April 07, 2012
NYC Letter: Team Barry Tackles Government Waste, Part II -- GSA
Day 1,169 of CHOPE
From the moment I take office, my top priority will be to do everything I can to make sure your tax dollars are protected.
then-candidate announcing his top priority du jour
LA CROSSE, Wisconsin October 1, 2008 (CNN)
One of the government agencies that is charged with getting the best value for the taxpayer in the operations of government is the United States General Services Administration. In its "Mission, Vision and Goals" statement the GSA claims to be obsessed with "no waste" and to use "data, evidence, and analysis to support decisions that wring out inefficiencies in operations". Sounds like no misspent dollars there.
We’re also committed to practicing what we preach and serving as a model for the policies that we’re encouraging. ... It’s about attracting and retaining top talent in the federal workforce and empowering them to do their jobs, and judging their success by the results that they get -- not by how many meetings they attend, or how much face-time they log, or how many hours are spent on airplanes. It’s about creating a culture where, as Martha Johnson puts it, "Work is what you do, not where you are."
And in these efforts, we’ll be looking to all of you for advice and ideas. And we plan to continue this conversation in the coming months, holding forums and roundtables in communities across the country, so we can seek out more good ideas and best practices that we can adopt and promote.
thrilled with the work of the GSA
WORKPLACE FLEXIBILITY FORUM
WASHINGTON March 31, 2010 (White House)
Why do the best ideas always seem to be in Las Vegas?
April 2, 2012 (CNN) - The head of the General Services Administration resigned Monday after a scathing report which called government spending on a training seminar in Las Vegas "excessive, wasteful, and in some cases impermissible." In some election-year damage control, the White House quickly put out a statement that President Obama was “outraged” when he found out about the spending. Jack Lew, White House Chief of Staff:[Mr. Obama] was outraged by the excessive spending, questionable dealings with contractors, and disregard for taxpayer dollars.
GSA Administrator Martha Johnson admitted in a letter of resignation that her agency had made a "significant misstep" and that "taxpayer dollars were squandered."
Whoa, whoa. This is the same Martha Johnson Mr. Obama praises above for her commitment "to practicing what we preach and serving as a model for the policies that we’re encouraging" the same year she's throwing a big tax-payer bought party in Las Vegas?
A GSA Inspector General's report on the 2010 GSA "Western Regions" training conference in Las Vegas shows that the government spent more than $822,000 for the 300 attendees including $75,000 on team building exercises, $6,000 on commemorative coins and $6,000 on canteens, keychains, t-shirts.
And a special GSA Commissioner-For-A-Day cap awarded to the employee "serving as a model for the policies that we’re encouraging"!
The report shows that GSA employees "scouted" the location several times before the conference and that travel alone for conference "planning" totaled more than $100,000 and catering costs over $30,000. Add to that costs for the actual conference of more than $686,000 and the total comes to $822,751.
Here's a good idea, how about doing some of that promised taxpayer-dollar protecting? Here's another, how about NOT spending $822K for "training seminar" holidays at the M Resort Spa and Casino in Las Vegas? Just two ideas.
Now, guess what timely story that impacts the administration of the GSA isn't posted to the Newsroom page on the GSA site? Take a guess! [Several wrong guesses later.] The only news worthy of the GSA Newsroom are self-congratulating fluff pieces on what a super great job the GSA does. Oh, wait! There it is, a one-liner buried in the latest GSA press release:
GSA Administrator Martha Johnson removed two senior leaders within the Agency and submitted her own resignation effective at close of business tonight.
In the big picture $822,751 is couch change amidst trillion+ dollar year-on-year deficits, half trillion dollar miscalculations, fantasy trillion dollar budgets, and a national debt so ginormous that it has quietly ceased being a real number to become a theoretical mystery. But scolding a misspent $822,751 plays well in Mr. Obama's Tiny Theater Of Fiscal Puny-ism.
Mr. Obama is outraged --OUTRAGED! -- that a government agency devoted to efficiencies and value-for-dollar-spent should fritter away $822,751. [We brace against the shock wave of outrage.] But flushing $6.5B down the crapper for "green investments", well, hey, them's the breaks.
"A model for the policies that we’re encouraging."Posted by Damian at April 7, 2012 03:30 AM