Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Defending Government

I'm not typically in the habit of defending government organizations, but sometimes its necessary, especially when the facts are being misrepresented.
In advance of a House Committee on Government Reform hearing, in which the matter would have come up anyway, the U.S. Commerce Dept. responded to a Committee request by disclosing in a private briefing yesterday that it believes as many as 1,137 laptop computers have been lost from the Dept.'s inventory since 2001.
The article goes on to say that this number represents about 3% of the laptops used over the 5 year period.

It sounds terrible to have lost over 1000 laptops, but the truth is - its not that bad. Speaking from personal experience, its not that hard to lose computers from inventory if you have sloppy inventory or audit procedures.

I can also say, with near absolute conviction, that the laptops aren't really lost; they just don't know where they are. In reality, those computers are sitting on a shelf someplace out of reach of automatic inventory.

Should the Commerce Department be chastised for shoddy accounting? Absolutely, but they really didn't lose those computers.

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