Former GSA executive Jeffrey Neely bears just a little bit of a resemblance to Oliver Hardy, no?
Maybe he's a fan, because he used a classic Hardy-ism in an e-mail that was released to the media by the Issa Committee yesterday, part of a document dump that exposed another astonishing abuse of the taxpayer by the U.S. General Services Administration.
From the WaPo this morning, ‘Virtual’ GSA employees spent $750,000 on travel over nine months:
Ninety-five high-ranking employees at the General Services Administration who are assigned to work from home racked up $750,000 in travel expenses over nine months, documents show, prompting concerns from agency officials but no action to curtail the expenses.
-- snip --
Even the executive, Jeffrey Neely, was surprised to learn of the travel expenses for the 95 employees who work from their homes, according to e-mails and other documents provided to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which oversees the federal workforce.
“OMG,” Neely wrote in an e-mail last October to a colleague, Regional Commissioner Robin Graf, who had sent a spreadsheet to several managers with a breakdown of the travel reimbursement costs for “virtual” employees. She expressed concern about a lack of oversight of these employees.
“100 virtuals and most of them with some pretty serious grades,” Neely wrote, referring to the employees’ General Schedule status. “[W]ell this is a fine mess we’ve gotten ourselves into.”
Neely forwarded the e-mail chain to other colleagues with this message: “This will take your breath away. Don’t share further.” The work-from-home employees were apparently traveling to regional headquarters in the Public Buildings Service and other events.
-- snip --
Of 95 work-at-home employees, 12 are supervisors who received reimbursements of more than $200,000 for travel-related expenses in 2010 and 2011, the documents provided to congressional committees show. A majority of the 95 are listed at the GS-14 and GS-15-level.
The last word was had by House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, who played the Stan Laural-straight man to Neely's Oliver Hardy: “This indicates a lack of proper oversight and an ignorance of the regulations that govern federal telework programs.” What? This is about mere ignorance of the regulations? Thanks, I needed a good laugh.
Well, well, well. I can't decide which aspect of this news I find more amazing. The fact that "virtual" employees working from home racked up quite that much travel expense - and I assume that is all domestic travel, so $750K equates to a whole lot of trips - is pretty good all by itself.
Even more amazing is that GSA has at least 48 ("a majority of the 95") employees at the GS-14 and GS-15 levels working from home. What kind of work can be done at home that justifies a GS-14 or GS-15 position? Those are as high as the General Schedule goes, after which it's Senior Executive Service. The 2012 General Service pay scales show the base pay for the lowest step of the 14 level is $84,000 and the top step of the 15 level is $129,000, and there is locality pay on top of that for almost all of the places where GSA employees live.
I don't know what kind of senior executive work these GSA employees can legitimately do from home in the first place, but, most amazing of all, twelve of them are supervisory employees. Aren't they supposed to be supervising someone other than themselves? I mean, that supervisory responsibility must have been part of the job description that justified their senior level positions in the first place.
Who supervises the supervisors? Evidently not GSA.