A Business Leader's Perspective on Weber County’s Use of Contractors

Saturday , June 23, 2018 - 12:00 AM

JASON WILLIAMS
GUEST COLUMNIST

As a local business owner and resident, I would like to express my appreciation to Weber County for implementing some of the best practices that make the private sector thrive. One of these practices is the use of external contractors. Sound crazy? Hear me out.

In local government, you’ve seen the following phrases often:

“Using the best practices from the private sector”

“getting the best bang for our buck”

“saving the taxpayer money”, etc.

While many may talk the talk, Weber County is walking the walk. The purpose of using external contractors is three fold: saving money, having flexibility, and securing the best talent and resources.

Saving Money:

When Weber County hires an employee, they incur the cost of their salary, health insurances, 401k, and paying various taxes. For an executive-level employee, these costs can equal tens of thousands of dollars over the years. When Weber County secures an external contractor, they secure the talent of the executive without the supplemental costs of health coverage and retirement. This way Weber County saves hundreds of thousands of dollars while still securing quality talent for specific projects.

Flexibility:

When government agencies hire an employee and then want to fire the said employee for poor performance, the process to do so is complicated, time consuming and expensive. While I’m sure Weber County does their best to hire top candidates this is sometimes an unavoidable situation when employing a such a large number of people. By law, there is a lengthy series of steps that must be taken before employment is terminated. In addition, for many executive positions, there are expensive costs incurred in negotiating the termination. As Weber County works to keep costs low and productivity high, the use of third-party contractors allows for quick termination of the contract, without strings attached.

Securing the Best for Weber County Residents:

When our Weber County leaders say they want our community to thrive as the best place to live, work, and play they truly mean that. As I’ve observed their passion and dedication, I know this is not just a catchphrase or cliche talking point.

In order to do so, they must secure the highest qualified skill set as we grow our community. Sometimes, securing quality candidates from the private sector of specific industries is more than a government budget can and should be able to afford. By working through contracts, Weber County can secure talent in specific industries that otherwise would have been unavailable to them. In many instances, projects Weber County would like to tackle require hiring an entire team of highly trained , expensive individuals. Instead of hiring multiple staff members and bloating government further, they can pay the same amount they would pay for one full-time staffer and tap into assets and experience of an entire team.

For many jobs, hiring a full-time employee is the best option. In fact, Weber County has incredible employees who are passionate, brilliant and hard working. However, sometimes for specific positions and projects, the use of an external contractor saves the county time and money in the long term. As Weber County continues to thrive and grow, I appreciate its leaders making every effort to keep costs low while delivering the highest quality of product available.

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