220-person federal agency made oil paintings of 17 top staffers

A federal agency that provides mediation services between companies and unions spent $3,867 on an ice maker for its office, $300 for a coffee pot and pays monthly bills for satellite TV for its office.

Paintings of 17 past managers of the 220-employee Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service hang in the office, and the agency spent $2,402 in 2013 because of an "additional request for portrait retouching for Scot Beckenbaugh," an FMCS deputy who merely served as acting director for one year.

"They were actual artwork portraits," said former FMCS employee Tanya Pelcher-Herring. "These people got their portraits done like they were reigning kings or something. One portrait of a former director included his dog. In my 20 plus years of federal service, I've never seen anything like it before."

The agency also paid $1,325 for five pairs of headphones, $625 for a "diversity video," and $1,700 each for multiple employees to attend a "Social Media in Government Conference."

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