Archive for the ‘General Services Administration’ Category

2012 Consumer Action Handbook

July 9, 2012 Comments off

2012 Consumer Action Handbook (PDF)
Source: U.S. General Services Administration

This everyday guide to being a smart shopper is full of helpful tips about preventing identity theft, understanding credit, filing a consumer complaint, and more. Use the margins to make notes, write questions, or record other useful information. The information and resources you’ll need are arranged as follows:

PART I—BE A SAVVY CONSUMER Read this section for advice before you make a purchase. To quickly locate specific topics and information, look in the Table of Contents and Index (p. 147).

PART II—FIlING A COMPLAINT Turn to this section for suggestions on resolving consumer problems. The sample complaint letter on page 57 will help you present your case.

PART III—KEY INFORMATION RESOURCES Look here for a list of public resources and contact information.

PART IV—CONSUMER ASSISTANCE DIRECToRY Here you’ll find contact information for corporate offices, consumer organizations, trade groups, government agencies, and more.

Documents in the News — GSA Western Regions Conference Management Efficiency Report

April 3, 2012 Comments off

Western Regions Conference Management Efficiency Report (PDF)
Source: General Services Administration, Office of Inspector General

Our findings included the following:

  • GSA spending on conference planning was excessive, wasteful, and in some cases impermissible. To select a venue and plan the conference, GSA employees conducted two “scouting trips,” five off-site planning meetings, and a “dry run.” Six of these planning1events took place at the M Resort (the conference venue) itself. Travel expenses for conference planning totaled $100,405.37, and catering costs totaled over $30,000. GSA spent money on refreshment breaks during the planning meetings, which it had no authority to do, and the cost of catered meals at those meetings exceeded per diem limits.
  • GSA failed to follow contracting regulations in many of the procurements associated with the WRC and wasted taxpayer dollars. GSA actions included:
    • Disclosing a competitor’s proposal price to a favored contractor;
    • Awarding a $58,000 contract to a large business in violation of small-business set-asides;
    • Promising the hotel an additional $41,480 in catering charges in exchange for the “concession” of the hotel honoring the government’s lodging cost limit;
    • Providing free rooms to a contractor’s employees even though the contract cost included lodging; and
    • Disclosing to the team-building contractor the agency’s maximum budget for one day of training, then agreeing to pay the contractor that amount ($75,000).
  • GSA incurred excessive and impermissible costs for food at the WRC. GSA spent $146,527.05 on catered food and beverages during the WRC. That spending included $5,600 for three semi-private catered in-room parties and $44 per person daily breakfasts. GSA also paid $30,207.60 – or roughly $95 per person – for the closing reception and dinner; attendees at that dinner included 27 guests of GSA employees and seven contractor employees. GSA obtained repayment for guests’ meals, but only for 23 of the guests and not for the entire cost of the meal.
  • GSA incurred impermissible and questionable miscellaneous expenses. These expenses included mementos for attendees, purchases of clothing for GSA employees, and tuxedo rentals.

GSA’s approach to the conference indicates that minimizing expenses was not a goal. The PBS Region 9 Commissioner/Acting Regional Administrator instructed those planning the conference to make it “over the top” and to make it bigger and better than previous conferences. Several suggestions to minimize expenses were ignored.

GSA, in its management response, concurred with our recommendations and outlined the steps it is taking to prevent future waste and abuse.


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