By Andrew P. Napolitano
The president's men trash the Constitution to pursue antagonists
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
The General Services Administration (GSA) is an independent agency of the United States government, established in 1949 to help manage and support the basic functioning of federal agencies. The GSA supplies products and communications for U.S. government offices, provides transportation and office space to federal employees, and develops government-wide cost-minimizing policies, among other management tasks. GSA’s mission is "to use expertise to provide innovative solutions for our customers in support of their missions and by so doing foster an effective, sustainable, and transparent government for the American people." - Source: Wikipedia
Everyone sat on plastic folding chairs, on a concrete floor in front of rows upon rows of empty industrial shelves. Speakers sometimes had to pause, to keep the rumble of trucks outside from drowning out their words.
Many Americans have stopped using the U.S. Postal Service in favor of private carriers like UPS and FedEx. And now, it seems, so has the federal government.
The federal government can't read a tape measure and doesn't seem to care whether the courthouses it builds remain within the size limits mandated by Congress, and the result is more than $800 million in wasted taxpayer money, according to an investigation by the Government Accountability Office, Congress' watchdog arm.The report said the General Services Administration's construction measurement and management are so poor that GSA built the equivalent of nine too many courthouses between 2000 and 2010.During that period, construction on 32 federal courthouses exceeded their Congressionally approved sizes by 3.56 million square feet, costing taxpayers $835 million. But the waste doesn't stop there. Investigators say the government is forced to maintain the space it doesn't really need, at an annual cost of $51 million.For poor management of construction that led to millions of dollars in waste, the General Services Administration wins this week's Golden Hammer, a distinction given by the Washington Guardian to examples of poor management, oversight and unnecessary spending.It all happened because GSA, which oversees federal buildings, wasn't accurately measuring floor space or keeping an eye on compliance with the congressional authorization, the watchdog office said in two reports released in 2010 and 2013. The agency "did not focus on ensuring that the authorized gross square footage was met in the design and construction of courthouses until 2007," investigators said, noting that structures built after 2007 are still exceeding authorized sizes."GSA lacked sufficient controls to ensure that courthouses were planned and built according to authorized gross square footage, initially because it had not established a consistent policy for how to measure gross square footage," investigators said.The GSA overestimated the number of judges working at the courthouses, investigators said, and also did not consider the possibility of judges sharing courtrooms.But GSA officials took issues with the report, saying that inspectors inaccurately measured square footage by including the empty upper space in atriums and applying the idea of 'courtroom sharing' to buildings constructed a decade ago, prior to the budget saving policy.GSA officials did not return calls seeking additional comment."GSA officials stated that courtroom space is among the most expensive of courthouse spaces to construct," the GAO said, noting that sharing courtrooms should be possible due to how infrequently they are sometimes used. "According to the judiciary’s data, courtrooms are used for case-related proceedings only a quarter of the available time or less, on average."One of the newest courtrooms, the Wilkie D. Ferguson Jr. U.S. Courthouse in Miami, Fla., has space for 16 courtrooms, bringing the city's total up to 29. But with a courtroom-sharing plan in place, it would only need 17, the GAO said."It is important for the federal judiciary to have adequate, appropriate, modern facilities to carry out judicial functions," inspector said. "GSA and the judiciary have an opportunity to align their courthouse planning and construction with the judiciary’s real need for space. Such changes would greatly reduce construction, operations and maintenance and rent costs."
The White House tried to clarify a mystery Wednesday about the government constructing a replica Oval Office for President Obama — but the attempt to explain raised more questions than it answered.
The government owns thousands of federally-owned, historic structures across the nation. Maintaining those buildings, however, presents costly problems as diverse as the structures themselves.
It's official: From presidential campaign politics to a world gone "Gangnam Style," 2012 was the most dubious year yet.
Homer didn't tweet.
The General Services Administration is advertising to fill more than a dozen jobs and has approved hiring more than 40 employees since July, when the agency's top official announced a "targeted hiring freeze" in the wake of ongoing spending scandals.
Government officials blame unfair competition from China for the collapse of solar panel manufacturer Solyndra, but such concerns didn't stop the federal government from breaking stimulus program rules to use Chinese solar panels atop a federal building housing the offices of a senator, congressman and several agencies.
Are you a veteran with a job? Then thank Michelle Obama, because she is taking credit for it.
The historic but empty federal courthouse in downtown Miami is a costly symbol of the government's sluggishness at selling or finding new purposes for some 14,000 vacant or underused properties nationwide, Republican lawmakers said at a House panel hearing Monday.
The embattled General Services Administration (GSA) is facing investigations into as many as 77 conferences and awards ceremonies over the years as more details emerged Wednesday about a lavish one-day gathering in Crystal City costing more than a quarter-million dollars for hundreds of employees, including a top agency deputy hailed just months ago as a taxpayer hero.
If America had a Spend Like a Drunken Sailor Award, Navy Secretary Ray Mabus would win hands-down for blowing $12 million on biofuel for Navy ships.
Another General Services Administration conference is coming under scrutiny and this one featured drumsticks, miniature pastries, a violinist and gift clocks instead of mind readers and clowns.
General Services Administration officials have been quick to point out that they are taking strong disciplinary action against those responsible for a lavish $823,000 Las Vegas conference funded by taxpayers that featured a red-carpet party, magic shows and in-room parties.