U.S. officials said Joeun Systems was paid a total of about $118 million over the past five years for its services, but G4S was the lowest acceptable bidder for the next five-year contract at a price of about $109 million.
As G4S took over gate security at most U.S. military bases in South Korea at the beginning of this month, only 60 of the 850 guards who worked for Joeun Systems had agreed to sign on with the new contractor, according to officials with the guards’ union.
On Thursday, G4S said it has hired about one-third of the 600-plus guards it will need to secure all the posts. Many of those hired are former Joeun Systems employees, G4S officials say.
Here is an interesting little story from South Korea. We have a case here where the US military rebid the contract for base security, and G4S beat out the incumbent firm named Joeun Systems Corp. From the sounds of it, it looks like this contract was another Lowest Priced, Technically Acceptable contract mechanism victim. Meaning G4S was the lowest bidder, and paying the price for being the lowest bidder. The US military is also paying the price now for going cheap.
Joen Systems Corp. of course is protesting, and all of the guards that worked for them are union and are not willing to move over to G4S to take a lower salary. Which is totally understandable.
The interesting thing here is that our military bases there are using local security folks. Which is fine, but if the US military cares to have quality folks protecting these camps, then pay the extra amount and contract with American companies to do this work. Or use the Best Value mechanism of contracting, and not necessarily go with the lowest bidder for these things. Because if you are going to use local companies or local workers, then you will more than likely be dealing with that host nation’s unions. Or folks will organize naturally to protect their salaries if they do not have a union. We saw the same thing happen in Iraq with the TWISS contracts. LPTA is a crappy way to go, and has all sorts of problems associated with it.
Also, because they are local, they will also have more impact in the local media stations and get more sympathy from their fellow citizens. Either way, dealing with unions and contract disputes will always be an issue when trying to modify contracts and pay less for the same services. All I have to say is that paying the industry standard is the safe way to go, because you definitely do not want disgruntled guards tasked with force protection. Especially with the threat of North Korea, or any number of other threats that are unique to overseas posts. –Matt
GIs still manning gates in S. Korea as contractor struggles to fill slots
By JON RABIROFF AND ASHLEY ROWLAND
December 15, 2011
U.S. soldiers continue to man the gates at U.S. military bases in South Korea more than two weeks after a new security firm failed to hire enough employees to get the job done.
Despite the fact that the firm, G4S, continues to be short-staffed and in violation of its contract, U.S. military officials say they are willing to give the company more time to get up to speed.
Both sides insist the situation will soon be resolved, that security at the bases has not been compromised and disruptions have been kept to a minimum.