GSA Administrator Martha Johnson submitted her resignation to the White House on Monday. Public Buildings Service chief Robert A. Peck and Johnson’s top adviser, Stephen Leeds, were forced out Monday, White House officials said. Four GSA employees who organized the four-day conference have been placed on administrative leave pending further action.
The resignations come as the agency’s inspector general prepares to release a scathing report on the training conference, held at a luxury hotel outside Las Vegas in October 2010.
Organizers spent $835,000 on the event, which was attended by 300 employees. The expenses included $147,000 in airfare and lodging at the hotel for six planning trips by a team of organizers. Among the other expenses were $3,200 for a mind reader; $6,300 on commemorative coin set displayed in velvet boxes and $75,000 on a training exercise to build a bicycle.
Ms. Johnson is described this way on her official GSA bio:
As Administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), Martha N. Johnson works on the front lines of President Obama’s agenda to build a more sustainable and effective government for the American people. The GSA is responsible for improving the government’s workplace by managing assets, preserving historic property, delivering maximum value in acquisitions, and implementing technology solutions.
Well, she certainly appears to have improved the workplace for those who attended the Vegas event! When the Obama Department of Justice reportedly paid for $16 muffins at a similar gathering, it was quickly countercharged that that price included coffee. I await responses to Ms. Johnson’s spending spree.
President Obama picked Ms. Johnson to head the GSA in June 2009. It took eight months to get Senate confirmation, but the Annapolis resident eventually took the oath of office by telephone during a blizzard. A former recruiter for Ben and Jerry’s ice cream company, Ms. Johnson said at the time that she regarded ethics as “a bit issue for me” because taxpayers are “trusting you with their pocketbooks.”
And Democrats are worried about Mitt Romney’s building a new house with his own money!
(Hat tip: Free Beacon)