GAO report finds thousands of contractors paid more than VP

June 23, 2013

If a government-mandated cap on contractor executive compensation was required to match the vice president’s pay, more than 3,400 employees from a sample 27 companies would have exceeded it in 2012, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

The cap, now set at $763,029 per person, represents the amount of employee pay that can be charged to government contracts.

The GAO report comes as the White House and some members of Congress argue for a reduction. They have generally targeted the president's salary of $400,000 or the vice president’s salary of $230,700 as more reasonable limits.

The GAO surveyed 30 contractors — representing about 25 percent of fiscal 2012 Pentagon contracting — but only received complete data from 27. Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman did not provide the number of employees with compensation in excess of the president and vice president’s salaries, according to the GAO.

Still, in its study, the GAO found that if the cap were set at the vice president’s salary, the 27 remaining contractors would have at least $440 million in compensation costs above what can be covered by government contracts (the contractors reported already paying over $80 million annually in excess of the covered compensation).

Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) in a statement called the report “stunning,” and said taxpayers “should not be on the hook for exorbitant government contractor salaries.” Meanwhile, Stan Soloway, chief executive of industry group the Professional Services Council, said in his own statement that the sample size is too small and “the analysis does not take into account how the proposed caps match up against the demands of the broader marketplace for talent.”

Invertix, Near Infinity rebranded as Altamira

McLean-based Invertix said last week that it will change its name to Altamira Technologies.

The company last year merged with Reston-based Near Infinity, following an investment in both companies by Columbia Capital and Razor’s Edge Ventures, according to Altamira. Both contractors work on cloud-based analytics and big data for intelligence and national security agencies.

Craig Parisot, chief strategy officer at Altamira, said in an interview last week that the company initially polled employees on a new name and received more than 100 potential names.

“It was really through an exhaustive process” that Altamira settled on its new name, he said.

Sphere of Influence offers insider threat technology

In the wake of the news that a National Security Agency contractor allegedly released top-secret information, one local company is hoping to draw attention to its data analytics software, which is able to spot unusual employee behavior.

McLean-based Sphere of Influence specializes in developing software for government agencies and commercial businesses. In the past two years, following Army Pvt. Bradley Manning’s arrest for allegedly passing classified material to the Web site WikiLeaks, the company has developed an insider threat detection technology that can track employee computer activity. The technology then compares it to the employee’s previous actions as well as those of other employees, seeking suspicious abnormalities.

In Manning’s case, “there were plenty of security protocols, there were clearances and background checks,” said Chris Kauffman, managing partner of Sphere of Influence. But there wasn’t a way to address the human element of an insider threat, he said.

The industry relies “on previously defined scenarios or signatures,” said Kauffman. “We’ve learned more how to let the machine and the data tell us what are the patterns and what are the points of interest.”

Maximus to operate Maryland call center

Reston-based Maximus said earlier this month it has signed a deal to provide customer service for Maryland’s health benefit exchange, meaning it will help state residents choose health insurance plans, compare rates and determine their eligibility under the new Affordable Care Act.

The five-year deal, which started on June 3, is worth about $36 million.

Bruce L. Caswell of Maximus said the company will hire 100 to 110 employees to staff the new facility in Baltimore. Maximus plans to fully open the center Aug. 1.

The company already has a relationship with the state of Maryland, as it helps individuals determined eligible for Medicaid choose health plans, Caswell said.

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