Monday, August 29, 2005

Do Your Job & Lose Your Job

In direct violation of contract policy, Halliburton has received preference for multibillion-dollar, no-bid contract work in Iraq. Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, the Army Corps of Engineers executive, has been responsible for awarding contracts. She tried doing her job to the best of her ability. She awarded contracts according to the law and Department of Defense policy. The good-ol’-boy network did not appreciate her due diligence to her job. Sections of Halliburton Contract Critic Loses Her Job from Griff Witte, a Washington Post Staff Writer, are below:

[. . .] Greenhouse came to prominence last year when she went public with her concerns over the volume of Iraq-related work given to Halliburton by the Corps without competition. The Houston-based oil services giant already had a competitively awarded contract to provide logistics support for the military in the Middle East and was awarded a no-bid contract to repair Iraq oil fields on the eve of the war there in 2003.

Greenhouse complained internally about that contract. Last fall she started giving interviews to national publications. And in June she testified before a Democrat-sponsored Capitol Hill event on contracting in Iraq.

"I can unequivocally state that the abuse related to contracts awarded to KBR represents the most blatant and improper abuse I have witnessed" in 20 years working on government contracts, Greenhouse said at the Democratic forum.
She said the independence of the Corps' contracting process was compromised in the handling of the contact. "I observed, first hand, that essentially every aspect of the [Restore Iraqi Oil] contract remained under the control of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. This troubled me and was wrong."

Greenhouse has been the Army Corps' top procurement official since 1997. Then-commander Gen. Joe N. Ballard has said he wanted Greenhouse -- a black woman -- to provide a jolt to the clubby, old-boys' network that had long dominated the contracting process at the Corps.

Since then, Greenhouse has developed a reputation among those in both government and industry as being a stickler for the rules. To her critics, she's a foot-dragging, inflexible bureaucrat. To her supporters, she's been a staunch defender of the taxpayers' dime.

In the lead-up to the Iraq war in 2003, Greenhouse objected to a decision to give a five-year, no-bid contract to KBR for putting out the oil fires that Pentagon officials believed retreating Iraqi troops would set as the United States invaded. KBR had earlier been hired to write the plans for how that work would be conducted.

When the time came to award the Restore Iraqi Oil contract, the terms stipulated that the contractor had to have knowledge of KBR's plan. KBR was the only contractor deemed eligible. Normally, contractors that prepare cost estimates and plans are excluded from bidding on the work that arises from those plans.

When superiors overruled her objections to awarding the contract to KBR without competition, she recorded her concerns by writing next to her signature on the contract a warning that the length of the deal could convey the perception that limited competition was intended.

As Greenhouse became more vocal internally, she said she was increasingly excluded from decisions and shunned by her bosses.
Bunnatine is a whistleblower. The only thing she is guilty of is doing her job defending taxpayer dollars. It is time for the Democrat “leaders” in Congress to start doing their job and EARN their taxpayer dollars.

Update: At least bloggers are not burying the story. It appears on two national blogs at least: The Huffington Post and DailyKos -- twice. Bunnatine's job was to save the taxpayers money on contracts with Halliburton and the insurance industry. According to the online edition of the LA Times, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Los Angeles) and Sens. Byron L. Dorgan (D-N.D.) and Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), the Democrats who had invited Bunnatine to testify about her concerns at a June hearing, formally requested Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld in a letter today to reinstate her pending an investigation.

No matter what happens 19th CD constituents can rest assured that John Shimkus will stay quiet on this issue because it concerns Halliburton and the insurance industry (his REAL constituents). Without a script from his GOP handlers, providing his own original statement would be too difficult for him while he keeps his arms busy hugging himself.


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