We all had a good larf and vomit when the GSA — which is supposed to be managing all our nation’s inventory — proved itself to be grotesquely spendy on stupid nonsense earlier this spring, spending almost a million dollars of our bread on things like commemorative coins and team-building bicycles (not to mention a hundred large just to plan the conference). But has the continuing probe found all manner of other atrocious money management decisions besides the Vegas hot-tub-athon? In a word: Jesus Christ.
Let us review what the GSA head got ousted for last time, in this bullshit excuse for a Vegas conference:
The planning of the three-day conference itself: $100,000
24 bicycles, for a team-building (and bike-building!) exercise: $75,000
Commemorative coins for each conference attendee: $6,325
Yearbooks for each conference attendee: $8,130
3 “semi-private in-room catered parties,” heh: $5,600
Commemorative canteens and carabiners: $2,781.50
Commemorative shirts: $3,749.40
We’ve taken out the food costs, because hey, people gotta eat. But “yearbooks,” you are preposterous.
So, what’s our update to this unseemliness? MORE UNSEEMLINESS, of course! Bring the blood and guts, McClatchy:
First it was a nearly $1 million conference in Las Vegas, featuring $7,000 worth of sushi, a mind reader and a clown.
Now it turns out that just weeks after that lavish affair two years ago, the federal General Services Administration spent $20,000 on drumsticks – the kind used for hitting drums – and nearly $30,000 for “time temperature picture frames” for an awards ceremony in nearby Virginia, according to its Office of Inspector General.
The ceremony, which appears to have involved two events at separate hotels, cost taxpayers $268,732, according to the initial findings, GSA Inspector General Brian Miller said in a letter Thursday to several members of Congress.
More than half of that money – $140,464 – went to a public relations, marketing and advertising firm for “coordination and logistical management,” Miller wrote.
Besides the 4,000 drumsticks, which were used for a drum band team-building exercise, the expenses included $42,000 for venue charges, a violinist, a guitarist, and food for 200 people; about $42,000 in travel costs for 49 attendees; $7,800 for 68 shadowbox frames; $8,600 for an “appearance” by someone called “Agent X;” and $10,000 for “Mission Possible Agent X management.”
First, what is up with these inane “team-building” exercises? You can’t just do the trust fall like every other middle-management schmo? Can’t do a little firewalk? Can’t — we don’t know — go “team build” by working on a team ladling up chili at an Obamaville soup kitchen?
Second: GSA folk, you should probably learn this: $8,600 for whatever “Agent X” is is not the market rate. Nor is $10,000 to his management. Unless he is the DJ at your rave, and he brought the drugs. Otherwise, you get you a nice corporate comic (it’s cool, they don’t work blue) for about $600 — let’s even call it $1,500 if you want to make a point of paying people nicely without being fucking ridiculous about it.