Honestly, opening the newspaper each day for a blogger is like, as Cousin Eddy expressed it to Clark Griswold, “the gift that keeps on giving.”
In the Washington Post yesterday, the U.S. Court of Appeals 9th Circuit has a spirited defense of flying about 150 judges and about the same number of support staff to Maui for a conference just weeks after the GSA Las Vegas conference report produced national outrage over federal spending.
Remember, the 9th circuit includes Hawaii, but only 5 justices work there. So rather than flying those 5 from Hawaii to the mainland, the … Read the rest
I believe the phrase is: “the blogosphere blew up” when describing a palpable response to an issue. Such has been the case around this topic of poor employee performance in the federal government.
To be honest, the tenor of some of the comments has been troubling, so let’s break it down and look behind the obvious to see what’s there.
The ball started rolling. The blog got posted in various places, and the … Read the rest
I groaned last night as the news came over the car radio: The 9th Circuit court is in the spotlight for scheduling a conference in – really, I am not making this up – Hawaii.
After all the fall-out from the GSA Las Vegas conference, which is going to last for a while, we now have a million-dollar event on the big island. The political machinery has started up, with several senators issuing indignant statements, etc.
What can we learn from this? In particular, what can supervisors learn from it? Here are the take-aways:
The latest development in the GSA conference scandal is a letter from new acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini directing employees to do more to flag abuses in spending.
Govexec.com quoted the letter as saying: “One of the more troubling aspects of this incident is that people did not report this improper conduct or take action to stop it. 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.”
This is … Read the rest
One of the more amazing aspects of the GSA conference imbroglio is the departure of the head of the agency and several other high-ranking officials – with one strange exception noted below.
Why is this surprising? For all the widespread calls for accountability all the way to the top, the fact is that when a big problem occurs, those in positions of responsibility often do two things.
In the private sector, this is now a well-honed P.R. … Read the rest
Gallup CEO Jim Clifton and a colleague have published an article that pulls no punches about low morale in DHS.
To really grasp all that this unflinching honest and refreshing article is saying, you have to accept a few things, which are bitter medicine for many old-school supervisors whose employees wreak havoc on survey results. And the only reason they should think about the points being made is if they care about results, retention, employee commitment, initiative and the reputation of their agency. That’s all.
Here are the keys:
So it turns out that the lavish spending at the GSA conference was actually the subject of some jokes at the conference, including a video made by an employee — who won a conference award for the project.
Supervisors have to listen to employee comments on many levels – for technical information, questions, creative ideas, rumors, warnings of problems and sometimes just a need to connect and get back on the same page.
One of the most interesting forms of communication in offices is humor. There’s a reason Dilbert, The Office and the must-see movie Office Space hit major and … Read the rest
As the fallout from the GSA conference scandal continues, the Washington Post this morning had two seemingly unrelated and very different stories that actually — when you think about it — were saying the same thing.
Story number 1: It may seem far from the topic du jour, but a journalist’s group met yesterday to talk about how Watergate would have been covered today. (Shockingly, a Yale student said all you would need to do is Google “Nixon’s secret fund,” and up would pop all the information. Yikes.)
“Woodstein” was there, and Woodward said the internet is not the … Read the rest
With the blogosphere and other media blowing up over the GSA Vegas conference scandal, one has to wonder what happened along the way to this already infamous event.
Did anyone sense that anything was amiss? Apparently so, as some managers were warned they needed to play down the talk and internal publicity about the conference, advice apparently unheeded.
“Accountability” is a big word now. Usually, organizations think about this word in terms of employees performing – are they meeting their Deliverables, deadlines and outputs.
It runs the other way, too. What is the accountability of supervisors who catch wind of … Read the rest
This just in: three officials at GSA have resigned or had their employment terminated, and one has been placed on leave following an IG report detailing a lot of spending ($835,000) at a 2010 Las Vegas conference for 300 employees.
If my math is right, that’s almost $2,800.00 per employee, and as DC flights right now on Expedia are just a bit over $200.00, round trip, that’s a whole lot of money left over for conferencing.
Wait. The six planning trips took some of the money out of the kitty, but still, some serious coin left over forSinCity, including $3,200 … Read the rest