You may want to look into getting yourself one of those government jobs after all. It turns out that life can be pretty sweet, even in the supposed era of federal responsibility, reduced government waste and elimination of fraud. The Inspector General for the Commerce Department released a report this week introducing us to someone who figured that out pretty quickly when he landed a position there in 2014. Stefan Selig was a top flight investment banker who was brought on board to be our Undersecretary of International Trade, no doubt a key player in the various free trade negotiations. Upon his arrival in DC, however, Stefan reportedly found his office space to be far below the standards he was used to and the travel accommodations provided for public servants were simply unbearable. Being a creative, problem solving fort of guy, Selig got to work righting some wrongs. (Government Executive)
When a former investment banker joined the Commerce Department, among his earliest agenda items were renovations of his “beat up and run down” office and an upgrade to VIP travel accommodations, according to an inspector general’s report released on Thursday.
By pressuring his staff and by submitting poorly detailed documentation that eluded Commerce leaders, the official spent thousands of extra dollars on office improvements and stays in first-class hotels before being reimbursed a rate higher than the normal per diem, investigators found.
Identified only as “a political appointee” in the report, he was named in The Washington Post as Stefan Selig, undersecretary for international trade, who left Commerce quietly in June after two years.
Wow. Who voted for this guy? As it turns out… nobody. He was a political appointee of Barack Obama’s. And if you read the details in the linked report you’ll see just what sort of perks he was used to in the civilian world.
Upon arriving, Stefan’s office wasn’t nearly plush enough for a person in his position. That was quickly resolved with a $10K carpeting job, thousands of dollars in carpentry work to refinish some doors with “chipped paint” and “reinstalling a 50-inch television, apparently so that the television would sit at a more comfortable viewing angle.” His job also required frequent travel, but sitting in coach with the peasants is a rather distressing experience, so Stefan traveled first class. Oh, and the hotels which fit in the price range allowed for government travel? Those aren’t fit for a Commerce Department undersecretary so it was all luxury hotels in Geneva, New York City and other pricey destinations.
And you got to pay for it all. Selig “quietly left the Commerce Department” after two years, but the bills he left behind are still on the books. I wonder if we’ll be getting reimbursed for the difference?