GSA spent $7.7 million on four years of virtual employee travel

nopporn/Shutterstock.com

The General Services Administration spent $7.7 million during the past four years to transport its long-distance telecommuters to meetings and conferences, new documents reveal.

Reports first obtained by CNN and the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee show that 60 percent of the 379 workers in GSA’s virtual employee program traveled to conferences and meetings, mostly on cross-country flights. GSA is reviewing the program after CNN reported in August that an employee who worked for a regional office in Kansas City, Mo., while living in Honolulu, racked up $24,000 in travel expenses on the government’s dime. The agency spent millions more on virtual employees during the past three years, CNN said.

According to recent GSA records, which CNN obtained through Freedom of Information Act requests, the employee who traveled most often, a construction project manager from Kansas, went to New York 58 times in 2011 and 2012 at a cost of more than $99,000; that employee is no longer with GSA. Another employee living in Miami and based out of Washington racked up $143,881 in travel costs within four years, CNN reported. As with other telework initiatives, GSA’s virtual employee program was initially an attempt to rein in costs by freeing up office space.

The new findings represent another wrinkle in the intense scrutiny on the agency’s problematic conference and travel spending, which began after reports surfaced earlier this year that revealed GSA spent more than $820,000 on a Las Vegas conference in 2010.

At the urging of Congress, the agency has stepped up its efforts to curb travel spending. GSA has since reined in its travel and conferences expenses and expects to save more than $11 million from April through September by canceling conferences and freezing travel reimbursement rates.

Responding to House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., GSA disclosed in June that 95 virtual employees, including a dozen in supervisory positions, billed the agency for $750,000 between October 2010 and June 2011.

GSA has pledged to continue to look at their virtual employment policies. A spokeswoman told Government Executive last week that the agency is implementing “stringent controls to drastically curb spending on travel, conferences and events for all employees, including those who work from home full time.”

(Image via nopporn/Shutterstock.com)

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.