The following text and info is taken from Highlights of GAO-07-432, a report to the Chairman, Committee on Science and Technology, House of Representatives [click link for PDF]
It's a pretty accessible read, and fascinating in it's awfulness.
" Over the past 10 years, NASA has reported that it lost over $94 million in equipment and for 6 of those years, its equipment loss rate has exceeded its annual performance goal of 0.5 percent. Although, according to NASA,
some of this equipment was eventually located during subsequent physical inventories,2 NASA’s failure to keep track of these items leaves them vulnerable to theft and misuse. The high equipment losses are due, in large part, to a weak internal control environment. NASA’s internal control environment is characterized by management’s :
(1) lack of responsiveness to prior equipment management recommendations,
(2) reluctance to hold employees accountable for equipment loss, and
(3) decision to remove from control (decontrol) millions of dollars of equipment, when faced with equipment losses that exceeded the agency’s annual performance goal. equipment loss study, when faced with equipment losses, NASA raised its
threshold for tracking and controlling nonsensitive equipment items from $1,000 to $5,000.
This essentially eliminated control over all nonsensitive equipment costing less than $5,000. In addition, NASA has yet to address previously reported weaknesses in its process for reviewing and investigating equipment losses or strengthen its policy related to users’ accountability for equipment losses.
As a result, NASA employees are rarely held accountable for equipment losses. Of the 1,136 equipment loss reports completed during fiscal year 2006 that NASA provided to us, only 282—or about 25 percent—were investigated.
Of those investigated, only 2 reports indicated that employees would be disciplined or held financially accountable. "-From the Summary
But even drunks have better exuses than these: ( My snide comments are at the bottom of each entry)
Excuse for losing a Desktop Computer and laser Printer valued at $4,855
Around 8 years ago, my wife was in desperate need for a computer system at home to perform her work as a real estate broker. I could not afford a computer at the time because of my wife’s medical expenses. I knew that surplus computers were available in the warehouse for checkout so I checked one out.
It was already old and outdated but it helped my wife work at home, which was greatly appreciated. She used the computer for about 2 1⁄2 years and then I turned the computer back in. This occurred about 5 years ago. I never received a receipt but I believe the computer was excessed and given to a school.
"Never mind that I used government property for personal use, it was so long ago, and my wife lost the reciept not me, so don't go pointing the finger.... "
Excuse for losing a laptop computer valued at $4,265
This computer, although assigned to me, was being used on board the International Space Station. I was informed that it was tossed overboard to be burned up in the atmosphere when it failed.
Wow, what a cool excuse- there's no way to trace it because it burned up in the atmosphere
"Dude, I was gonna pay you back,really, but the check flew out the window and burned up in the atmosphere"
This doesn't begin to adress the larger problem of astronauts throwing shit they don't want out the window.
Excuse for losing a Projector valued at $7,525
User loaned the projector to another employee but does not recall when or to whom it was loaned.
Excuse for losing a Micro computer valued at $3,072
As system administrator, I had several items in my name. I gave the computer to someone and because I didn’t keep good records, I do not remember who this was given to.
You don't keep good records? And you work for NASA? Why Aren't you fired?
Excuse for losing 65 items valued at $850,321 from Research Aircraft Integration Facility (RAIF)
A thorough and reasonable search was conducted but we were unable to locate the missing property. Prior users were contacted to establish the whereabouts of the property. These items are normally located in the lab and office areas of the RAIF.
Normal security procedures are in place; however, we are unable to lock down and control access to these RAIF areas at all times. In general, the missing items consist of older equipment that has been replaced or is no longer necessary for standard operations.
"We looked everywhere, but no dice. Besides, that shit was old." Just because somethings old doesn't mean you shouldn't inventory it before you get rid of it.
Excuse for losing a DVD recorder, television set, two desktop computers valued at $6,087
I signed for these items when two employees retired. It was my belief that these items would show up during our next scheduled inventory but they did not. I feel we have exhausted all known efforts to locate these items.
"We looked everywhere ,and I thought they would show up on the next inventory. Boy was I wrong. Sorry dudes"
Excuse for losing Five desktop computers valued at $10,527
I have no recollection of the whereabouts of this equipment. It has probably been excessed since for the past year I have not been able to find it.
"I dont remember, and it's probably been junked, because I can't find it, yeah that's probably what happened"
Pretty shitty reasoning for a scientist.
Excuse for losing a Notebook Computer valued at $3,399
This notebook was transferred into my name in 2004 but I never had a use for it. It was old and very outdated. It sat in my office for 6 to 8 months until I moved to my new office. I honestly don’t know when I last saw the computer.
" I had no use for it, so it's not my responsability"
A new twist on the "I was just holding it for a freind" excuse
Excuse for losing Six computers, three display units, and a recorder valued at $26,827
A property custodian, who was assigned almost 100 items, retired but did not properly transfer accountability for the equipment. After many months of searching for the equipment, most of the equipment was located, but the listed items could not be found. Signing this form for these items does not signify that I am taking responsibility for the lost equipment.
Even with changing the threshold for tracking and controlling nonsensitive equipment items from $1,000 to $5,000 , and the specious argument that some of the items were cumulative, this still doesn't excuse any of this shit.
So it's like saying ; We changed from not giving a shit about losing items that cost $999.00 to not giving a shit about losing items that cost $4999.00 . Essentially, NASA, when told to become more fiscally responsible, created policy to become less fiscally responsible.
We should figure out what percentage of our taxes go to NASA, and refuse to pay it. Or, there should be a box you can check or not check saying I want to donate 25 bucks to NASA and a dollar for campaign reform.