Welcome Guest! To enable all features please Login or Register.

Notification

Icon
Error

Inside the News


Post your thoughts and opinions here about current federal employee related news topics. This forum is for U.S. federal government news topics only -- specifically, news that directly affects federal employees, their jobs, pay, benefits or other workplace issues.

Please refrain from posting topics on general current events, U.S. or world politics, etc. FederalSoup is a FREE forum site dedicated to serving the needs of federal employees, so keeping forum topics focused to those readers and members here is what makes this community valuable. Thanks for your cooperation.

To read today's top news stories on federal employee pay, benefits, retirement, job rights and other workplace issues visit FederalDaily.com.

Options
Go to last post Go to first unread
Fed1969  
#1 Posted : Monday, April 02, 2012 10:54:17 PM(UTC)
Fed1969

Rank: Senior Member

Groups: Registered
Joined: 10/28/2010(UTC)
Posts: 3,333

By msnbc.com staff

The head of the U.S. agency that provides products and services to support the federal government resigned Monday, after the agency’s inspector general reported excessive spending at a training conference in Las Vegas that included line items such as "mind reader," and "clown," according to a story first reported by The Washington Post.

www.facebook.com%2Fpages%2Fmsnbccom-US-News%2F324476340923267&width=292&colorscheme=light&show_faces=false&border_color&stream=false&header=false&height=62" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">

GSA administrator Martha Johnson tendered herletter of resignation to the White House Monday and two of her deputies were forced out — Public Buildings Service chief Robert A. Peck and Johnson's top adviser, Stephen Leeds, White House officials told the Post. Four GSA employees who organized the four-day conference have been placed on administrative leave pending further action.

The report released Monday by the inspector general details the outlays at a GSA training conference for 300 employees held at a luxury hotel near Las Vegas in October 2010 that cost more than $835,000.


The costs included $147,000 in airfare and rooms at the hotel for six planning trips by a team of organizers. They also paid $3,200 for a mind reader and $75,000 on a training exercise to build a bicycle and $6,300 on commemorative coin sets.

In her resignation letter, Johnson said that the agency had made a "significant mis-step," in which "taxpayer dollars were squandered." She said she had launched an internal review, taken disciplinary action and instituted tough new controls to prevent similar problems in the future.

She resigned, "so that the agency can move forward at this time with a fresh leadership team," according to her letter.

Johnson was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate as head of the GSA on Feb. 5, 2010.

The GSA manages contracts for government needs such as transportation, office space and communications. It is also tasked with developing cost-minimizing policies for the federal government.

White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew said in a statement that President Obama learned of the inspector general’s findings prior to his recent trip to South Korea, "and he was outraged by the excessive spending, question questionable dealings with contractors, and disregard for taxpayer dollars."

"He called for all those responsible to be held fully accountable given that these actions were irresponsible and entirely inconsistent with the expectations that he has set as president," the statement said.

The Repulican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee responded to the news with a statement linking the spending scandal to administration policies.

"After President Obama lectured the private sector about not wasting funds on Las Vegas conventions, it's hypocritical that such a large agency with critical management responsibilities across government would hold this luxurious conference at the height of the recession and even spend thousands on custom made coins touting the stimulus," said a statement from Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. 

"Employees congratulating themselves and promoting one of the most politically controversial initiatives of this Administration with taxpayer funds is indicative of the waste that exists in a bloated federal government."

More content from msnbc.com and NBC News:



rabbitdog99  
#2 Posted : Monday, April 02, 2012 11:21:35 PM(UTC)
rabbitdog99

Rank: Senior Member

Groups: Registered
Joined: 2/13/2008(UTC)
Posts: 396



Maybe this partying was just part of the administration's economic stimulus program.


spacecowboy  
#3 Posted : Wednesday, April 11, 2012 11:04:32 PM(UTC)
spacecowboy

Rank: Senior Member

Groups: Registered
Joined: 6/7/2011(UTC)
Posts: 308

I actually feel badly for the folks on tv doing the songs and dances. I have been in those "team" building seminars...and been told to do the same lame stuff...and of course, I did...because you have to do the "party line". So, I think that the news is being a bit harsh on those folks.
hearth  
#4 Posted : Wednesday, April 11, 2012 11:35:32 PM(UTC)
hearth

Rank: Senior Member

Groups: Registered
Joined: 2/19/2012(UTC)
Posts: 283

spacecowboy wrote:
I actually feel badly for the folks on tv doing the songs and dances. I have been in those "team" building seminars...and been told to do the same lame stuff...and of course, I did...because you have to do the "party line". So, I think that the news is being a bit harsh on those folks.


