political preference. Perhaps Jackson, like so many Bush appointees, simply believes he can ignore the law and do whatever he thinks. It wouldn't surprise me if he's trying to pull a fast one after seeing Rumsfeld and the NSA get away with so many. And, if someone wanted to inform Alphonso, it's actually against the law for a contractor to use government funds from a contract to campaign for anybody FOR OR AGAINST. So he didn't actually have to worry about that (and thus, it's not an excuse, even if one grants him that he can break the law, which he can't). But there's more. Jackson isn't even a Contracting Officer, so he doesn't have the authority to award or not award a contract. Stating he can is absurd.

The bottom line isn't that Alphonso is a crook and has committed a criminal act (seriously, if that contractor had taken him to the Court of Federal Claims, Jackson would've been destroyed), it's that he doesn't even understand his job and how the federal government works. Which is GREAT when you're putting someone in charge of HUD, a Department rife with contracting and other financial scandals to begin with. You have to love croneyism. But hey, if Alphonso Jackson had his way and could toss 60 years of law into the trash heap, all government contracts would be awarded based on croneyism anyway! I wish I could say this situation surprises me, but it doesn't. Because in my time working as a Contracting Officer I've dealt with bigger idiots than Jackson (mostly appointees, but a decent number of career people too). They usually weren't the Secretary, though. If anything, this should just confirm the already obvious fact that too many people who don't have competency beyond being political hacks are being put in charge of our entire government, and given free reign to run wild. Laws and real needs be damned!