The New GSA Scandal – or How to Highlight Stupidity

I hate to blow my own horn but all those nasty things I said about the created GSA scandal of 2012 in my GovLoop blogs and You Tube extravaganzas turned out to be true. The presidential election is long gone and there is no more political rhetoric. As predicted, the real GSA scandal took place later and there is more to come.

I have said all along that the so-called scandal of 2012 was a more a case of bad business judgment, which was pounced on by political opportunists, both in and out of GSA. The guilty parties have already been punished. It is the innocent parties that have suffered as collateral damage for nothing more than political showmanship.

In my first and second You Tube postings, and in my blogs, I predicted that the real scandal will come later, after the election and with no media attention or political grandstanding. This has happened as if it was scripted. Other than Federal News Radio, media coverage has been almost nil.

The two senior executive careerists who were wrongfully terminated amidst much political hoopla and the clearly documented White House proclamation of “bold, swift. forceful action,” have won their MSPB appeals and were ordered reinstated with back pay.

Now we learn that GSA, in order to further highlight its stupidity, chose to appeal these MSPB decisions which, if you read them, I’m sure you will agree were an embarrassment to the agency.

The Prouty and Weller cases will cost GSA millions. It has already cost two years’ back salary for both – so far; incalculable legal costs; per diem for the people acting in their places; etc., etc. Both are currently on paid administrative leave while this plays out. Based on history, it will go on for another year. My next prediction is that there will be a huge (sealed) cash settlement at the end for all of this to go away quietly. There will be no press release.

It doesn’t take more than a room temperature intelligence to do the math on what this is costing the taxpayers. I haven’t noticed any camera-loving congressional reps chiming in for a while.

I might add that in going back to the inspector general report about the infamous GSA conference which generated this nonsense, while highlighting that the conference cost $823,000 (yes, I agree it’s too much money) , the costs in question were in the range of $200,000 at most – probably less. By government scandal standards, this is chump change.

These two cases were a pure political show with no merit. The MSPB decisions were perfectly clear yet GSA will not admit a mistake and continues this charade. Paul Prouty and Jim Weller were among the most dedicated and professional people in GSA and this humiliating episode is an injustice to both.

In the most recent event, Mr. Weller was advised of GSA’s misguided decision to appeal the MSPB decision in the form of a letter from one Sylvia Hernandez, Acting Regional Administrator in Fort Worth. I don’t know Ms. Hernandez, other than she is a career person, no doubt thrust into this position with a gun to her head. The letter is a total mockery of justice, in effect placing Mr. Weller under house arrest and actually forbidding his entry to federal property, even if he was coming to pay his taxes. What I can surmise with reasonable assurance is that Ms. Hernandez knows the facts of the case very well but succumbed to politicos and chose to sign her name to the letter anyway. This is a betrayal of her fellow careerists.

I don’t know who in GSA is responsible for continuing this nonsense. All I can say is that this is a shameful disgrace. The easiest way to make it go away is to comply with the MSPB decisions.

For more of my meanderings, click on the blog and You Tube links on my website.

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