(Becket Adams) The feds have ordered the General Services Administration to reinstate an official who was fired last year for his connection to the agency’s lavish 2010 Las Vegas conference, according to theWashington Post.
Paul Prouty was accused by GSA officials last year of knowing “about the questionable and excessive expenditures,” the report notes. They added that if he didn’t know, he should have.
“But the agency failed to prove that the career civil servant in charge of federal buildings in the Rocky Mountain region was guilty of misconduct,” the Post notes, citing a ruling by the Merit Systems Protection Board.
The GSA will also give Prouty 11 months back pay.
Administrative judge Patricia Miller in her ruling argued that because Prouty didn’t actually attend or plan the swanky 2010 Las Vegas conference, he shouldn’t be held responsible.
“We are disappointed with the . . . ruling,” the GSA said in a statement. The agency “has taken strong action against those officials whom we believe were responsible and will continue to do so where appropriate.”
Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini “has taken significant steps over the past year to improve internal controls and oversight,” the statement added.
A spokeswoman with the agency says they’re contemplating whether to appeal the ruling.
William Bransford, Prouty’s attorney, argues his client was a fall guy, adding that the Obama administration was simply trying to distance itself from the scandal.
“Some of the people making decisions on discipline were responding to the fact that the conference had become a political issue,” Bransford said. “They needed as many scapegoats as they could find.”
Although much of Prouty’s staff attended the conference, and he “engaged in some of the planning,” Bransford explained, “GSA was unable to provide any evidence of misconduct.”