Does anybody remember or even care about the GSA scandal of 2012? That wild partying which somehow was brought into the election campaign.
As I predicted from day one and many times thereafter, the real scandal would come later and it will be well hidden. My predictions were accurate. I don’t see any congressional showboating while GSA makes the original scandal look like child’s play.
In my very first GovLoop blog about the so-called GSA scandal, posted April 9, 2012, I stated at the very end, “When it’s all over, those wrongfully accused or denied due process will litigate against GSA, and GSA will eventually pay dearly for it all to go away. It will be far more than the dollars allegedly ‘wasted’ by the conference. You won’t read about that in the media.”
I’ve since done several blogs on the subject, including a blistering “final” one on March 19, 2014, which I affectionately called, “How to Highlight Stupidity.” I also posted three You Tube extravaganzas. I’ve deleted two of them simply because I later thought I might have exceeded the boundaries of good taste with them, but the original one remains.
I hate to say “I told you so” but almost everything I said has come to fruition – in my blogs and in my You Tube productions. Isn’t it strange that the announcement that the two politically motivated wrongful terminations were upheld on appeal was made on Christmas Eve, when absolutely nobody would see it?
As MSPB confirmed, the GSA cases against Paul Prouty and James Weller were frivolous.
The absurdity of GSA continually pressing this issue was highlighted again, not by me, as I did in my previous posting, but by the MSPB administrative judge. By reading the decision, 2014 MSPB 90, the first conclusion is that it is a complete embarrassment to GSA, its attorneys and the inspector general who made unsubstantiated conclusions in the now infamous report.
What has this cost the taxpayers?
The questionable costs in the now renowned Las Vegas conference were at maximum, in the $200,000 range. Yes, there were some bad business decisions and very questionable (but not criminal) judgment. Those responsible have paid the price and are gone or were disciplined.
The cases against Prouty and Weller were clearly a political charade based upon the documented White House order for “bold, swift, forceful action to hold those responsible accountable.” Although not in the news release, the White House might have added “at high levels and at any cost, this being an election year.” The overreaction from certain members of Congress wanting to see action was mind boggling. Where are they now?
This started as an internal power play and a vendetta which got out of hand and took a life of its own.
I’m not blowing my horn, but I was in the same job as these two guys so I know how the drill works.
Oh, yes, the costs.
I said $200,000 in questionable costs which triggered this nonsense. GSA is now responsible for back salaries of two SES employees for 2 ½ years and counting. You do the math. During much of this time period GSA has paid per diem for temporary fill-ins for their positions. Hmmm. $200+ per day for two people for 2 ½ years. Check out the math on that.
Finally, a few thousand hours of GSA attorneys’ costs as well as reimbursement to the two for their attorneys’ fees. This for a case which had no merit at the start.
Whichever way you slice and dice this, it comes to over $1 million of taxpayer money squandered. What inspector general is going to write about this?
This issue has pretty much gone away already. It’s old news and nobody really cares anymore. The country has more pressing issues to worry about. But if GSA is true to form, just to keep these two from returning to work, they will stupidly take it to another level of appeal and eventually make it go away by “settling” for a substantial sum (add close to another million to the previous figure), thereby buying a guaranteed silence as part of the settlement so that there are no books or blogs and no retribution against those who participated and aided in this fiasco.
Now, I am a mere humble retired servant of the people but I’m astute enough to know that logic and politics never mix. It’s like a family feud that goes on for so long that nobody remembers what started it, but it must be continued. The initiators of this foolishness are gone but the feud continues.
I would bet that if a true audit were to be done on the post-conference fiasco, not a grade C term paper like the original inspector general report, the real scandal and waste of money would make the original look like chump change.
Our representatives in Congress were apparently also shielded from the news of this GSA embarrassment because I don’t see any staged outrage from Mr. Issa, Mr. Cummings, Mr. Denham, Mr. Mica or Ms. Boxer, all of whom put on a great display of bad acting when the original non-scandal broke.
For links to more pithy commentary, check out my website, www.thegovernmentman.com.
Happy New Year, my friends.