$823K Vegas Conf. Leads Agency Chief to Quit

The GSA, which manages and rents property for government agencies and obtains equipment and services, holds regional conferences for its staff. The acting administrator of Region 9, covering the western U.S., instructed planners to make the 2010 conference in Nevada “over the top,” bigger and better than previous events, according to the inspector general.

The head of the General Services Administration resigned after an inquiry found the U.S. agency had lavished $4-a-shrimp appetizers on employees and minted commemorative coins for a meeting at a Las Vegas area resort.

The $823,0000 conference in October 2010 at the M Resort Spa Casino in Henderson, Nevada, also involved a payment of $8,130 to print “yearbooks” for participants and $5 each for “Mini Monte Cristo sandwiches,” according to an investigation released yesterday by the agency’s inspector general.

“Reports of an internal conference in which taxpayer dollars were squandered led me to launch internal reviews, take disciplinary personnel action and institute tough new controls to ensure this incident is not repeated,” GSA chief Martha Johnson wrote in her resignation letter. “I feel I must step aside as administrator so that the agency can move forward at this time with a fresh leadership.”


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