The conference spending included $4 million in 2010 in Anaheim, Calif., for which the agency did not negotiate lower room rates, even though that is standard government practice, according to a statement by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Instead, some of the 2,600 attendees received benefits, including baseball tickets and stays in presidential suites that normally cost $1,500 to $3,500 per night.
In addition, 15 outside speakers were paid a total of $135,000 in fees, with one paid $17,000 to talk about “leadership through art,” the House committee said. Acting commissioner, Danny Werfel, stated “This conference is an unfortunate vestige from a prior era” and “many of the expenses associated with it were inappropriate and should not have occurred.”
While the IRS was egregious in its spending, one would also have to wonder what kind of oversight was being performed by the House oversight committee during this time.
PCA made the right ruling on composting
Thumbs up to the Minnesota Court of Appeals for clearing the way for the continued operation of a new food composting facility in Good Thunder.
Opponents of Full Circle Organics, which opened in February, argued the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency shouldn’t have granted permits for the facility without requiring a more lengthy and detailed environmental assessment.
The court ruled the state, including a MPCA citizens board, had properly vetted the project and said opponents environmental concerns were generalized and provided little material evidence to support their case.
It is understandable the some nearby residents would have concerns, but such composting facilities should be encouraged.
The facility takes organic food wastes, mostly from restaurants and institutional settings, mixes it with yard waste and wood chips then ferments it and turns it into a landscaping material and for use at organice farms.
That recycled food would have otherwise ended up in landfills. Some 33 million tons of food waste needlessly goes into landfills each year in the United States. Finding ways to reduce that waste through modern, well-run composting facilities benefits everyone.