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Bizarre HR: US Justice Department serves $20 muffins to staff

By: Staff Journalist, Singapore
Published: Oct 25, 2011

STAFF ENGAGEMENT

US – The US Justice Department has been found to spend thousands of dollars on muffins and coffee for staff after a recent audit.

While the US government struggles to trim its huge federal debt, its Department of Justice (DOJ) is determined to continue engaging staff with luxury snacks.

Its Office of Inspector General report released last month found that the department bought 250 muffins that cost US$16 (S$20) each for staff attending a legal conference two years ago. It spent a total of US$4,200 (S$5,300) on snacks, which included cookies and brownies that were priced at US$10 (S$12.60) each.

According to the report that examined 10 conferences held during 2008 and 2009, the DOJ spent US$32 (S$40.40) per person on popcorn, candy bars and coffee at another conference. The total bill during that period came up to around US$121 (S$151) million, which exceeded its own budget.

The DOJ also spent nearly US$600,000 (S$758,000) for event planning services.

A DOJ spokeswoman said previous gatherings had no strict limits on food and beverage costs. However, she added that the agency has taken steps “to ensure these problems do not occur again”.

US senator Chuck Grassley said news of these extravagant luxuries by public servants have made US citizens “cynical” about the government. "People are outraged, and rightly so."

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