Wednesday Waste: Bonuses at the GSA
Bonuses are normal in the workplace. They reward a good work ethic, dedication and creativity on projects. By their nature, bonuses are used by management in any company to reinforce behavior that supervisors would like to continue. So what does it say about the GSA when 50 of its employees received between $500 and $1500 dollars in bonuses to plan the 2010 Westerns Region Conference that wasted $822,751 dollars of taxpayer money? It says a lot.
It says the GSA has a problem when it comes to spending, and not with just one “over the top” conference. The GSA spent $323,855 in 2006 and $655,025 in 2008 for the same conference and many of the same employees for a grand total of $978,880 dollars in just 2 years. Acting administrator Dan Tangherlini called the 2010 conference, “completely unacceptable,” and has promised for greater scrutiny of expenses involving, “travel and or substantial expenditures of public funds,” but in an agency where a single conference over 3 years has cost taxpayers nearly $2 million dollars, can we really expect for change?
The GSA conference in Las Vegas is not only the example in history of a federal agency wasting money. It is unfortunately, only the most recent outrageous example of spending in Washington that got caught. The real solution to this kind of outrageous spending is obvious. Spend less. Washington ran a deficit of $1.3 trillion dollars in 2010 and I can think of one place where cuts could have been made.