Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Over 25% of USNA Grads to be Marines and Penatgon Fraud

Two articles caught my eye in this weekends news. The first was that this year, over 25% of the US Naval Academy graduates will be commissioned as officers of Marines. According to the Wasington Post, this is the largest number in a decade.

I know that the Officer Candidate School (OCS) classes have each been larger than the class before them. They have actually been the largest OCS classes since the Vietnam War. Unfortunately, the numbers of those that actually complete the training and choose to be commissioned as Marines has been much smaller than expected, or much smaller than most of the formally active duty Marines I work with expected.

Now for the Pentagon Fraud. I hate coupling this next article with something positive about the Marine Corps. (I now can't find the link to this article) But this story just blew my mind. A contractor pleaded guilty, according to Bloomberg News, to stealing over $20 million over 9 years. The contractor owned a South Carolina parts distributor and she made her money by charging HUGE shipping charges for items. For example, $998,798 shipping for two 19-cent washers that she sent to an Army base in Texas and around half a million dollars for shipping three screws that cost $1.31 to Marines in Iraq. Can I just say Holy CRAP!

Secondly, I'd like to ask, who the hell approved those payments? I hope that finance officer got fired.

Now, I've trained civilian government finance officers over the years. One of the most frustrating things for me as a tax payer is seeing them order things and being quoted a certain price but when the item comes in, they are invoiced twice the price. What the heck is up with that. I commented on that in a training class once. You know, if I ordered something with my own money and was told at the time I ordered it that it would be $24 but when I got it I found out I had been charged or was being billed $48 I would be raising H-E double toothpicks. Why don't they do that when its the government money? I had several people tell me it was too hard to dispute those extra charges, it was just easier to pay the additional amount. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!?

That stuff makes me so angry. It really does. I did print this article out and I plan on sharing it the next time I teach a class.

1 comment:

Samantha West said...

There are contracts written where your bid does not include the shipping and you're free to charge whatever you want. I know that some contracts are designated as "fast pay" which means once you enter the invoice into the system (over the internet now), the funds are immediately transferred to your bank account. However, I NEVER would have thought someone wouldn't have found an exorbitantly high shipping charge in an audit. I say STUPID woman. She probably could have gotten away with ten times the shipping fee but not the prices she charged. As our lawyer often tells some of our clients "The law allows you to be a pig, but not a hog."