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by Sarah J.F. Braley | May 01, 2012

In early April, the chief of the General Services Administration, Martha Johnson, resigned her post over alleged overspending at a training conference the agency held in Las Vegas in October 2010.  

A yearlong investigation of the conference by the agency's own inspector general showed that more than $822,000 was spent to plan and execute a 300-attendee training conference at the M Resort Spa Casino. Among the revelations: Before the meeting took place, more than 100 individual trips sent GSA employees to Las Vegas to learn more about the chosen property.

The report also charges that conference planners followed improper contracting processes and billed for items that were excessive, impermissible and/or questionable. (Read the full report at bit.ly/I5T1sW.)

According to Charles Sadler, CGMP, executive director and CEO of the Society of Government Meeting Pro­fessionals, "GSA's black eye gives SGMP members and leaders a golden opportunity to advocate for training and certification of government planners."

Congress held investigative hearings on the matter April 18-19.