7:44 am, May 26, 2015

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  • Culture varies across the government
    Bill Samuel
    Are there other cases of unacceptable behavior than those recently publicized? Almost certainly. Are these behaviors typical in the Federal government? I don't think so. Different agencies, and different offices within agencies, have different cultures. The Federal government is a very large institution. There have always been pockets where the institutional culture is very bad. Remember a few years ago when it was found an office in Denver supposed to regulate oil and gas companies was actually holding sex parties with those they were supposed to regulate. However, I don't think those cultures are at all typical of the Federal government. I think as common as lax cultures are cultures where they are overly restrictive because they fear having an appearance of doing something wrong even though it is all proper. For example, I know of an instance where travel to a professional conference which is appropriate and routine for persons in that profession to attend is being prohibited because the professional associaiton has chosen a location which is a frequent vacation location. It has been made clear that the managers do not think the travel is inappropriate, but they are fearful of an appearance problem. And most offices are somewhere inbetween. They make reasonable efforts to keep costs down and not to hold conferences which aren't fully justified. Over the last year, before the GSA scandal broke, agencies have been tightening up conference regulations and encouraging offices to consider video conferences instead of conference involving travel. Some agencies, like EPA, have promulgated regulations which are much more restrictive than government-wide policy. Most Federal employees are dedicated, and want to do their work efficiently and with due attention to holding down costs. There really is a public service mentality in most of the Federal government. I think you will find that excesses are far more common in the corporate sector than in the Federal government. Some practices are just routinely different. For example, most corporation hold holiday parties where all the expenses are covered by the corporation, whereas in the Federal government those attending the parties pay all costs out of their own pockets.
    Bill Samuel Silver Spring, MD 20906
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Mr. Shaw's flawed logic
    Mr. Shaw recounts a story where the police came to his school & advised parents that if drugs are found, their children have been using for a while. He uses that story to make the assumption that if some feds are "abusers", then all feds are "abusers". Well, using his logic, the police back in 6th grade should have assumed that he, Mike Shaw, was a drug user. Because, if one 6th grader is using, then all 6th graders are users. People need to STOP trying to make assumptions about groups of people using flawed logic. A proper assumtion from his story would have been that this was not the first abuse by the GSA workers and Secret Service personnel. They probably had crossed the line before and gotten away with it. That is why we conduct investigations into these incidents. Don't hang all feds with the same rope.
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  • I don't see much
    There is waste and abuse in government, don't get me wrong,I know that. There is also waste and abuse in the private sector. Look at the huge bonuses and bonus trips for AIG with government bailout money...............But, I don't see it much. We had a Continuing Education Class about 3 years ago (last face to face training we have had) and had probably 150 rooms in the hotel (it was for 5 states of employees), we used 4 small meeting rooms and 1 large one. There were 300 people, all CPA, CPA qualified or within 2 classes of being CPA qualified (have to be to have the job at least that minimum.) We paid per dium for the rooms and got no breakfast.........Another groups were there at the same time. Two were private sector who had breakfast buffetts and snacks and coffee, etc. served to their rooms. One had a coninential breakfast, and when we made a smart comment in passing about it being nice to be private sector and Feds don't get those perks, they laughed and said they were Feds. Shock to me. I remember the Agency, but they too were professionals.....So, I don't see much. I wish they would spend more money and get us better computers so we could do our jobs more efficiently. That is the waste I see.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Waste?
    The computers are decent for the most part, but the programs are a real pain.----You sound like you are in LMSB or whatever it is called now as most are CPA's. At least you were able to get the license. I passed the test, but could not get a license because I did not work for a CPA until much later. This CPA was a real idiot. By the time I worked for a quality manager with a CPA, it was much too late.------I thought you were paid a per diem allowance to do with as you wish. Since I never went away overnight, by my choice, I cannot say whether per diem was enough to eat 3 meals per day. I prefer the computer CPE as long as they will give me decent and challenging courses that count towards CPA CPE (I know that might not make sense, but the courses are good
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • GSA again
    deployed decoy
    In the old days. If the lodging (or airline) provided a meal, that was deducted from the MIE. Yes anyone can use room service. If that is included in the hotel bill however, it gets real close to fraud. Since we dont know the facts Linda talks of. I will just say appearances are everything. Or did those folks not take the required annual ethics class. Then of course becasue party of pressure from above GSA changed the rules. Free food is now OK (again) to still get full MIE. Not to mention the 1,000,000+ miles I would have had, if I would have broke the law on sky miles while congress did and they changed that law when they got caught.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Daily money for food etc. while on travel
    Contrary to your situations, I rarely, if ever, heard of free food. So full daily money for food and incidentals is appropriate. No laws are broken and there is no fraud if free food is given.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • What Really Characterizes the Government
    The issue that characterizes the Government is not widespread illegality. As a 38-year Fed, since retired and now a 4-year Fed contractor, what I have observed and participated in as have most all Feds and Fed contractors are over-processings, where what is done is multi-stepped and multi-reviewed, thereby introducing multi-personnel into the process. Some may consider that wasteful bloat, but the justification is separation of duties and quality control.
    { "Agree":"1","Funny":"1","Insightful":"1","Disagree":"-1","Offensive":"-1","Troll":"-1" }
  • Before Congress writes the checks...
    Lisa Lisa
    I wonder, when agencies-whether large or small, go before Congress to ask for the money each year, what happens in those meetings? Are there even meetings? How do agencies get their money? Do they go before sub-comittees and have a pow-wow to review monies spent or monies needed? Are those that GIVE the money asking tough questions? Are they looking at money trails? In order for agencies large or small to remain honest in accountability of spending, wouldnt someone look at the checkbook? I mean, if I was to give money to an entity year after year, wouldnt I want to see how they are spending it? Is there someone that spills over the line items? After all, if it were my money (a taxpayer). would I want to see how you are spending my money? Or are they satisfied with only the bottom line? Are they looking at the small numbers as well as the overall big numbers? Just seems ludicrous that agencies are given money and no fine tooth comb accountability is done. This to me would be a reason why a Vegas "convention" happened on my dime. Its no secret that year after year that agencies spend every last dollar so that they get that same money or more the next. Doesnt anyone look at that too?
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