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Get GSA's Neely off the federal payroll, lawmaker says

Apr. 24, 2012 - 06:00AM   |  
By ANDY MEDICI   |   Comments

A House committee chairman is calling on the General Services Administration to "remove from the federal payroll" the senior executive at the center of a scandal over wasteful spending.

Rep. John Mica, R-Fla., chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, said Jeff Neely, the Public Buildings Commissioner for GSA's Region 9 who now is on paid administrative leave should be fired, suspended without pay, furloughed without pay or put on unpaid administrative leave.

An inspector general's report released earlier this month found Neely wasted tens of thousands of dollars in government funds on unnecessary trips, parties, activities and swag and organized an $822,000 GSA conference in Las Vegas that was the centerpiece of a scandal that brought down GSA's top leadership.

Mica's committee held a hearing on the scandal April 17, and Neely declined to appear. At another hearing on the scandal on April 16, Neely appeared but did not answer any questions, citing his Fifth Amendment rights.

"Despite Mr. Neely's refusal to cooperate and assist in our investigation and provide testimony at hearings held by at least two congressional committees, Mr. Neely continues to receive compensation as a senior official at GSA," Mica said Tuesday in a letter to acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini.

"For many Americans, the idea that their taxpayer dollars are continuing to pay an official who has abused and demonstrated a wanton disregard for his responsibilities as a federal employee and senior executive is unacceptable."

In addition, Inspector General Brian Miller's office found thousands of dollars of equipment iPods, gift cards and other items bought by Neely's Region 9 office for an employee awards program went missing or was stolen. Miller said his office tracked one of the missing iPod's to Neely's daughter.

The scandal forced the resignation April 2 of GSA Administrator Martha Johnson and the firing of two senior political appointees: Public Buildings Commissioner Bob Peck and Johnson's senior counsel Stephen Leeds.

In addition, Neely, Deputy PBS Commissioner David Foley, three other regional commissioners and five more GSA employees were placed on administrative leave.

Related reading

GSA calls on officials to repay party expenses (April 16)

GSA officials responded weakly at first to IG revelations (April 13)

Scrutiny widens over GSA spending (April 6)

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