Military Libraries Division - Open Community

2020 OPM Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS)

  • 1.  2020 OPM Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS)

    Posted 10-14-2020 15:08
    The 2020 OPM Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS) just came out.  Every year when I see the feds surveying federal employees only and not doing anything with finding out how contractors are doing,  I feel like screaming.

    Many of you are well aware of my views on contractors being treated as second class citizen in federal agencies.  I know all the legal excuses for doing that.  I don't accept that.  Contractors need to be treated as equal partners in federal agencies.  DoD does not treat us like partners.  They treat us as though we are disposable.

    Branwen Drew , MS, BS
    Technical Librarian
    Goldbelt C6
    US Air Force Research Laboratory-Rome Research Site
    FB: branwen.drew
    Pronouns: She/Her/Hers

  • 2.  RE: 2020 OPM Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS)

    Posted 10-14-2020 16:13
    Colleagues,   As I mentioned in a chat earlier today at the Virtual SLA Annual 2020 meeting, it all depends on the contract and what is written into it and what the Contracting Officer's Representative (COTR) on site will allow. 

    A couple questions:   

    1.  Have you read the contract under which you are working?
    2.  Is your company a subcontractor or maybe even a sub, subcontractor  to the main contractor?
    3.  Is the chain-of-command specified?
    4.  Does the organization's leadership know where you fit into the overall support of the mission?

    Sometimes there are really unusual requirements when there is  the sub to a sub to a sub is finally hired.

    Leadership of the basic government.organization has a lot to do with how contractors and their subs are treated. If the leadership is military, there may be a feeling that what the contractors do is outside "the military" and not as valuable.  That's a management problem and the leader may not be a good fit working in an organization that is mostly contractor driven.

    As a DOD (Army) Civilian my experience in working with contractors was very positive.  Our Leadership, both military and civilian, valued our contractors and included them in activities such as Monthly Birthday Parties, Stand Ups.  Team Meetings, and specialized training, etc.  There was a Contracting Officer, not a COTR on site so any situations were quickly resolved.  Contractors had "a seat at the table."

    Our leadership met with all workers, from all departments and quarterly  provided a State of the Organization report (It was written into the contract that they would attend.).  Expectations were laid out; budgets, deliverables were met and everyone knew the rules and the chain-of-command.
    In fact I never really thought of "a them vs us" situation.  We were a team.  

    The first time I ever heard "contractor scum" was from a new contractor who was amazed at the atmosphere in our organization.  It had not been his previous experience to be included, to belong to the organization, not just his company or sub,but to a team.

    We were very lucky.  Leadership is the key. Also a willingness on the part of the contractors to join in as a team is important.  Belonging as our Keynote Speaker today stressed.

    Sharon Lenius

  • 3.  RE: 2020 OPM Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (FEVS)

    Posted 10-14-2020 16:28

    Hi, Branwen, it's not just in DoD-contractors are sometimes treated that way in other Federal departments and agencies, too.


    After working as a contractor at the EPA Headquarters Library for just over a year, I left to go to library school fulltime. With my shiny, newly-minted MLS, I returned to the EPA Headquarters Library almost a year to the day. About a week after my return to the EPA, I ran into one of the federal employees who worked in the branch that oversaw the library's contract as we were both arriving for the day. He asked me where I went on vacation, and if I had a good time-even though my desk was literally feet away from his, he didn't realize that I was away for a whole year or that I had left to go to grad school!


    This is a funny example, but it illustrates the divide that sometimes happens between federal employees and contract staff.


    Another example, however, was the very productive and collaborative partnership that developed working with my COTR, James King, when I managed a contract that provided library staffing at the NIH Library.


    Many of us in SLA benefited professionally and personally from working with James through SLA, so it should come as no surprise to anyone that even in his capacity as a COTR, James viewed our fed-contractor relationship as a partnership, and we derived mutual benefit from a respectful and trusting relationship.


    Yes, James was special in every way, but my experience working with James, I hope, serves as an example of how the public-private relationship *can and should* work.


    And, ha, you should hear some of my experiences working as a vendor. Talk about being treated as a second-class citizen! I've had to sit on the floor of a hallway floor for over 30 mins while my COTR wrapped up her "quick call" with her tennis instructor; apologize to my CEO for our customer's "forgetfulness" when we arrived for a meeting with her and she "forgot" that we were coming but asked that we take her out to lunch instead of meeting as planned; worked through the library's strategic plans with my COTR while she absent-mindedly colored in an adult coloring book; the customers who always scheduled my library training at lunch and asked me to take them out for lunch because they missed lunch due to the training; the time I arrived at the security gate expecting to meet my COTR who (again) forgot I was coming (three days after my knee surgery), asked me to wait at security until she could meet me at the gate, and then NEVER showed up or called or emailed to explain why or to apologize....


    But, then again, as a vendor, I've benefited from working with some truly wonderful and inspiring feds, and enjoy some amazing friendships with folks who at one point were my customers, so it all balances out! ��




    Jill Konieczko, MLS

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