“As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.” (Andrew Carnegie)


In the wake of the GSA scandal now making the rounds of our dedicated news agencies, I took it upon myself to do a little research into the mission statement of the GSA. It’s not really fair to castigate these people unless we know how they work. Frankly, I didn’t really know anything about them except they throw one heck of a party. By visiting their website I was able to uncover several intricacies of their business that may have gone unnoticed in the rush to judgment. I copied and pasted their mission and vision statements directly from their site just so there would be no chance of misrepresentation.

Our Mission

The GSA mission is to use expertise to provide innovative solutions for our customers in support of their missions, and by so doing, foster an effective, sustainable, and transparent government for the American people.

Our Vision

The GSA vision is a government that works ever better for the American people.

This vision:

Insists upon continual improvement in all that the GSA does, so that the mission work of our customers is not vulnerable to stagnating tools, services, and work environments but, instead, is accomplished with the benefit of excellence and forward leaning expertise.

Positions the government to be ever adapting its work environments, tools, and processes so as to better serve the public. The GSA uses the notion of “the future workplace” to express and visualize this evolution for its customers.

Is fueled by two powerful sparks for change, namely sustainability and transparency. The former is a doctrine for managing resources with utmost care and an obsession with “no waste.” The latter is a doctrine for inviting our collective intelligence and wisdom to our work.

Let’s see how they did.

A “transparent government for the American people” seems to be something they can handle. After all, they did produce and distribute an extremely honest video which clearly indicates they take their responsiblity for spending money very seriously. With a budget of $800,000 they managed to get clowns, mind readers, spa treatments and shrimp for $4 each in Las Vegas, the world capital of buffet dining.  So far, so good.

A “government that works ever better for the American people” is another expectation exceeded if we consider that the GSA employees who participated in this conference are all Americans. They pay taxes just like the rest of us and therefore they meet the stated requirement. I would have to agree that this conference certainly worked better for them at least. Let’s face it, government work is hard and doesn’t pay nearly as well as the private sector so clowns would seem to be a much-needed perk.

I’m a little hazy on the meaning of “forward leaning expertise.” Maybe that’s a euphemism for being able to stand up while drunk. If so, then they should give themselves a 100% on that one.

The “future workplace” they envision would be pretty incredible. Three days in Vegas every year to give each other gifts and get spa treatments would be the kind of job I want. We should at least give them credit for thinking outside the cubicle.

“Sustainability and transparency” seem to be incompatible to me. After the video went public, the chance of them sustaining their forward leaning ways seems highly unlikely to me. I think they’re going to have to pick one or the other in their next vision statement.

“An obsession with no waste”, now that one’s dead in the water. Unless they can assure me that every one of those $4 shrimp got eaten, including that little part inside the tail, then this part of the vision is a huge blind spot. I’m halfway surprised they haven’t issued a retraction making “no” just a typo that shouldn’t haven’t been there in the first place.

While they’re at it, they probably need to rethink, “inviting our collective intelligence and wisdom to our work.” It’s pretty tough to make a case for collective intelligence when you pay $4 for a shrimp in a town that gives them away for free.

Now that I have removed the tongue from my cheek, let me just say this in all honesty. I will never ever listen to another politician or government employee who pleads for higher taxes on anybody, rich or poor, while overseeing egregious behavior like this GSA fiasco. And I really don’t want to hear that lame excuse, “I was unaware of this.” Knowing what is going on under you is your primary function and there is no excuse for not doing your job and that includes the President and all the members of Congress. An obsession with no waste should be at the top of every agencies mission statement. We the People of the United States of America are fed up with inept government, corrupt politicians and wasteful spending. For once in my life, I want to see a government that works ever better for the American  people.

©Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Guy R. Horst and grhgraph.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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4 Responses to “As I grow older, I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do.” (Andrew Carnegie)

  1. Yeah, this was pretty bad. Reminds me of the AIG party craze a few years back. Its as if private entities have free reign to behave like spoiled children. The bad behavior is rampant and leads to financial meltdowns, high unemployment, higher underemployment, wage and hiring freezes, etc., and the government picks up those tabs (albeit only partially and incompletely) and so indirectly supports the bad behavior of private entities. I’m all for privatization in various areas and having “fun” is great but whether public or private, I think behavior ought to demonstrate integrity and social consciousness.

    • grhgraph says:

      Spoiled children is the perfect analogy. Makes me wonder if there are any adults in Washington. Thanks for the input.

  2. DAb says:

    Spoken on behalf of the rest of us—by the transparent role model; who clearly demonstrates his integrity, social consciousness and God’s love for others, particularly the children, on a daily basis!

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