Party Animals at the General Services Administration

Since the GSA scandal broke, it’s been a non-stop circus of employee-made videos bragging about lavish vacations, expensive meals, trips to Vegas and various other sundries  at taxpayer expense.  The GSA spent around $830,000 in taxpayer money on a three-day internal conference in 2010 featuring a mind reader, commemorative coin displays and $75,000 training exercises.

A timeline:

The morning of Monday, October 25, and all of Friday, October 29, were travel days.

GSA published a notice of its planned procurement on February 2, 2009. The subsequent conference planning meetings included the following:

March ’09 Five GSA employees conducted a “scouting trip” to visit nine Las Vegas-area hotels.

March ’09 15 GSA employees returned to visit two of the nine hotels again, staying at the M Resort and the Ritz-Carlton.

August ’09 Seven GSA employees stayed at the M Resort for a planning meeting

November ’09 A second WRC planning meeting, attended by 11 GSA employees, was held at the M Resort following Region 9’s leadership council meeting.

March ’10 16 GSA employees stayed at the M Resort again for a planning meeting.

June ’10 Nine GSA employees attended another planning meeting, this one at a Marriott Hotel in Denver, Colorado.

August ’10 21 GSA employees attended a conference planning meeting at the M Resort.

October ’10 Thirty-one GSA employees traveled to the M Resort for a “dry run” of the conference to be held later that month.

These off-site meetings cost the government over $130,000, including:

•A total of $100,405.37 in employee travel costs.
•Significant spending on catered food and beverages during the various pre-conference trips to the M Resort, totaling over $30,000 for the scouting trip, four pre-planning meetings, and dry run. These charges included $57.72 per head lunches ($44 for lunch plus beverages and a 22% gratuity) and $48.80 breakfasts ($40 plus a 22% gratuity).
•Other expenses, such as audio-visual services and printing costs.

GSA chief Martha Johnson resigned, and David Foley, one of the stars in the videos, has been placed on administrative leave. So far, a total of eight GSA employees had been disciplined, fired or resigned.

Below is one video starring titled “American Idle”, starring Hank Terlaje, a soon-to-be former GSA employee and Congressional hearing witness:

He sings: “I wanna be commissioner so frickin’ bad,” and later offers his “love to the taxpayer.” The refrain goes, “Every time I close my eyes, I see my name on Federal Times.”

More at the Wall Street Jounal.

Here’s the GSA employee video, “Going Green”, paid for by us.

All of them got an award at the GSA’s October 2010 Western Region Conference in Las Vegas, during the “Capstone Dinner Event.”

Congressional hearings are  scheduled for next week, and it will be the usual dog-and-pony show, with no real overhaul of a wasteful government department.  Congress itself needs a fucking overhaul with all of the incredible waste of taxpayer money on pork and earmarks.

2 thoughts on “Party Animals at the General Services Administration”

  1. 100k for travel and 30k for hotel bills?

    I think someone got that wrong. Or, they flew and only stayed one night ….

    Wasn’t this just after Obama said Vegas was a bad place to have meetings?


    1. Wayne,
      They took that “what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas” saying a bit too literally.

      SFC MAC

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