Jul 16, 2009

ABC Story On Social Security Conference In Phoenix

You know it's bad when the title of the piece is Social Security Execs Boogie Down at Lavish Phoenix Conference.

I have been to a lot of conferences but I have never been to one where a motivational dance troupe performed.

Update: From FederalTimes.com:
...[L]eading members of two House and Ways Committee panels are accusing the agency leadership of being tone-deaf in holding the retreat at such a posh resort at a time of high unemployment and record government deficits.

“At a time when millions of Americans are out of work and having to do more with less, and when the SSA has received significant new funding to address near record backlogs after longstanding funding requests made before our subcommittees, it is essential that great care be taken to use administrative funding wisely, in a way that brings the most value to the American people SSA serves,” the members wrote in a July 10 letter to SSA Commissioner Michael Astrue.

Reps. John Tanner, D-Tenn., and Sam Johnson, R-Texas, who are the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Social Security subcommittee; and John Linder, R-Ga., who is the top Republican on the income security and family support subcommittee, wrote the letter.

The lawmakers asked Astrue to provide by July 17:
• Details of costs for travel, rooms, meals, speakers, entertainment, conference room rental and equipment charges.
• The number of official hours SSA employees used traveling and attending the conference, as well as the number of employees who attended and their job titles.
• The process used to select the retreat location, including “whether government contracting rules were followed and whether the hotel housing the conference was the lowest bidder.”


Anonymous said...

Why haven't you titled this the "ABC News Attack Piece"?

Is it only Fox News that does "Attack Pieces"?

This managers' getaway was a huge, huge misstep and waste of time and money regardless of one's political affiliation.

Anonymous said...

actually this is fairly typical for SSA conferences. a few years ago I went to a national office of general counsel conference and a motivational shakespeare troupe performed led by former regan official and fox news contributor ken adelman.

Anonymous said...

"actually this is fairly typical for SSA conferences. a few years ago I went to a national office of general counsel conference and a motivational shakespeare troupe performed led by former regan official and fox news contributor ken adelman."

So SSA has a history of p*ssing away money.

Anonymous said...

Objective evidence,demonstrating ssa doesn't care about their american dependants.

I'ts no wonder the disability process is so long.It has to be,to cut cost and pay for ssa employees's luxuary(salaries and resort conferences).This is opinion.


Nancy Ortiz said...

Every July since the Reagan administration, CO shakes loose with money it's been sitting on all year. You end up with doing everything a well-run agency would do as the year progresses in three short months. Not just meetings. All your photocopy paper and toner for the next FY, all the folders, binders, pens, pencils, markers, etc. If you don't spend the money, of course, it's gone.

As I have previously remarked in this blog, you can spend money on anything except hiring, especially in local offices. Or occupational training, such as that for promoted employees. Or big office maintenance items such as painting the reception area or replacing worn seating, upgrading public restrooms ....etc. Nothing for that.

Without staff to process the claims, we'll have backlogs forever. And, claimants will have every reason to complain.

Anonymous said...

Was the conference for training or was it to relieve stress? That is the $700,000 question. If it was to relieve stress then the claims representatives and service representative should have been at "Casino Night" since they deal with the public and receive the death threats. No wonder Social Security employees do not have a signed contract!

Anonymous said...

This Agency has consistently provided paid vacations disguised as training for the groups of employees who need and deserve it the least. I have sat in my office for years watching administrative law judges and office managers given opportunities to take paid vacations to resort areas during summer months while the people who do the real work in the office are unable to afford to take their own families on vacation.

Anonymous said...

The "motivational dance" was a five minute stretch break. There was a performance by a wheelchair dance troupe, at no cost to the agency.