Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., is chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Contracting and Oversight. As such she is investigating bonuses paid to bigwigs at the General Services Administration.
“It’s the process that disturbs me,” she said. “We don’t have a process in place that says if employees are under investigation, at a minimum you need to withhold bonuses, and the finding of that investigation is relevant to the awarding of bonuses.”
What disturbs us is that the senator thinks bonuses for government employees are just fine, so long as they’re not under investigation. Federal civil servants are well compensated and receive good benefits and retirement. We just don’t see a place for bonuses. If they want bonuses they should go into private industry and work for corporations.
The GSA paid out more than $1 million in bonuses since 2008 to employees who were under investigation. Untallied is how much taxpayer money went to bonuses for employees not under investigation.
The bonuses weren’t chicken feed, either. One employee received $76,000 over five years. Eighty-four employees received an average of $2,000 to $5,000. The average number of bonuses was eight. Bonuses were awarded for individuals or for group performance.
A regional GSA commissioner of public buildings received bonuses of $18,000 in 2010, $16,500 in 2011 and $10,000 this year. A program operations officer got $8,000 annually for five years even though he was reassigned after an inspector general report. Speaking of inspector general, one supervisor got a $20,000 bonus during the same period the person had been reprimanded for interfering with an inspector general.
A spokesman for Taxpayers for Common Sense said the bonuses represented GSA management “out of touch” with economic realities.
It’s not timing, the economy or bad form giving out bonuses to those under investigation. It’s just plain wrong for civil servants to receive bonuses. Period.
And that goes double for $1 million Las Vegas conventions.