Tales of The Washington Revolving Door - Spoiled Fish John Sindelar of GSA Past, Now of Hewlett Packard, Works to Create New Leaders at the ELC Festival While Big Fish Orszag Revolves to Citigroup

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE .......................  August 30, 2010
Hewlett-Packard Agrees To Pay $55 MillionTo Settle Allegations Of Fraud
WASHINGTON – Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) has agreed to pay the United States $55 million to settle claims that the company defrauded the General Services Administration (GSA) and other federal agencies, the Justice Department announced today. This settlement resolves allegations under the False Claims Act that HP knowingly paid kickbacks, or “influencer fees,” to systems integrator companies in return for recommendations that federal agencies purchase HP’s products.

I said this was an instance of "structural corruption" in public life that had become so taken for granted that DC insiders considered it beneath mention or notice
                                                           - James Fallows/The Atlantic

Who is John Sindelar of Hewlett Packard, formerly of GSA? A schmuck of ages? An evil wizard with bad teeth? An overweight, weasel-wording, corporate wheel-greaser living out his twilight days? Who cares?  Hardly anyone, but that's not the point. The point here is to demonstrate the "structural corruption" that goes on at every level of government in Washington, from the most mundane (in the case of Hewlett Packard's John Sindelar) to the most influential (e.g, Peter Orszag of OMB).

Yes, It's the big guys and gals that make the news, people like Julie Gerberding of CDC who went to Big Pharma as her reward for pushing swine flu.  But it's the tadpoles, the "shadows behind the partition", the window tribe types like John Sindelar who are really running things, imploding their country a bit at a time like countless insects in the wood, providing the daily bridges between corporate America and the government that feeds their obesity.  And there are so many of them, hundreds, thousands of these revolving door bureaucrats (RDBs), recruited with a wink and a handshake at corporate-gov executive retreats, and over cocktails in D.C. watering holes, on and on, till finally, it becomes hard to see where government service ends and corporate dominance begins ... And wasn't that the plan all along?  Wink, wink.

Are we saying that John Sindelar, and/or guys and gals like him who used to "work" for the federal government, possibly helped pave the way for corporations like Hewlett Packard to defraud agencies like GSA of billions only to escape with a wrist slap and not a single prosecution? Are we saying that the Peter Orszags of the world, hired by bailed-out banking behemoths like Citigroup, live mainly to protect and serve the money interests of these behemoths as they bid defiance to the laws and spirit of this country?

You do the math. Examples of RDB action figures, Distinguished Fellows, corporate-gov executive hybrids, and all manner of species below. 

First, John Sindelar himself (overweight middle-aged man in the center), and another dim bulb RDB, pretending to be experts on IT issues in the federal gov and generally doing what good corporate RDBs do, i.e., name drop, weasel word, slogan-ize, and blather out with things that are either so banal or obvious they are not worth hearing.

Be warned. You don't have to watch all of this. It's so boring you might entertain thoughts of suicide.

And now, let's take a look at the RDB recruiting festival that creates executive leaders like the ones above.

Gleeful RDBs and Future RDBs With Name Tags
First, a caption for the smiling group of RDBs and future RDBs in the photo to the right :

"HP’s John Sindelar, photographic recidivist Alan Balutis, former Interior Deputy CIO Ed Meagher, GSA Office of Citizen Services Associate Administrator Dave McClure, and senior GSA adviser Josh Sawislak. John reports that he and DoE’s Pete Tseronis, Lockheed’s Dan Norton, and PR guru Steve O’Keefe came in four under in best ball on the Golden Horseshoe course earlier in the day."

Isn't everyone just having a grand old time?  We've got Lockheed and Hewlett Packard's John Sindelar (far left) chumming and golfing and blue-suiting around with a whole host of potential RDBs. What could they be talking about?  What is their purpose? Is it all just to have fun? And where did this pic and story come from?  It came from FED TECH BISNOW reporting on the corporate-gov golf-and-food fest known as the 19th annual Executive Leadership Conference.

