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bob7947

Contracting Voices from the Past

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I began working in 1971.  A year later, I completed my trainee assignments at GAO, and was forced into something called the Procurement and Systems Acquisition Division -- pronounced "P" sad.  I couldn't figure out what I had done for GAO to stuff me into P-sad.  Actually, my trainee assgnments ended at the end of a month and P-sad was the only place that was left for a new trainee.  I have no regrets for being stuffed.

Anyway, when I started in P-sad I remember people talking about someone named Ernie Fitzgerald who became famous in the late 1960s.  After talking with Vern yesterday, I thought I would do an internet search on Ernie Fitzgerald this morning.  I found that Ernie Fitzgerald died at the age of 92 on January 31, 2019.  I believe it is important for a relic like me to introduce you to other contracting relics from the past.  Then I found this wonderful article with a 43-minute C-SPAN video of Fitzgerald from 1989.  This article and video are provided by the Project on Government Oversight (POGO).  So here is POGO's:  A Tribute to Pentagon Whistleblower Ernie Fitzgerald.

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While Ernie may have done some good in his revelations involving the C-5, some of his later activities were somewhat questionable.  After he won his case at the Supreme Court, it seems he became vengeful toward DoD.  He became the guru for disaffected employees whom he advised on how to avoid legitimate personnel actions by claiming to be a whistleblower.  In other words, he weaponized bogus whistleblower claims as a defense against legitimate personnel actions.  From my personal experience, he was aided and abetted in this by members of the media, particularly Clark Mollenhoff of the Des Moines Register, where he won a Pulitzer Prize and later of the Washington Times, and indirectly from members of congress such as Sen. Grassley from Iowa who had ties to Mollenhoff.  This cabal, along with support from Rep. Pat Schroeder from Colorado, led to the removal of the head of the DoD agency where I worked on trumped up charges brought by the Special Counsel of whistleblower reprisal.  These charges were later overturned by the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit when it held that the alleged whistleblower, who never thought of himself as a whistleblower until Mollenhoff put him in contact with Ernie, was not a whistleblower.

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Funny but I don’t remember much about all the publicity.  What I do remember though was his push for thorough cost estimating and analysis,  and particularly should cost.  It seemed at the time a should cost analysis was required to justify every major expenditure. 

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