Good news: GSA exec fired in Vegas scandal getting his job back

posted at 6:41 pm on March 13, 2013 by Mary Katharine Ham

With 11 months of back pay, y’all! Nice gig if you can get it.

The General Services Administration was ordered this week to reinstate a senior executive who lost his job last year amid revelations of lavish spending at a Las Vegas conference.

GSA officials had told Paul Prouty that he “knew or should have known about the questionable and excessive expenditures” that embarrassed the Obama administration when they were revealed last year. But the agency failed to prove that the career civil servant in charge of federal buildings in the Rocky Mountain region was guilty of misconduct, the Merit Systems Protection Board ruled.

Meet Paul Prouty. He has a 39-year career with General Services Administration, and briefly served as acting administrator of the entire agency during the Obama transition. He was head of the Rocky Mountain Region 8 of the GSA, which is one of 11 regional offices across the country. Rocky Mountain Region was one of only four regions that sent dozens of employees to the infamous 2010 Western Regions Conference—an $800K bonanza featuring psychics, expensive catered meals, hot tub parties, and lavish hotels. Prouty attended at least one planning meeting for the conference, though he did not attend the conference due to a conflict. Dozens of his employees attended, but the judge in his appeals case thought he seemed like he didn’t have much to do with it and was probably telling the truth. And, who assumes the head of a regional office should know what’s going on in that regional office, anyway?

In her ruling, Miller wrote that one of Prouty’s aides met with him a few times in 2010 about the conference but did not brief him on details of purchasing, contracting or procurement. Prouty told the judge he was not heavily involved in the planning and was unaware that the conference cost had ballooned. She said she believed him.

Because of a conflict, Prouty did not fly to Las Vegas. When the inspector general’s staff interviewed him during its investigation, they found little involvement in the conference details.

He was aware that attendees were given commemorative coins, but Prouty thought they were an appropriate way to recognize employees for their work carrying out the president’s stimulus plan.

Prouty attended one planning meeting for the conference in March 2010, but the judge said many details of what would be lavish expenses had not been worked out.

“The appellant’s testimony was unwavering, detailed, precise and forthright,” the judge wrote.

Hey, he was only head of a regional office and former head of the entire GSA, an agency tasked with finding and implementing cost-minimizing strategies for the rest of the government. Why should he be responsible for making sure a conference doesn’t flagrantly waste taxpayer money on his watch? It’s like President Obama being responsible for the outcomes of any of his own policies. Preposterous!

Although, I suppose he has a point if he points to the rest of the government and says, “Wasting $800K is actually leading the way in waste-savings over what most of the agencies do every day.” It’s like a “cut” to only waste $800K on champagne and commemorative coins if the agency was planning to waste $1 million.


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Kid gets expelled for a gun shaped pop-tart but this guy gets his job back with back pay. America what happened?

Flange on March 13, 2013 at 6:45 PM

Can a taxpayer appeal?

Aplombed on March 13, 2013 at 6:46 PM

Much like NEA skool teechas and adminnistraytahs caught lootin’ dey gets dey-sefs on “paid leave” until dah hub-bub ends….

…. then it’s back to business as usual.

viking01 on March 13, 2013 at 6:47 PM

It really does feel like its all starting to slip away…like we’re on a runaway train with a giant gorge in sight.

Aplombed on March 13, 2013 at 6:48 PM

Liberals and gubmint workers are never to be held accountable for anything they do.

dentarthurdent on March 13, 2013 at 6:48 PM

Either these people need to be held personally accountable…

… or the whole system is going to crash around us.

Seven Percent Solution on March 13, 2013 at 6:50 PM

It’s like President Obama being responsible for the outcomes of any of his own policies. Preposterous!

Personal responsibility and competence at your job are so last century.

rbj on March 13, 2013 at 6:50 PM

A career bureaucrat working in a totally worthless department getting reinstated in a position he deserved to get fired from with back pay.

Only in Uhmerica.

Myron Falwell on March 13, 2013 at 6:51 PM

Kid gets expelled for a gun shaped pop-tart but this guy gets his job back with back pay. America what happened?

Flange on March 13, 2013 at 6:45 PM

Commando Cupcakes = VERBOTTEN!

