WASHINGTON -- Senator Chuck Grassley is investigating the cost of training top federal employees -- at taxpayer expense -- at several institutions, including Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.
The Iowa Republican, in a letter to the dean of the Kennedy School, noted that a recent graduate from the school’s “senior executive fellows” program reported that the federal government paid $17,500 for a four-week course, in addition to travel expenses. Tuition for the program has since been raised to $18,300.
“Recently, I learned that numerous agencies of the federal government are expending large amounts of taxpayer funds on executive education,” Grassley wrote in the letter, which was sent today to David T. Ellwood, dean of the Kennedy School. “Although I am a strong proponent of maintaining a well-trained, highly competent federal workforce, I am alarmed by what appears to be the excessive costs related to these programs.”
Grassley noted that the costs are much higher, on average, than undergraduates pay to attend the school.
Grassley is requesting that by June 16 the school provide more than three years worth of records, detailing the number of individuals who attended the course; the agency that paid for the course; and the total amount of funds involved.
Grassley, who is the ranking Republican on the Committee on Finance, is also looking into similar issues involving the Center for Creative Leadership and the US Office of Personnel Management’s Executive Institute.
“As a matter of good government, it ought to be determined how much the executive branch is spending in total for training for its Senior Executive Service,” Grassley said today in a statement. “And, federal officials are obligated to determine if there are more effective, efficient, and economical ways to train those serving in this category of federal worker.”
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Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.