Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Alaska Native corporation contracts... I just don't know

One of the bigger Alaska Native stories lately has been the congressional investigation of the federal contracts awarded Alaska Native corporations. Essentially, Alaska Native corporations are given contracts as disadvantaged businesses - or able to get the contracts without competition.

I haven't commented on this or the simple reason that I am honestly undecided about the whole thing. Some is that I don't know much about it (nobody... NOBODY wants me truly judging business and money decisions.) Some is that, so far, I can see both sides.

I think some of the publicity problem is that the Alaska Native corporations will, as usual, be portrayed as all the same. I actually really don't believe some of the corporations, the ones doing supremely well (and there are FAR fewer of them than you think!) should be getting the preference. I don't think they meet the spirit of the program.

But some corporations do. They are struggling, of benefit to a disadvantaged public when they succeed, and need the help. I don't know which corporations are all benefitting from this program, but I hope they do this on a case-by-case basis, not a sweeping generalization. My concern is that the decision will be the sort of reactionary thing that happens so much - one incident, or one small group, abuses the program, and the reaction is that everyone who looks a bit like them gets the punishment.

But again, I simply don't know enough about this topic, or the details. I'm hoping the investigation is more of an investigation to DISCOVER, versus an investigation on the premise that everyone is guilty already - and that they release the details in a fair and informative way.

Thoughts? I would love to hear opinions on this.

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1 comment:

mpb said...

My concern is the same as for the other 8As-- when are companies helped and when are companies used as mere fronts? How many local or shareholders benefit if the company is based 2000 miles away? A lot of companies might be based in Albuquerque or California or Virginia doing federal support contracts there.

If the project is to be a business making profits for shareholders is one thing but when the corp is no longer a small business (or is partnered by a megabusiness)?