this is a government position. Oh, and this is a government job that, until recently, was contracted out. Chances are that means even more WTFs are to come
IME, for that particular case, chance approaches 100%.
There's no training money
Then the position doesn't require anyone skilled, ergo it doesn't matter too much if you fuck up. Yeah.. that's me being passive-aggressive-pissy-mindset again, but you get the picture: if your organisation doesn't value properly training you to raise your capabilities then they can't see the position as being particularly business-critical.
Edit: since this was a contracted position... surely there's money freed up from removing the contractor, eh? And do they honestly think that a highly-paid skilled contractor can be replaced by an untrained internal resource and still maintain quality of service?
Any recommendations for books/guides that can at least move me from "idiot" to "yeah I've heard of them thar DB things before"?
Yeah.. my training course manuals. Sorry if this sounds like blowing my own trumpet, but when I teach Oracle DBA courses I'm not really teaching how to use tools, I'm turning them into DBAs - I don't teach database administration, more preach what's expected of them, why they need to do this stuff, what would happen if they didn't.
The underlying technology is almost incidental: they begin to see it as a means to an end, that there's a large amount of business data that needs to be made available to specific people at specific times and they simply manage that technology to fulfill business requirements now and for the forseeable future.
Now, if you want to pick my brains over this stuff, I'm happy to lend a hand. But I strongly recommend that you get some formal training in, even if it means getting in that contractor to show you the basics. DBA stuff, expecially in the Oracle world, isn't something easily gained by theory alone.
 I'm making assumptions on the premise that the position would have been internally-sourced from day one if they could.. but they didn't because they originally couldn't.