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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

Stop, Fief!

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The Wall Street Journal's big takeout on Darleen Druyun today says that the burgeoning scandal surrounding her admission that she steered contracts to Boeing has had two immediate effects: "Investigators are scouring dozens of contracts, trying to determine how many of Ms. Druyun's deals were tainted. They're also trying to figure out how to stop civil servants from building fiefdoms as Ms. Druyun did over a decade." The first point makes sense, but the second ought to raise some eyebrows on a couple of counts: 1) Career civil servants building procurement "fiefdoms" is hardly a widespread problem in government; 2) It's clear where this crackdown is originating--Bush administration Pentagon appointees who resented the power base that Druyun had developed--up to and including the Defense secretary, whose sole comment on the scandal to this point is to decry the lack of "adult supervision" over Druyun. But it's hard to see how giving more control over procurement to political appointees--who have been far more prone than career government officials to abuse the system in the past--is going to make things better.

 

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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