One Comment

  • I am not sure that ANY federal agency is really “self-funded”. Many of them charge for their services, at levels that reflect the cost of doing the work, but I can only think of one that is allowed to determine, on its own, how much it can spend – the FDA . And I think that this only applies to funding of new drug/device reviews, in order to keep that pipeline moving.

    My old agency (US NRC) had a fixed budget and a fixed FTE (staffing) limit, and we recovered our costs by billing our industry. But we could not just decide to hire a bunch of new inspectors, turn them loose, and bill the industry for them. The Congress realizes that a system like that would quickly turn into an empire-building craze, and they guard that prerogative quite jealously for themselves.

    A bigger problem is that agencies often cannot afford to hire people who really understand what their industry is doing, because their payscale is limited, and good people in the financial area are not willing to work on a GS-15 or even an SES salary. Some doctors are allowed to make more, but the only people who can really make money out of govt are contractors. And even though you might hire them to help with inspections, you still need someone back in the office who can understand what the contractor is saying and doing.