Fraud and Waste

Yesterday, I was talking to a lady at the gym who handles research grants. She said that because of the recent flatlined budgets, many grants have had to be reduced or cut. Understandably, because of that, some research programs have had to reduce staff, cut equipment funding, and slow down or sometimes even halt their research projects. She also mentioned that sometimes some offices she worked in ran short of paper and basic supplies before the year ended while other offices were giving everyone a color printer at the end of the year. There’s something wrong with the system when funds can’t be diverted where they need to go. I know the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service was dinged earlier this year for giving their SES’s generous bonuses while crying for operational money. I believe they ended up defending themselves by saying that the money appropriated for salaries (including bonuses) could not be spent elsewhere. Ok, so then I ask, why did you request that amount for salaries instead of where you were short on dough? Why didn’t you ask for more overhead money and less pad-your-wallet money?