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Enough, already!

Posted by Vern Edwards, 02 August 2012 · 3,474 views

I’m going to show some self-restraint here and not say that I hate Congress.

This morning’s Government Executive email reported that some representative from Florida on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee "spoke out" about GSA bonuses and conference spending -- “GSA hammered on outrageous bonuses, conference spending.” His complaints were based on reports by some TV station.

Enough. It is true that the agency was mismanaged in some ways for many years and wasted money. We have every right to be mad about that. We’ve gotten the news and the point. However, GSA does important work for the government and does it reasonably well given the amount of work that it does (which is not to say that it cannot do better). It makes no sense to destroy the agency through continued relentless attacks. The government needs GSA. Continued grandstanding about bonuses and conferences serves no good purpose and is not in the government’s best interests.

A new GSA Administrator has been appointed and seems to be working hard to fix things. He should be allowed to do his work without having the agency plowed under by grandstanding politicians who are obviously enjoying their brief days in the sun. There are thousands of decent, hardworking people at GSA who did their jobs and had nothing to do with creating bonus programs and setting up conferences, and there is no reason to utterly destroy whatever morale they may have left by piling on. Many of them are just starting out in their careers and might be forever turned off. Surely, given the state of transportation and infrastructure in this country, the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure has more important things to do.

GSA is not the only agency that has mismanaged the public’s money. Nextgov reported today that the Defense Department “quietly” shut down the Joint Tactical Radio System Program Office in San Diego, which reportedly spent $15 billion over 15 years without producing a workable product. The program has been transferred to the Army. If that report is correct, DOD "wasted" an average of one billion dollars per year for 15 years before someone decided that enough was enough. Who has been fired for that fiasco?

I have never before written this kind of blogpost. I don’t see myself as a white knight defender of government agencies and employees and have often been severely critical of them myself. But this thing about GSA has gotten to be just too much.

Presidents should be more careful about the political appointments they make. Investigations should continue until all of the mismanagement has been brought to light. Mismanagement culprits should be identified and fired if they aren't already gone. Criminals should be prosecuted. Right. But stop trashing GSA. Believe me, they are sorry about what happened.

Sorry for the outburst. (Not really.) OK, I've burned the soapbox.

I was preparing something nasty this morning myself. However, I ran out of time.

The Committee you mention has jurisdiction over public buildings--only--for GSA.

I hope to find time this afternoon.
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We all should be angry. Just the other day the Washington Post reported on the poor condition of the nation's power grid. It's not as bad as India but according to the American Society of Civil Engineering an estimated $100 Billion is needed NOW to make repairs and improvements. This is the type of national critical issue that Congress should be working on!!! But alas Congress is off on a five week break.
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