UPDATED WITH GSA STATEMENT: This may be the last thing the beleaguered General Services Administration needed after its lavish conference-spending scandal. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee just released a prize-winning music video from that conference in which an employee raps about all the cool stuff he’s going to buy when he’s the boss. Which really doesn’t look good in retrospect, considering that infamous Las Vegas conference cost GSA $822,000 and brought down Administrator Martha Johnson and several other top officials.
The irony in the video runs a mile deep. After a languid ukelele intro laying out his dream of becoming commissioner of GSA’s Public Building Service, the employee — identified as Hank Terlaje — launches into rap-reggae song, bragging about buying field offices supplies and awarding bonuses. And then comes the most cringe-worthy line, considering what happened next because of this conference: “Donate my vacation, love to the nation/I’ll never be under OIG investigation.”
After the song ends, the video switches to the award ceremony, where Terlaje is jokingly named “commissioner for a day” — replacing former commissioner Bob Peck, who was also fired on Monday for his role in staging the conference.
And then, deputy commissioner of the Public Building Service David Foley delivers the video’s second-most cringe-worthy line when he tells Terlaje, “The hotel would like to talk to you about paying for the party that was held in the commissioner’s suite last night.” Which, again, doesn’t look very good, considering the conference actually did blow tens of thousands of dollars on catered food (not to mention the $3,200 for a mind reader, $6,300 for a commemorative coin set, and $75,000 for a training exercise that involved building a bicycle).
Of course, there’s nothing at all to suggest Terlaje had anything to do with that excessive spending. All he’s guilty of is singing a song with an infectious chorus — and I’d say that even if he didn’t give this publication a shout-out. (Although when Mr. Terlaje sang “Every time I close my eyes/I see my name on Federal Times,” I doubt this is how he imagined it happening.)
UPDATE: GSA just sent the following statement in response to the video:
This video is another example of the complete lack of judgment exhibited during the 2010 Western Regions Conference. Our agency continues to be appalled by this indefensible behavior, and we are taking every step possible to ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.
The full song and the award ceremony is below.