Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman John L. Mica (R-FL) called on the General Services Administration (GSA) to immediately remove from the federal payroll a high-ranking official at the center of recent scandals, and ensure that taxpayers are no longer paying the salary of a public servant who clearly abused his authority, position and public funds.
Mica wrote to GSA Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini asking that Region 9 Public Buildings Service Commissioner Jeffrey Neely be fired, or at a minimum stop receiving his taxpayer financed paycheck.
"Last week, GSA senior executive Neely took the Fifth Amendment before the House's chief investigative panel and then snubbed the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, which has jurisdiction over GSA," Mica said. "He has abused his position of leadership and should not continue to be on the public payroll.
"Mr. Neely bears significant responsibility for wasting hundreds of thousands of dollars in taxpayer money," Mica continued. "He helped organize the lavish 2010 Las Vegas conference, a dubious employee awards programs that handed out iPods, cameras, electronics, gift cards and more, and a conference for interns at a resort in Palm Springs. He also treated official government trips as a personal family vacations to Hawaii, the South Pacific and other locations.
"Although the GSA scandal goes deeper than any one person, Mr. Neely clearly represents what is wrong at the agency and showed absolutely no regard when it came to spending the taxpayers' money," Mica added. "Other high-ranking GSA officials have been fired, resigned, or placed on leave, but despite Mr. Neely's abhorrent conduct and his refusal to cooperate with Congressional investigations, inquiries and hearings, he's still getting a federal paycheck. He needs to be removed from the federal dole immediately."
Last week, the Economic Development, Public Buildings, and Emergency Management Subcommittee held a hearing as part of the Committee's investigation into the gross mismanagement and waste of American taxpayer funds by the GSA. Mr. Neely was requested to appear at that hearing, but refused to do so. Evidence from that hearing and depositions by the Inspector General (IG) confirm his involvement in malfeasance in office and his knowledge of wrongdoing and abuse of public funds.
According to the letter Mica sent today to Acting Administrator Tangherlini, "Every official in the federal government takes an oath which includes, in part, that he or she will "well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office' in which they are about to enter. As part of the duties of any federal employee is the affirmative obligation to "disclose waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption to appropriate authorities'."
The letter continues, "Despite Mr. Neely's refusal to cooperate and assist in our investigation and provide testimony at hearings held by at least two congressional committees, Mr. Neely continues to receive compensation as a senior official of GSA. For many Americans, the idea that their taxpayer dollars are continuing to pay an official who has abused and demonstrated a wanton disregard for his responsibilities as a federal employee and senior executive is unacceptable.
"With the affirmative obligation to disclose waste, fraud, abuse, and corruption and Mr. Neely's refusal to cooperate with congressional committees, you should use every option available and act immediately to remove Mr. Neely from the federal payroll. As you know, these options could include termination, suspension without pay, furlough without pay and unpaid administrative leave."
Mica said the Committee is planning further hearings into how to address wasteful spending at GSA, including examining whether the private sector can more effectively perform agency functions.