Orlando, FL (PRWEB) June 26, 2012
The General Services Administration is coming under fire for continuing to award bonuses to employees under investigation or suspension in conjunction with the recent awards ceremony scandal, according to an article on The Federal Times.
Senator Claire McCaskill has discovered that since 2008, the GSA has paid out $1.1 million in bonuses to 84 employees who have been under inspector general investigation. The Federal Times has also reported that 87% of GSA employees received bonuses last year averaging at around $1,200, more than any other federal agency.
The increased scrutiny of GSA’s spending practices and abuses comes after an April 2nd inspector general’s report regarding extravagant and wasteful spending at the Western Regions Conference in Las Vegas during 2010, an event whose price tag totaled $823,000. The report resulted in changes in GSA’s leadership as well as numerous Congressional hearings.
According to the 2012 Management Deficiency Report by GSA Inspector General Brian Miller, the conference expenditures ranged from $130,000 in scouting trips to over $146,000 on food and beverage catering.
The WRC was held for 300 West Coast GSA employees at the opulent M Resort and Casino just south of Las Vegas. According to Miller’s report,”GSA failed to follow contracting regulations in many of the procurements associated with the WRC and wasted taxpayer funds.” GSA did not comply with the government-approved lodging rate of $93/night for traveling federal employees and even made numerous concessions to the hotel to obtain a lodging price reduction. Conference planning was also excessive and wasteful with GSA employees conducting two “scouting trips,” five off-site planning meetings and a “dry run.” Six of the planning events took place at the M Resort with travel expenses totaling over $100,000 solely on pre-conference planning.
GSA also incurred excessive and impermissible costs for food and beverages at the WRC, totaling $146,527. Miller’s report also points out GSA incurred questionable miscellaneous expenses including mementos for attendees, purchases of clothing for GSA employees, tuxedo rentals, as well as the hiring of a clown and mind reader for the main convention event. Event planners were also told to make the conference “over the top” and to make it bigger and better than previous conferences. Several suggestions by GSA employees to make budget cuts and to minimize expenses were ignored.
To stem further bonus awards, the House Appropriations Committee has passed a spending bill which would prohibit further GSA employees being investigated from receiving bonuses.
“It is sad to see another example in which those in charge of utilizing public funds have once again abused their power and wasted valuable resources,” commented Eric Knellinger, President of US Federal Contractor Registration.
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