GSA chief gone, but fallout continues in wake of lavish convention expense

April 4, 2012

By Paul Courson, CNN

Washington (CNN) — A day after the head of the General Services Administration resigned because of a procurement scandal at the federal agency, officials vowed Tuesday to implement spending reforms and disciplinary action she announced on the way out the door.

A letter Monday from now-former GSA Administrator Martha Johnson agreed with the recommendations of the GSA inspector general in a report that documented massive overspending, questionable expenditures and a cavalier attitude toward procurement rules surrounding a regional training conference held in Las Vegas in 2010.

The inspector general’s report on the GSA “Western Regions” training conference showed the government spent more than $822,000 for the 300 attendees, including $75,000 on team-building exercises, $6,000 on commemorative coins and $6,000 on canteens, keychains and T-shirts.

Johnson said the details in the report are “egregious,” and “absolutely unacceptable,” and she announced measures that include “disciplinary action against several senior management officials.” Johnson’s letter to the inspector general did not name names, but a congressional panel late Tuesday said the agency’s Public Buildings Service Commissioner Robert Peck was fired.

Before she resigned Monday, Johnson canceled certain GSA regional training conferences in the future, put others under the oversight of different agency officials and announced tighter controls and review over GSA’s procurement and contract spending.

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