WASHINGTON - The General Services Administration has come under fire from congressional critics who are decrying questionable bonuses and travel expenses.
Since 2008, the GSA has given more than $1 million in bonuses to 84 employees under investigation by its inspector general, according to details released this week by the office of Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri.
An unnamed program officer received $38,664 in bonuses during an investigation. That employee was later reassigned because of allegations of abuse of authority. A supervisor who was reprimanded for interfering in an inspector general’s investigation received more than $20,000 in bonuses, according to McCaskill’s office.
While the GSA does not prohibit bonuses to employees under investigation, McCaskill questioned the actions.
“It doesn’t pass the smell test to be awarding huge bonuses in taxpayer dollars to officials who are being investigated or have already been found responsible for fraud and waste of those very taxpayer dollars,’’ she said in a statement.
“As previously stated, GSA is conducting a top-down review of our agency’s operations,’’ said GSA spokesman Adam Elkington. “This comprehensive review of our agency operations includes all bonus payouts in recent years - especially for those individuals under investigation by GSA’s inspector general.’’
In April, the GSA’s inspector general released details of an $823,000 employee conference in Las Vegas. Inspector General Brian Miller was so concerned about his findings that he offered an interim briefing to senior GSA leadership.
During a congressional hearing in April, former administrator Martha Johnson explained that she was advised by the inspector general’s office not to take personnel action until the report was finalized. Johnson resigned in the aftermath of the spending scandal, and two of her deputies were fired.
Jeffrey E. Neely, the public buildings commissioner for the Pacific Rim region, who organized the conference, received $9,460 in bonuses for 2011. He was one of a number of employees put on administrative leave. Recently, the GSA reported that he had left the agency.