So, are you familiar with the GSA? I wasn’t initially but I sure am now. Check this out – the General Services Administration (GSA) is the government’s landlord and procurement manager. It’s supposed to set the standard for government efficiency and cost-cutting. Let me reiterate just in case you missed it: the GSA is supposed to SET THE STANDARD FOR GOVERNMENT EFFICIENCY AND COST-CUTTING.
Ha, ha… now, read this: according to a detailed Federal Management Deficiency Report by GSA Inspector General Brian Miller, the GSA held a biennial convention in Las Vegas in 2010 with a cost totaling over $822,751. The event was over the top to say the least and even included a mind reader who was paid several thousand dollars. Geesh, I’d pay that mind reader several thousand dollars to tell me what exactly he saw in those clouded noggins!
As another example of GSA waste, more than $100,000 was used just to plan an additional four-day conference in Las Vegas for 300 people. For this ‘smaller’ conference, the agency spent $75,000 to rent twenty-four bikes for a team-building exercise and one of the receptions cost $31,000 — more than $100 a person.
The GSA’s over spending has led to the appointment of a new director, as well as strict scrutiny to be placed upon all upcoming federal government agency events, conferences and conventions. The report has forced three top Washington officials out of their jobs, and four more have been suspended. It amounts to a huge embarrassment for the administration. The report is jaw-dropping. It details page after page of over-the-top spending by the GSA.
Taxpayer watchdog groups are appalled.
“You’d think it’s some birthday party for some spoiled 8 year old instead of a federal agency meeting,” observed Steve Ellis, of Taxpayers for Common Sense.
President Obama isn’t happy, either. His chief of staff said the president is outraged. He actually started a program — with the vice president in charge — to cut government waste. The president even asked agencies to review money spent on conferences. (Whoa, whoa, whoa… pull that bus over to the side of the road! The vice president, you mean Joe Biden is in charge??!! The guy who pitched Solyndra and green energy initiatives as ways out of the current recession!!!)
“One of the commitments I made to the American people,” Mr. Obama said in November, “was that we would do a better job here in Washington at rooting out wasteful spending,” Mr. Obama has said.
Martha Johnson, the head of the GSA, was supposed to help the president keep that commitment.
At a conference in November, she said, “People are coming in with a lot of energy to figure out ways of saving money, saving resources, getting rid of any waste in the system.”
Instead, Johnson has now stepped down, two others have been fired, and four others suspended, leaving the government with a mess to clean up.
“These are the sorts of things that resonate and stick with people, and it makes them mad and it should make them mad,” said Ellis.
One person it’s sure to stick with — Mitt Romney. You can expect to hear plenty about it on the campaign trail.