Contractor fired after criticizing USAJobs

A senior manager at Oracle was fired after his negative remarks about the Office of Personnel Management's relaunch appeared in a Washington Post article, reports the Washington Post.

Adam Davidson, general manager for human capital management, was fired Nov. 11 for talking to a reporter without going through Oracle's public affairs office, a violation of company policy. Davidson, however, tells the Post he was fired for his remarks in an Oct. 27 article, in which he said that a government contractor would have been fired for cause if one had delivered a project with as many problems as USAJobs had. Davidson said his termination came after a meeting between Oracle executives and OPM officials, though OPM did not confirm the meeting.

USAJobs 3.0 launched in October after OPM ended a $6 million per year contract with and completed the work in-house. The site's performance problems lasted weeks, drawing complaints from users and lawmakers alike. Behind the scenes, Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel led an IT fix-it team to diagnose and correct the site's operational problems.

Reader Comments

Fri, Dec 16, 2011 Adam Davidson Washington DC

(As the subject of this article… cont)

As a remedial action, may I respectfully suggest that either the Director for OMB or the House Committee for Government Reform instruct all USAStaffing contracts be openly re-competed at their next anniversary dates by all federal agencies using it, and for the administration to either spin it off or close it down.

Regarding USAJOBS: When OPM first announced its intention to host and manage USAJOBS internally, most group members (with the exception of the Monster members) seemed fairly agnostic about it. The proposed cost was about the same, and call us naïve, but most of us generally thought - ‘how hard could it be to host and manage a job board given today’s hardware and software technologies?’

But real confidence in the intelligence of the decision was lost when OPM stated its real reason to host and manage USAJOBS was to capture all the applicant traffic for government-wide reporting and analysis. While a noble goal, this premise ignores the fact that nearly half of all federal jobs, the “excepted service” jobs, are not required to be advertised on USAJOBS if anywhere at all. Under the law, only “competitive service” jobs are required to be advertised.

This belief also made USAJOBS the central hub into which all talent sourcing pools would feed, instead of being one of the many talent sourcing pools federal agencies use to recruit workers from – like they do from or, or other niche and diversity career-sites, etc. USAJOBS is now touted as the one and only central candidate gateway filter for all applicant traffic from all talent sourcing pools (except for the “excepted service” jobs).

So, not only is USAJOBS reportedly more expensive now, its “data capture” raison d'être is based on a false premise. But even now, just managing “competitive service” jobs, it’s choking the entire federal recruitment process quite unnecessarily. The fact remains that government-wide applicant traffic data can only be gathered from the unique applicant tracking software agencies use – and this data would include applicant traffic on all competitive service AND their excepted service jobs.

On this point, I respectfully suggest that either the Director for OMB or the House Committee for Government Reform initiate an audit or some sort of independent informed review of OPM’s USAJOBS job board management strategy.

Really...unless these problems are resolved, federal agencies will continue never to be able to attract or compete for the nation's best and brightest talent they each deserve.


Fri, Dec 16, 2011 Adam Davidson Washington DC

As the subject of this article, let me state that Oracle was well within its right to terminate me for the statement attributed to me which unfortunately also had Oracle’s name attached.

What I had said to the reporter was not intended to be any sort of official statement from Oracle, but was a general observation of the opinions of the 850+ federal HCM technology industry members in my LinkedIn group - which I’ve managed for the past three years as a free community service for the industry. I was named as an Oracle employee in the original article because my LinkedIn profile said I was. I was only contacted by the Post reporter because of my federal HCM technology industry LinkedIn group and am central to knowing about what goes on and by whom. My duty to care that the issues of concern to our industry in this market segment are also understood by the media prevailed. And sentimentally as a former (broadcast) journalist, I felt obliged.

Anyway, I lost my job over it. Oracle pays its employees very well, and the discipline it expects from its employees in return justifies its decision.

My only concern in being the subject of this situation is that it may distract us from the real and ongoing salient issues facing the industry.

So, while a "freer" citizen patriot, allow me to present here some of the real issues our industry members have observed, discussed and commented on in my group (under “qualified privilege”). And allow me to propose some modest rational action items.

The anti-competitive practices and inherent conflicts of interest served up against the USA’s world renowned HCM technology industry providers by OPM – whose taxes OPM also uses to undermine them – deserves investigation beyond the capabilities of OPM’s OIG.

OPM, originally set up as a recruitment policy and regulatory agency, now uses its recruitment policy regulation power to coerce federal agencies to fill out “Form 1616” and buy its recruitment products and services – telling agencies they need not compete for better faster or cheaper recruitment technologies via the open market.

The group has observed OPM’s recruitment technology, USAStaffing, pick up un-competed contracts (DOD, DHS, HHS are some of the recent ones) that now cost the client agency more than any private vendor would cost in both money and time-to-hire metrics. The group has noted how time-to-hire metrics in agencies who use OPM recruitment technologies and services are stagnant and embarrassingly higher than in the agencies who have bought the private sector technologies.

So, not only is USAStaffing more expensive, it’s proved to be less efficient as a recruitment technology for both recruiters and applicants, and under the suspicious cloud of coercion and conflict of interest, it is procured by federal agencies in an anti-competitive manner from their regulatory authority.

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