Jeez, who can have a qualm or any dyspepsia over something as innocent as an Executive Leadership Conference?  Who can be against such leadership?  Don't we want these great leaders to earn their wings and do the best for America?  Here are some more leaders:

Great American Leaders
As the caption states: "We snapped DoD Deputy CIO Dave Wennergren, former DoT CIO (and now CSC’s) Dan Mintz, and ELC program chair (and Cisco’s) Alan Balutis. Intellectuals, all, Dave tells us he spent several hours hiking yesterday in Prince William Forest (we had to look it up), and Dan visited Jamestown with his wife. As for Alan, anyone whose job title is “Distinguished Fellow” could have napped all afternoon and still seemed smart."

Wait a minute, is that Dick Cheney's estranged half brother on the left, and isn't that guy on the right one of the boors in the video? Whatever ... So here we have the corporate-gov DOD guy, and a CSC corporate-gov guy from DOT, and this boring guy from Cisco brown-nosing and backslapping around, just doing his job. CIO and CIO and Distinguished Fellow, and it all gets blurry who works for the American government and who works for the corporation doing business with the American government.  They're all beginning to look alike, act alike, talk alike ... It's scarier than the old Patty Duke show.

Btw, here is a portion of the roster of the ELC planning committee for the event above, from ACTGOV.COM.  Please note corporate and gov and coporate-gov and gov-corporate types not only in bed together, but brushing their teeth together, feeding each others, wiping each other's asses free of gold residue, and generally providing mutually beneficial therapy in the most innocent and congenial of ways, all for the sake of enabling future American leaders. How selfless and patriotic can they be?

Conference Chairs:
Kathy Conrad, Jefferson Consulting
Dave McClure, General Services Administration

Vice Chairs:
Darren Ash, Nuclear Regulatory Commission
John Sindelar, HP Enterprise Services

Plenary Sessions:
Andrew McLauchlin, CGI Federal
Bill Piatt, General Services Administration

Tim Long, Ziemba Waid Public Affairs
Ramon Barquin, Barquin International
Lawrence Gross, Department of the Interior
Kathleen Turco, General Services Administration

Tracks? ... And there's John Sindelar again! He just keeps popping up doesn't he?  And he gets to mingle with all his friends from GSA, being an ex-GSA guy himself, plus his friends at GSA get to schmooze and plan with consultants and all kinds of corporate weevils doing business with the American government.  I tell ya, if this isn't an example of organizational democracy in action working for the benefit of all, I don't know what is!

Maybe if peeps like Sindelar do a great job at their mother corporations they can get hired by Peter Orszag at Citigroup, move up to the big boys who don't just defraud the American taxpayer, but who actually run the show.  Maybe? ... Maybe?


  1. Anonymous10:00 PM

    I worked with John Sindelar at GSA, and let me tell you, he comes off as a nice guy, but he was part of the system there as much as any manager, a system that resulted in excessively mediocre results at best. As a whole, GSA management was the worst in government, a place where top line managers actually fall asleep at meetings! But it's not surprising he's working the other side now for big bucks. To corporate monsters like HP, John Sindelar earns his pay simply by virtue of who he used to be and the connections he has with other dippy bureaucrats at GSA. I doubt the guy does a lick of real work at HP.

  2. James D.2:34 PM

    John Sindelar : Consulting Services Sindelar Group, LLC - Extensive experience in government management and core business processes.

    John Sindelar is now running his own "consultant company" promising top results, and he lists his key incompetencies, bullet by bullet.

    Lots of buzz words, blah blah, substance-less blather, like in his video.

    All but the most ignorant will ever consider using someone from a loser agency like GSA as a consultant to improve their business or learn the realities of government; but wait a minute, since incompetency *is* a reality of government, perhaps Sindelar can provide an example after all?