SHUTDOWN HAD A LONGER, OUT SIZED IMPACT ON CONTRACTORS
Government workers need three to four days to recover from every day of shutdown, according to information gathered by the Federal Times. That time-lag can especially harm contractors who had to wait weeks in some cases to receive “return to work” orders from contracting officers. Some contractors had yet to be fully paid for work done prior to the shut-down as recently as the end of April. The Federal Times estimates that “normal” government operations may not resume until the end of this month. The report matches Allen Federal’s own experience in dealing with acquisition officials across multiple agencies. Even normally responsive organizations have cited a need to “dig out” for weeks after their agency re-opened. Yet, while contractors have every right to be frustrated and may want to be compensated for shut-down related costs, it is not likely that Congress will go along. Instead, contractors are probably better off viewing the partial shut-down as a learning experience. The 25 day closure may be the current record, but the fact is that it broke a relatively recent record itself. With acrimony on the Hill at its highest point since perhaps the Civil War, and a Presidential election year looming in 2020, the smart money is on developing plans to withstand more frequent, and perhaps more lengthy, shut-downs. Building financial reserves and planning for the retention of key workers are both critical pieces of the puzzle. The bottom line is that if the future open/closed nature of the federal government is unpredictable, contractors need to take steps to make sure they’re protected.