Bob Peck, a former General Services Administration official who was fired in April amid a shakeup at the agency, has been hired by San Francisco-based consulting firm Gensler, according to a company release. He will head Gensler’s Washington, D.C.-based regional workplace consulting group.
Peck was the commissioner of the Public Buildings Service when then-GSA Administrator Martha Johnson fired him and her senior advisor Stephen Leeds, following revelations that came to light during an investigation into excessive spending at a 2010 GSA training conference. Johnson then submitted her letter of resignation. Four other regional commissioners were placed on administrative leave at that time. The departures came about after GSA’s Office of the Inspector General reported the agency spent $823,000 on the 2010 Western Regions Conference in Las Vegas. The report described “excessive, wasteful, and in some cases impermissible” spending and improper procurement practices.
Conference expenses included $130,000 for planning and more than $146,000 for catered food, including meals for semi-private parties held in individual hotel rooms. Meal expenses exceeded per diem limits, the report noted.
Peck was among the former and then-current GSA officials who participated in a round of five congressional hearings in the wake of the shakeup at the agency.
During one of the hearings, Peck defended his decision to invite people to his room at the Las Vegas conference for a “meet-and-greet” that ended up costing $1,960.
Peck told lawmakers he had planned on paying for beer, wine and chips out of his own pocket, but was surprised when additional food arrived. Peck said he was assured by a GSA employee that the food was part of the contract with the hotel.
The agency’s new leadership demanded the amount be repaid and Peck said he would do so.
Peck also faced harsh questioning from lawmakers for his decision to recommend Region 9 Public Buildings Service Commissioner Jeff Neely receive a $9,000 bonus in 2011, despite the agency’s performance board recommendation of no bonus and after a preliminary report from the IG’s office.
At the time of the hearings, Neely was under suspension and was later placed on administrative leave. He invoked his Fifth Amendment rights and declined to comment at the hearings. He left the agency in May.
Peck will begin his new job at Gensler on Sept. 4.