The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

Forest Party

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


Every year, South Carolina Forest Service employees participate in the All Employee Conference.  The three-day conference has become an all-inclusive vacation on the taxpayers’ dime.  Activities include arts and crafts, horseshoes, and senior bingo. 

According to a whistleblower who wishes to remain anonymous, the All Employee Conference has been a tradition of the South Carolina Forest Service.  All employees are invited for the annual retreat.  For years the focus was educational sessions on insurance and retirement opportunities for the employees.  Recently, however, the conference is more of a hot spot for sunbathing and recreation. 

At least 100 people from across the state enjoy beautiful resorts lining South Carolina’s coast.  The Penn Center on St. Helena Island hosted this year’s festivities from May 16 to 18.  The agenda featured recreational network building activities such as volleyball, basketball, table tennis.  Motivational speakers were sandwiched between karaoke and Spanish storytellers.  Many employees choose to go to the beach over the speakers – which are all conveniently scheduled for morning hours.    

Every employee receives about $40 for the cost of living each day.  The total cost for lodging travel, catering, and speakers ranges from an estimated $77,000 to $100,000.  Some offices close during conference time.  Therefore, these trips not only waste taxpayer money, but also neglect citizens in need of office services.

Mary Krulia

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