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IG: $12.3 million in Smithsonian property missing

By Ed O'Keefe

By The Post's Jacqueline Trescott:

Since 2005, the Smithsonian Institution has lost $12.3 million in personal property, including 89 laptop computers.

A. Sprightley Ryan, the Smithsonian's inspector general, told a congressional committee Thursday that management had failed to hold employees responsible for pilfering items belonging to the Smithsonian, mostly office equipment. "The institution has held only one person accountable for $40 worth of the $12.3 million in missing property in the last five years," Ryan said.

G. Wayne Clough, the Smithsonian secretary, told the House subcommittee on interior, environment and related agencies, a panel of the Appropriations Committee, that the institution would now strictly enforce policies involving museum property.

Ryan, following reports from another Smithsonian unit, discovered that managers were required to adhere to few controls in registering property, pursuing missing objects or disposing of property. The inspector general recommended better training and wider use of accountability forms.

Clough said the Smithsonian is in the process of hiring three people who will be dedicated to managing these concerns.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | December 11, 2009; 1:00 PM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments  
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