Agencies headed by a platoon of Sgt. Schultz’s = Fundamental transformation

BobMbx on March 13, 2013 at 6:51 PM

Kid gets expelled for a gun shaped pop-tart but this guy gets his job back with back pay. America what happened?

Leftists took over our government bureaucracies, protecting themselves and cohorts on the taxpayers’ dime, while tormenting those not yet indoctrinated fully into the collective.

The kid is expected to become a gun-fearing leftist lemming as an adult, unless he is one of the fortunate few who rise up into the ranks of the ruling elite.

hawkeye54 on March 13, 2013 at 6:51 PM

Hey! He’s a government employee. MANAGEMENT. He has a right not to know what’s going on!

You don’t really expect him to be doing his job, do you?

GarandFan on March 13, 2013 at 6:52 PM

Personal responsibility and competence at your job are so last century.

rbj on March 13, 2013 at 6:50 PM

Is there an app for that?

BobMbx on March 13, 2013 at 6:52 PM

…the Merit Systems Protection Board ruled.

For the last time. Orwell wrote novels – not How-To books!

CycloneCDB on March 13, 2013 at 6:52 PM

Crime apparently pays very well — he11, you even get rewarded instead of punished if caught — when you’re a Democrat pol (John Corzine is still walking around free?), bureaucrat (Mr. Prouty here and so many others), or even downstream tool (don’t even get me started on Lon Horiuchi) …

ShainS on March 13, 2013 at 6:52 PM

‘Merica. F*uck yeah.

Rational Thought on March 13, 2013 at 6:53 PM

Unaware, like Fast & Furious unaware?

hillsoftx on March 13, 2013 at 6:54 PM

So, fire Miller!

Another Drew on March 13, 2013 at 6:55 PM

Personal responsibility and competence at your job are so last century.

Mostly if you work within any government entity, and/or if you are a union member.

Doesn’t work quite as well in most private sector business.

hawkeye54 on March 13, 2013 at 6:56 PM

Say, that is good news.

Lanceman on March 13, 2013 at 7:03 PM

For the last time. Orwell wrote novels – not How-To books!

CycloneCDB on March 13, 2013 at 6:52 PM

Orwell likely wrote the novels not unlike how Nostradamus wrote his prophesies in the late 1500s. Back then, people thought that he was this crazy old monk who wrote these Bizzaro stories that would make David Lynch blush…

Myron Falwell on March 13, 2013 at 7:04 PM

I am so tired of this corrupt and totally empty administration, totally stupid liberal judges, and their America hating minions. Something has to be done, although I don’t know what.

ultracon on March 13, 2013 at 7:06 PM

Well, it’s not like it was real money, anyway.

We’ll just print up some more to replace it, then everything will be fine.

The Reasonable Man on March 13, 2013 at 7:20 PM

an $800K bonanza featuring psychics, expensive catered meals, hot tub parties, and lavish hotels.
=================================

Probably imported Hookers from Columbia,er,Puerto Rico,
flown in by the Secret service,er,DEA!!

(snark)

canopfor on March 13, 2013 at 7:21 PM

The Clown..(Paul Prouty)..should of been SeQuestered!

canopfor on March 13, 2013 at 7:23 PM

Is it any wonder that no one believes that Washington is capable of reigning themselves in? Even a tiny bit.

Cindy Munford on March 13, 2013 at 7:34 PM

I am so tired of this corrupt and totally empty administration, totally stupid liberal judges, and their America hating minions. Something has to be done, although I don’t know what.

ultracon on March 13, 2013 at 7:06 PM

We need to actually give some effort into the nonviolent options before considering the violent options.

Myron Falwell on March 13, 2013 at 7:36 PM

America what happened?

Flange on March 13, 2013 at 6:45 PM

The Federal government’s sole function is to confiscate and redistribute taxpayers’ money. That’s what they do.

Jaibones on March 13, 2013 at 7:49 PM

like we’re on a runaway train with a giant gorge in sight.

Aplombed on March 13, 2013 at 6:48 PM

we are

Lost in Jersey on March 13, 2013 at 8:14 PM

‘merika, ye is fluked.

