GSA staff told to do better at reporting abuses

General Services Administration employees, still reeling from the 10-day-old scandal over lavish spending at a 2010 Las Vegas training conference, received a letter from their acting boss and the agency inspector general directing them to do better at reporting abusive spending in the future.

“One of the more troubling aspects of this incident is that people did not report this improper conduct or take action to stop it,” acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini and IG Brian Miller wrote in a letter sent at 1:00 p.m. Wednesday. “We would like to change this moving forward. There are many good, conscientious and hard-working people in GSA, and, when no one raises a concern about potential fraud, waste and abuse, the reputation of the GSA as a whole is tarnished.”

Employees were told that if they “see something that doesn’t seem right” they should discuss it with colleagues, their supervisor or higher-ups in the organization. “You may also anonymously raise any issue with the OIG, our partner in ensuring that our ultimate customers, the American taxpayers, get the best value for their tax dollars,” the letter stated. “You may call or email the 24-hour, anonymous hotline at [redacted]. We will not tolerate any retaliatory actions against anyone who raises concerns.”

The letter ended by noting “it is time now to move forward and begin to repair the damage to our agency’s reputation.”

It went out as at least four congressional committees are planning hearings for next week on GSA's wasteful spending. On Tuesday night, the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee issued a release saying it had information that one high-level GSA employee who attended the October 2010 Western Regional training conference apparently had billed the government at a higher-than-usual rate for an extra vacation night in the hotel.

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