Why is it that government agencies and officials just can’t seem to resist the allure of brand new office furniture? News stories about desks and chairs aren’t as sexy as stories about illicit affairs and alleged drug use, but reporters still love a juicy office furniture scandal. These stories about overspending, no-bid contracts, and furtive pocket lining abound – stretching back decades. Apparently, politicians and government employees still aren’t getting the message “That’s our money you’re spending!”
Here are just a few of the more recent scandals:
- Detroit’s Human Services Department gets caught with its hand in the cookie jar. Records apparently show that the Department attempted to use money set aside to provide food and clothing for families in need to buy new furniture for its own offices. The grand total? $210,000.
- In Nova Scotia, Members of the Legislative Assembly (MLAs) will no longer be able to sell off their office furniture when they retire or get ousted in an election. It seems that too many members were expensing pricey furniture and then selling it upon their departure – pocketing the profits. From now on, such office furniture and equipment will become the property of the province.
- Finally, from Great Britain comes the story of the fox in the hen house. The Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (an organization set up to monitor and hold PMs accountable for wasteful spending) has apparently spent 300,000 pounds on office furniture recently. It remains to be seen whether these expenses are justified or if they are another example of government excess.