KATIE ZERR: ‘Washington Gone Wild’ is shameful
Recent headlines on the national front should have been prefaced with: Washington Gone Wild. Between the United States General Services Administration’s (GSA) more than $800,000 Las Vegas conference to the Secret Service debacle in Cartagena, Colombia, it seems no one is abiding by rules of conduct.
It is amazing to think how in these days of media technology people thought this type of reprehensible misconduct would go undetected?
It is one thing to have a government agency come under fire for overspending. It is another to have the GSA not only flaunt the excess, but ridicule the rules with their actions and in videos. But the employees were only following the lead of those who are in leadership positions in the agency.
According to the Associated Press, this is what the GSA spent nearly $1 million dollars on during their little party:
Planning the conference, $136,504; travel costs for pre-planning meetings, $100,405; more than $30,000 in pre-conference catering including lunch at $58 per person; conference catering, $146,527; $5,600 for three semi-private in-room parties, $79,511 for light refreshments and breakfast; $31,208 for a networking reception; $44 per head for daily breakfast; $30,208, or about $95 per person for reception and dinner.
The famous team-building exercise cost tax payers $75,000 and attendees were given T-shirts at $3,749; water bottles at $2,781; commemorative coins in velvet boxes at $6,325 and various other ridiculously expensive perks.
Taxpayers footed the bill for $7,000 on sushi at a networking reception and $3,200 for a session with a mind reader.
In a time when counties are on the verge of bankruptcy because of unadulterated spending of taxpayer money, it is amazing these idiots engaged in this kind of behavior. It is also amazing that it went on for so long without someone screaming from the rooftops.
One bright note in this debacle is that Congress is finally agreeing on something; this is unacceptable and someone needs to be held responsible.
But the worst of the worst has to be the Secret Service circus in Colombia.
Eleven Secret Service agents were recalled to the U.S. from Colombia and placed on administrative leave after a night of partying that allegedly ended with them bringing prostitutes back to their hotel from a strip club they were patronizing. At least 10 U.S. military personnel, including Green Berets, staying at the same hotel were also being investigated for their role in the alleged misconduct.
Secret Service agents and military personnel had been with at least 20 women in hotel rooms before President Barack Obama arrived in Colombia for a summit with Latin American leaders.
The people that we consider the best and who have the life of the President of the United States in their hands are caught fighting with hookers over $60 for services rendered.
It is understandable that those who work in incredibly stressful environments need to let go and blow off a little steam, but this so over the top it is hard to believe.
We cannot be so naive as to believe it doesn’t happen, but the situation and the timing is what is mind-boggling and shameful.
Where is the common sense in these people who are supposed to be adults?
Has the social environment that “rules apply to everyone except me” become so acceptable that these people believed they were entitled to this fun on our buck?
One might think the budget of the Secret Service does not come under too much scrutiny given the nature of their jobs, but one must think those days are behind that agency.
These scandals will only snowball in expense as we watch heads roll in response.
What is the cost of pulling those people away from their assignment and sending replacements?
It takes a lot of money to train people how to spend tax dollars on a good time.
– Katie Zerr –