No more charging strippers to Uncle Sam’s plastic

Federal employees who want to gamble or frequent strip clubs for an evening of fun will have to use their own credit cards to pay for it.

PcardAn amendment included in the House-passed fiscal 2016 Defense spending bill prohibits Defense civilian workers and military personnel from using government charge cards for expenses related to “gaming, or for entertainment that includes topless or nude entertainers or participants.”

The language specifically prohibits gaming, rather than any expenses at a casino, so lodging and meals, for example, would be exempt.

Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., sponsored the amendment, which was adopted on voice vote. The House on Thursday passed the fiscal 2016 Defense spending bill. The full Senate has not yet considered its fiscal 2016 Defense appropriations legislation.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/management/2015/06/no-more-charging-strippers-uncle-sams-plastic/115174

See related story at: Senators Want GSA to Catch Feds Who Use Plastic at Strip Clubs

Weather Service paid retired exec half a million to consult

In a maneuver some would call “writing your own ticket,” a top National Weather Service executive announced his retirement and then set himself up to perform the same work as a consultant, raising his pay by $43,000, according to the Commerce Department inspector general.

National Weather Service NOAABefore his contract was terminated in 2012, the official also collected a $50,000 housing allowance and allegedly pressed for the agency to hire a relative, according to a summary of the investigation. The total cost to the government: $471,875.34.

The Commerce IG did not name the “senior official,” but The Washington Post recently identified him as former deputy chief financial officer P. Donald Jiron. His lawyer, Matthew Kaiser, said, “Mr. Jiron has not done anything wrong” because he acted “at the direction of and with the approval of his supervisor at all times.”

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/contracting/2015/06/weather-service-paid-retired-exec-half-million-consult/114718

IGs creating ‘fearful paralysis’ among agencies, vendors

Right Then Forward
The inscription on the IG crest (Droit et Avant) is French and literally means “right and forward.” Freely translated this motto embodies the IG philosophy of “First be right; then take action.”
The number of successful investigations by inspectors general has more than doubled in 20 years. Does that mean IGs are doing a better job weeding out waste, fraud and abuse in government, or are they creating mountains out of molehills?

Kymm McCabe, founder of ValueStorm Growth Partners, said the increased oversight is creating a “fearful paralysis” in the acquisition community.

“We’ve become so focused on using oversight to try to solve every problem, that folks are now just afraid,” McCabe said on In Depth with Francis Rose . “It’s really caused a freeze on communication.”

Keep reading this article at: http://www.federalnewsradio.com/147/3851146/IGs-creating-fearful-paralysis-among-agencies-vendors

IG finds both agency implementation and SBA oversight of WOSB program to be flawed

Federal agencies’ contracting officers are awarding set-aside contracts without meeting the set-aside requirements associated with the Small Business Administration’s Woman-Owned Small Business (WOSB) program.

This finding, among others, appears in a report issued on May 14, 2015 by the SBA’s Office of Inspector General (OIG).

SBA - IGThe OIG report states that as much as $7.1 million worth of contracts received by WOSBs in fiscal year (FY) 2014 may be improper.  For example, 10 of 34 WOSB set-aside awards were for ineligible work, and 9 of these 34 were awarded to firms that did not provide required documentation to prove they were eligible WOSBs.

In addition to the 9 WOSB awards that did not have any ownership or control documentation in the SBA’s WOSB Repository, the OIG identified 13 of 25 firms in their audit sample that uploaded only some — but not all — of the required documentation to the Repository, thus also bringing their program eligibility into question.

Additionally, 12 businesses did not provide sufficient documentation to prove that a woman or women controlled the day-to-day operations of their firms.  These firms, which received $8 million in contracts, also may be ineligible for their WOSB set-aside awards.

The OIG report is critical not only of agencies’ implementation of the federal WOSB program but also of SBA’s lax oversight.  Accordingly, OIG made five recommendations to the SBA’s Associate Administrator for Government Contracting and Business Development calling for improvements in how SBA manages and administers the WOSB program.

It should be noted that even before the OIG’s report, the SBA’s WOSB program already was slated to undergo some major programmatic changes based on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for both FY 2013 and 2015.  The NDAAs stipulated considerable increases SBA’s oversight responsibilities.  Specifically, the FY 2015 Act will: 1) grant contracting officers the authority to award sole-source awards to WOSB firms, 2) remove firms’ ability to self-certify, and 3) require firms to be certified.  The SBA is still determining how it will implement these mandated changes.

The OIG’s full report can be downloaded here: Improvements_Needed_in_SBAs_Management_of_WOSB_Program-OIG_Report_15-10

Pentagon employees used Government charge cards for gambling and ‘adult entertainment’

A not-yet-released Defense Department investigation has found civilian and military employees used government charge cards to make more than $1 million in purchases at casinos and to pay for escorts, according to an internal report

The Pentagon’s inspector general, as first reported by Politico and confirmed by a department official, found Defense employees used the cards for gambling and “adult entertainment” in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, New Jersey. The IG initiated the review in 2014 in accordance with the 2012 Government Charge Card Abuse Prevention Act.

Govt Charge CardIn the one-year period beginning July 1, 2013, Defense cardholders made 4,437 transactions totaling more than $950,000 at casinos using their government cards. Employees made an additional 900 transactions totaling nearly $100,000 at “adult entertainment establishments.” The Pentagon said this represented a small fraction of the total transactions on department-issued cards, coming to less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the charges.

Keep reading this article at: http://www.govexec.com/oversight/2015/05/pentagon-employees-used-government-charge-cards-gambling-and-adult-entertainment/112186