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NOAA makes magic solicitation disappear

The General Services Administration's conference spending scandal prompted FCW columnist and blogger Steve Kelman to wonder if the inevitable renewed scrutiny would lead to a clamping down on any kind of creativity in agency spending.

It could be happening already. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has withdrawn a solicitation for a motivational speaker who incorporates magic in his or her presentation.

As described by Charles S. Clark in GovExec, the solicitation asked for a speaker who has “created a unique model of translating magic and principles of the psychology of magic, magic tools, techniques and experiences into a method of teaching leadership.” The speaker was being sought for an upcoming event involving 45 employees.

NOAA issued the solicitation on May 1 and withdrew it two days later, Clark reported.

What do you think about the decision? On the one hand, entertaining presentations can keep the attention of the audience and perhaps leave a longer lasting impression. On the other hand, if a stage magician with a motivational speech costs more than another, more prosaic speaker, it might be “taxpayer abuse, pure and simple,” as Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) described NOAA's idea.

Posted by Michael Hardy on May 04, 2012 at 12:18 PM


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