Schadenfreude on March 13, 2013 at 8:22 PM

Say, that is good news.

Lanceman on March 13, 2013 at 7:03 PM

…good to see you dadgumit!

KOOLAID2 on March 13, 2013 at 8:31 PM

Good news: GSA exec fired in Vegas scandal getting his job back

Good news: United Nations ambassador/multi-millionaire who blatantly lied about Benghazi scandal going to be promoted to National Security Adviser.

Seems to be some kind of a, uh, trend here…not sure…

Dr. ZhivBlago on March 13, 2013 at 9:52 PM

Does it MATTER if he had little involvement? There needs to be a point, even with civil service, where responsibility has to be taken into account. For God’s sake this man LET HIS DEPARTMENT RUN IT WITHOUT HIS APPROVAL OR OVERSIGHT! That alone makes him UNFIT for his job and he should be fired! Can you imagine someone in the private sector getting this sort of treatment? Ridiculous!

eyesights on March 13, 2013 at 10:34 PM

Anybody seen Van Jones?

locomotivebreath1901 on March 13, 2013 at 10:49 PM

Prouty joins a distinguished clique of know-nothing department heads in this administration, like Hilary Clinton, Eric Holder, Stephen Chu, and Obama himself, who have no idea what is going on in the branch of government they ostensibly are in charge of.

Socratease on March 13, 2013 at 11:21 PM

Let’s give him the full benefit of the doubt. Since apparently the man has a contract that protects his jobs except in the event of “misconduct” (unlike the bulk of us in the sector), then he cannot be fired. The fact that the government fired him on the basis that he at least “should have known” certainly doesn’t rise to the level of “misconduct.” And while spending over $2,500 per employee for the “conference” sounds like a big waste of money it’s not a slam dunk in calling it “misconduct.” If the government wasting money counted as misconduct they’d all be fired. Causing political embarrassment for the administration isn’t “misconduct” either and I suspect that played a role in the judge’s view of things. I think many of us have an expectation that the guy should be able to be fired in any event (since we don’t have such lavish job protections). If there isn’t some sort of explicit legal protection or contract, then this decision would make no sense (feel free to look that up, somebody). As Mary Katherine says, nice gig if you can get it.

Crispian on March 14, 2013 at 8:05 AM

It really does feel like its all starting to slip away…like we’re on a runaway train with a giant gorge in sight.

Aplombed on March 13, 2013 at 6:48 PM

And the Republican establishment’s plan to save us is to jump up right as the train hits bottom.

GWB on March 14, 2013 at 9:41 AM

Let. It. Burn.

AZCoyote on March 14, 2013 at 10:24 AM

Ok, I can buy that he didn’t know enough about the conference details to be culpable in their excesses. The question then is, as head of Region 8, why didn’t he? What happened to “the buck stops here” rule of oversight responsibility?

Unlesss he can demonstrate that his subordinates actively kept information from him, and in a way which would not have reasonably caused suspicion, he should be held accountable for their actions. Failing to provide effective oversight should not be a basis for defense.

NeoCon_1 on March 14, 2013 at 10:43 AM

If the head of the Rocky Mountain Region of the GSA is not actually responsible for anything, may we taxpayers humbly suggest a REAL “budget cut”???

landlines on March 14, 2013 at 10:46 AM

PS:

In two major “Fortune 500″ firms and two smaller firms where I have worked, managers were ROUTINELY required to implement “efficiency improvements” of 15% or more…sometimes this happened more than once in a single year!

Managers who could not accomplish this were deemed “unfit” or “under-performing” and were dismissed. Any manager caught using a reduced budget as an excuse for deliberately making things worse was fired, because it is a manager’s job to make things work better and to MINIMIZE the impact of any budget reductions. Why should government accept a lower standard for its managers??

I’m really tired of all the whining from bureaucrats and politicians over a completely insignificant 2% cut in an INCREASED budget!!!

For those not familiar with “efficiency improvement”:

An “efficiency improvement” is an action which maintains the current work output and quality while reducing the budget input (which may include money, manpower, and/or facilities), using “zero baseline” rules to measure the budget.

landlines on March 14, 2013 at 11:04 AM