Saturday, August 15, 2015
The dollar amount involved in this scheme of employees of the General Accountability Office to steal school lunches for their children is miniscule; about $13,000. But there is a larger lesson that can be drawn from it; the sense of entitlement of government workers that gives them leave to abuse the public purse and steal from taxpayers.
Five employees with the Government Accountability Office, and one GAO employee’s spouse, were indicted Tuesday for working to illegally obtain reduced-price lunches for their children.
The indictment resulted from the legislative branch agency’s own investigation into the school meals program, which found some of the GAO’s employees applied for the program and underreported their income to gain access to the reduced-price lunches. After the agency discovered the illegal activity, the GAO reported applications to the agency’s inspector general.
“There is no excuse for stealing funds intended to go to children whose parents cannot afford the school lunches,” Maryland’s Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Angela Alsobrooks said in a news release announcing the indictment. “Their actions are made even worse by the fact that some of them claimed to have not just low income, but no income at all, even though they were working full-time jobs at the GAO.”
The GAO, which notes on its website that it is often referred to as the “congressional watchdog,” investigates federal spending. GAO spokesman Chuck Young wrote in an email to CQ Roll Call that GAO employees were “both disappointed and surprised” to learn their colleagues were potentially committing fraud.
“We will now be monitoring the judicial process and then determine what personnel actions might be appropriate,” Young said. Young later noted all of the employees indicted are administrative support personnel.
According to the news release, between 2010 and 2014, the employees’ children received more than $13,000 in reduced-price lunches. The GAO employees named in the indictment include Lynette Mundey, an internal auditor and an outgoing member of the county’s board of education; Barbara Rowley; Jamilah Reid; Tracy Williams; Charlene Savoy; and James Pickney, whose wife is a GAO employee. Pickney allegedly failed to disclose his wife’s income, which rendered his family ineligible for the reduced lunch program.
Each employee was charged with two counts of welfare fraud, two counts of submitting a false application for public assistance and one count of a theft scheme, according to a copy of the indictment.
This incident speaks to the general lack of concern harbored by many bureaucrats regarding how taxpayer money is spent. Up and down government we see managers taking expensive trips for "conferences" to Hawaii and even overseas. Other employees game the system to receive perks and pay to which they are not entitled. The rot is systemic and results from a lack of competent management at the top.
In any large organization, you will find graft and corruption. But the culture in government seems to magnify and encourage corruption at all levels by fostering that sense of entitlement not found in the private sector.
WASHINGTON, DC – In this week’s Republican address, Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) discusses the new Congress’s accomplishments to date – from the first real entitlement reform in nearly two decades to a plan that advances free trade and American jobs – and our ongoing commitment to address the people’s priorities.
The audio of the address is available here, embargoed until tomorrow at 6:00 am ET, when the video will be available on Speaker.gov and GOP.gov.
Disney's Bob Iger announced "Star Wars"-themed lands in Disney's Orlando and Anaheim Parks at D23 Expo in Anaheim.
"We're building a 14-acre Star Wars land at Disneyland," Iger told the crowd.
Iger said the new land will be "occupied by many inhabitants; humanoids, aliens and droids ... the attraction, the entertainment, everything we create will be part of our storytelling. Nothing will be out of character or stray from the mythology."
There will be a cantina where fans can "run into all the droids and roaming beasts 'Star Wars is known for," including characters from the "Star Wars" saga and "The Force Awakens."
According to Iger, the land will have two signature attractions, including a ride where fans can take the controls of the Millennium Falcon "on a customized secret mission," and an experience that drops attendees into "a climactic battle between the First Order and the resistance."
One themed land will be located at Disneyworld's Orlando-based "Hollywood Studios" theme park, and the other at Disneyland in Anaheim.
"We are creating a jaw dropping new world that represents our largest single theme land expansion ever. We knew it needed to be big. We knew it needed to be great and we knew it needed to be every bit as thrilling as the films will be."
Every store and restaurant will be operated by local inhabitants. Nothing in the land nothing will be out of character."
He noted that they are "currently casting for roles" to staff the new attractions.
Director J.J. Abrams was also on hand with "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" cast members Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong'o and Harrison Ford, who received a standing ovation from the 7,500-strong crowd on Saturday afternoon.
"It's a great thrill to be here with you, who made this whole thing happen, I couldn't be happier, thank you so much," Ford said.
On picking Abrams to direct, Iger quipped: "We knew we needed someone who was great. We new we needed someone we could trust. We knew we needed someone who had great casting sense. Unfortunately, that director wasn't available."
"You will have chance to run into drioids and fantastic roaming beasts that Star Wars is known for," Iger said, as a picture of a shaggy white, tusked creature was projected on the screen behind him.
Climb pay ladder
In a column expressing a desire to see Chicago rise the way New Orleans did in 2005, a Chicago Tribune columnist wrote a piece that was released on Thursday with are-you-kidding-me title of “In Chicago, wishing for a Hurricane Katrina.”
Kristen McQueary wrote about how she found herself “praying for a storm,” that would prompt a “rebirth” in Chicago. The rest of the article alludes to McQueary’s hope that this figurative event would be able to bring light to issues “beneath the pretty surface,” that “threaten (Chicago’s) future.”
“Envy isn’t a rational response to the upcoming 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina,” McQueary wrote in her opening. “I can relate, metaphorically, to the residents of New Orleans climbing onto their rooftops and begging for help and waving their arms and lurching toward rescue helicopters.”
The column has since been retitled to Chicago, New Orleans and Rebirth. It also now includes this tweet from McQueary, emphasizing that the storm she wrote about was a “figurative” one, and that she acknowledged Katrina as a tragedy:
If you read the piece, it's about finances and government. I would never diminish the tragedy of thousands of lives lost.
2:56 PM - 13 Aug 2015
McQueary soon wrote a new article apologizing to New Orleans and those she offended, but even so, the original title was out there long enough for people to say how it made them feel:
Via: Chicago Tribune
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