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This site is the inspiration of a former reporter/photographer for one of New England's largest daily newspapers and for various magazines. The intent is to direct readers to interesting political articles, and we urge you to visit the source sites. Any comments may be noted on site or directed to KarisChaf at gmail.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Feds spend millions to train executives train in luxury -- By Phillip Swarts - The Washington Times

A stay at a quaint inn nestled in the woods of Virginia. A visit to the lovely Harvard campus in Massachusetts. A trip to the ski slopes in the mountains of Colorado.

All on the taxpayer's dime.

In fact, over four years the federal government spent $57 million to send top-level executives to training sessions — often hosted by private organizations at comfortable locales. The hope was that those at the top echelons of government would be able to improve their skills, hone efficiency and become better managers.

But federal investigators say few agencies questioned whether the training sessions were worth it and whether the executives were actually learning anything that applied to their jobs.

"The cost of these training sessions has raised questions about the value they provide to the federal workforce," the Government Accountability Office, Congress' watchdog arm, said in a report released this week.

The departments collect feedback from executives on how to improve the meetings, but few have followed federal statutes requiring them to look at whether the training meetings are helping the executives be better government employees.

"A majority of agencies do not have a formal process for evaluating the impact of training on the agency's performance goals and mission," the GAO said.

For letting top executives take expensive trips without having any idea whether the excursions benefit taxpayers, the federal government's various agencies and departments win this week's Golden Hammer, a distinction given by The Washington Times to examples of fiscal waste, fraud, abuse or mismanagement.

The $57 million is a guess from filed federal reports, but the GAO noted that "agencies lack complete and reliable data on the cost of external executive training and are likely underreporting costs." Several agencies did not report travel expenses or the costs of course materials, investigators said, noting that it has been seven years since agencies were required to report their actual expenses for the conferences.

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