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GSA suspends controversial employee awards program

Apr. 10, 2012 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments
Acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini, shown in 2010 when he was serving as assistant Treasury secretary for management.
Acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini, shown in 2010 when he was serving as assistant Treasury secretary for management. (Treasury Department)

The General Services Administration is suspending a controversial employee awards program amid revelations that thousands of dollars worth of merchandise is missing or was mismanaged.

Under GSA's "Hats Off Program," employees receive award points and can redeem them for prizes such as iPods, digital cameras and gift cards, according to an inspector general's report.

But it turns out that those responsible for administering the program received the most awards, the IG report found.

Also, GSA has had problems keeping track of the merchandise: 115 iPods valued at $20,000 could not be accounted for, while another 40 iPods were stolen from the Philip Burton Federal Building in San Francisco, according to the report.

Reps. John Mica, R-Fla., and Jeff Denham, R-Calif., http://www.federaltimes.com/article/20120406/DEPARTMENTS07/204060303/1001">said in an April 6 statement that the program is another example of lavish spending at GSA following the release of a report detailing $822,000 on a 2010 conference.

"The Hats Off award program degenerated into a taxpayer funded give away where employees handed out iPods to their office buddies for almost any reason," Mica said in a statement.

Newly appointed acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini said in a video to employees released Tuesday that the agency will review all spending at the agency.

"This is a clear expression to our customers and the taxpayer that GSA employees understand that serving our customers well is reward enough," Tangherlini said.

The ongoing scandal involving http://blogs.federaltimes.com/federal-times-blog/2012/04/09/the-hits-keep-coming-from-gsas-vegas-conference/">a lavish 2010 GSA training conference in Las Vegas forced the resignation last week of GSA Administrator Martha Johnson and the removals of Public Buildings Service Commissioner Bob Peck and Johnson's chief of staff Stephen Leeds.

In addition, Deputy Public Buildings Commissioner David Foley, Region 9 Commissioner Jeff Neely and three other regional commissioners have been placed on administrative leave.

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