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The Responsible Contract Manager

Publication Year: 2008

Contract management is a critical skill for all contemporary public managers. As more government duties are contracted out, managers must learn to coordinate and measure the performance of private contractors, and to write contract requirements and elicit

Published by: Georgetown University Press

List of Figures

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xiv

Contract Management is a critical skill for all contemporary public managers. Managers must learn how to write contract requirements and elicit bids that obtain important services and products at the best possible price and quality. They must learn to work with, manage, and measure the performance of these outside private and nonprofit organizations. ...

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pp. xv-xvi

We owe a great deal to many people for helping us produce this work. Christopher L. Busch was the research assistant who helped us revise the work for publication. Juan Fernando Orozco served as research assistant as we prepared the manuscript for publication. Kristin McElroy and Louise Rosen, senior members of Steve Cohen’s staff , helped a great deal as ...

Part I: The Basics

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1. Defining Contracting and Contract Management

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pp. 3-22

Organizations throughout the world, in the public sector as well as the private sector, are becoming less hierarchical and increasingly part of interorganizational networks. Today’s effective public manager must learn to manage people outside of his or her home organization, as well as those within that organization. Some of the relationships between ...

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2. What Are the Public Ethics of Contracting?

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pp. 23-39

Public ethics is a major concern for those in government and the citizens they serve. Caveat emptor is oft en good advice when dealing with private markets—do not assume that the other party in the transaction has your best interests at heart, or even that they are being fair or honest. We have and should have very different expectations in dealing with public officials and public agencies. ...

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3. What Is Network Management?

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pp. 40-59

Public-private partnerships are no longer limited to a series of individual contracts or informal interactions between government and a single private organization. Rather, what is evolving is a complex set of episodic and ongoing relationships among an array of public, private, and nonprofit organizations, each playing a specialized but interlocking role in implementing public policy. ...

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4. Ensuring Accountability and Democratic Representation in Government Contracting

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pp. 60-88

In a representative democracy the behavior of private parties under contract to government should be under the control of public officials accountable to the citizens they serve. Ensuring accountability to the public is made more complicated because the public officials supervising the contractors are appointed rather than elected. And who are contractors accountable to? ...

Part II: When Do You Contract, When Don’t You Contract, and How Do You Find the Right Contractor?

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5. When Should You and When Shouldn’t You Contract Out?

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pp. 91-103

The first contracting issue that public managers must face is the make-or-buy decision. This chapter focuses specifically on that issue. The issue of contracting out is one part of the role of the modern network manager. The manager asks: To what degree do we do this in-house? To what degree do we try to mobilize our network to take on this task? If we decide that the work should not be done ...

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6. How Do You Find the Right Contractor?

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pp. 104-118

In other chapters and other places (Cohen and Eimicke 2002, 143–56), the wisdom of contracting out is questioned by a number of major scholars, particularly because of its impact on democratic government (Milward 1994; 1996; Milward and Provan 2000). Unfortunately, the decision to contract is sometimes based solely on ideological belief that whatever can be privatized should be privatized. ...

Part III: How Do You Manage Contractors?

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7. Managing Contracts: The Skills You Need and What Can Go Wrong—Twenty Common Problems in Contracting

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pp. 121-144

There is an emerging literature on the use of contracts by government and the private sector. Network management is becoming a way of life throughout our public and private economy. A great deal of scholarship has been devoted to analyzing the decision to privatize and to providing advice to decision makers about how and when to contract out (Avery 2000). ...

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8. Performance Measurement and Performance Management

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pp. 145-156

Contracted services require government workers to develop a whole new set of skills including contract design, negotiation, program monitoring, and evaluation. Sophisticated information systems are also needed to provide the performance measures and evaluation programs that are essential to effective contract management. ...

Part IV: Case Studies in Contracting

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9. When Not to Contract: The U.S. Military and Iraq

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pp. 159-168

Under what conditions is the task best performed directly by your own organization? When should you develop the capacity in-house instead of purchasing it from another organization? The war in Iraq is the most contracted-out war in world history. It is clear that overcontracting was one of a number of strategic errors in this war. While some contracting is ...

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10. When Contracting Really Works: Welfare-to-Work in Philadelphia

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pp. 169-186

The Transitional Work Corporation is a nonprofit corporation that was created to help welfare recipients comply with the time limits incorporated into the federal welfare reform legislation of the mid-1990s. This chapter focuses its analysis of government contracting with a nonprofit organization that was designed to serve as a government contractor. ...

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11. When Contracting Really Doesn’t Work: Atlanta’s Water Contract

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pp. 187-200

We all need between twenty and fifty liters of water free of contaminants every day to live a healthy and productive life (UNESCO 2006). Water’s importance is rising as population densities and climate change interact to create more regions with acute water shortages (Sachs 2005, 283). Indeed, water has been called “the oil of the 21st Century” (CBC News 2004). ...

Part V: Conclusions

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12. Contracting, Representative Democracy, and Public Ethics

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pp. 203-216

This volume has attempted to explain the contracting phenomenon in modern government, place it in context, assist in its improvement, and discuss the opportunities and problems it presents. The cases in the preceding chapters highlight the difficulties—in Iraq and Atlanta—and the promise—in Philadelphia and Indianapolis. While the cases are filled with stories of ...


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pp. 217-232


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pp. 233-240

E-ISBN-13: 9781589016491
E-ISBN-10: 1589016491
Print-ISBN-13: 9781589012141
Print-ISBN-10: 1589012143

Page Count: 256
Publication Year: 2008