I don't feel sorry for them at all.  Even "team building" requires personal responsibility for actions taken.  During my career (34 years) I've been subjected to several "team building" sessions and have refused to take part in some of them, including travelling to a different town on taxpayers' dollars for lunch to celebrate birthdays and other events under the "team building" excuse.  My work unit consistently did this, and I was the only one who did not go because I didn't want to use up my leave for that purpose and could not go along with not taking leave (as the others did) because I felt it was going too far.
 
If they would have gone to lunch together in the same town that we work in and if we could have used only our lunch "hour" and not taken an extra hour for travel, I would have gone and claimed the time as lunch and not work hours. 

Was I considered an outcast?  In some ways, yes - but I did what I felt was right and that felt better to me than being part of a "team".  I survived and believe gained some respect from individuals who didn't agree completely with the action of the rest of the group but who also didn't have the guts to speak out or to defer from the "group think", which was a problem to begin with.  "Group think" has gotten many people in trouble, and it's not an excuse for doing something that is blatantly wrong.  People have to use their own heads and listen to their own consciences.
starkmojo  
#5 Posted : Wednesday, April 18, 2012 6:30:05 AM(UTC)
starkmojo

Rank: Groupie

Groups: Registered
Joined: 7/14/2011(UTC)
Posts: 48

It may be just me but as a person who does TDY nearly 90% of my work time but these are the guys who make sure I can never have a hotel with a kitchenette (GSA rates on lodging nearly always preclude stoves) that I can have $44/day for food and incidentals here in rural US (which is fine. I have never gone over, but it isnt exactly the lap of luxury either.) reading about these folks spending thousands on parties and such pisses me off. While on TDY if I have a beer with dinner I have to put it on my personal cc.

In my mind the ethos of government service is one set of rules for everyone- recently when Ambassador Locke was flying to China via Coach the Chinese were shocked- you know what he said "the government regulations require that I travel coach or pay the difference". If these folks were breaking their own rules I think that they should face the consequences.



scrapiron  
#6 Posted : Thursday, April 19, 2012 5:46:06 AM(UTC)
scrapiron

Rank: Advisor

Groups: Registered
Joined: 1/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 176

I don't know how they get away with it. I can't even get a travel approval to go 110 miles away for an Intern PDP requirement without having to nearly have a stroke explaining that the funds are already allocated for the year. It gets old after a while and I will be glad to be out of the Internship program and placed permanently. scrapiron2012-04-19 13:53:51
Scrappie
starkmojo  
#7 Posted : Thursday, April 19, 2012 8:12:28 PM(UTC)
starkmojo

Rank: Groupie

Groups: Registered
Joined: 7/14/2011(UTC)
Posts: 48

yeah I am headed to Huntsville for training and its  a town with no public transit to speak of and I am stuck without a car... go figure.



scrapiron  
#8 Posted : Friday, April 20, 2012 12:51:29 AM(UTC)
scrapiron

Rank: Advisor

Groups: Registered
Joined: 1/24/2011(UTC)
Posts: 176

Bet they won't approve a car rental either, right? You're supposed to walk, hitch-hike, or ride a bicycle, or telepathically transport yourself to the training. When I went on travel to Georgia, I had to rent a car on my own dime because the convention took place 15 miles from the hotel They had booked us in to. Guess what, the Hotel didn't provide transportation. Maybe you should take a cab and put it on your expense report, with the justification of no public transportation available, or Hotel shuttle. just save the reciepts for 7 years. Then the taxpayers, like we don't pay taxes, /sarcasm/Angry think we get a free ride because we work for the Government. It's the guys on the top that make those of us that work hard look bad and have to take the brunt of the cutbacks.
scrapiron2012-04-20 09:01:01
Scrappie
Rss Feed  Atom Feed
Users browsing this topic
Guest
Forum Jump  
You cannot post new topics in this forum.
You cannot reply to topics in this forum.
You cannot delete your posts in this forum.
You cannot edit your posts in this forum.
You cannot create polls in this forum.
You cannot vote in polls in this forum.


This page was generated in 1.246 seconds.