Spend Matters Afternoon Coffee

A mind reader? Really?
US agency chief quits after reports of lavish spending -- A senior government official resigned Monday after a report concluded her agency improperly paid for an "over-the-top" training session near Las Vegas that featured a mind reader, bicycle giveaways and lavish after-hour receptions in resort suites for federal workers. The White House accepted General Services Administration chief Martha Johnson's resignation after she dismissed two deputies and suspended other career employees over an $820,000 conference. The 300-person event at the M Resort Spa and Casino in Henderson, Nev., included a $95-per-person dinner and reception as well as various violations of federal laws and policies.

US penny: alive and kicking.
Why the U.S. Penny Won't Die Like Canada's Just Did -- Poor little guy. Starting in the fall, Canada's government will stop producing the lowly Canadian penny. The fact that pennies are expensive to make and are virtually worthless in today's economy led them to fall victim to Ottawa's budget cuts. The government says the measure will save around $11 million a year because each new penny costs 1.6 Canadian cents to produce. (One Canadian dollar is essentially equal to $1 in the U.S.) And a Canadian penny buys you only about 1/20th of what it could when it was introduced in 1858: A penny that could hypothetically buy a whole loaf of bread then would only buy a few bites of bread now.

New Yorkers lock it in...
State Public Workers Rushed to Join Pensions Before Cutbacks -- Thousands of public employees across New York State rushed to sign up for pensions over the last several weeks, seeking to lock in generous retirement benefits before cuts approved by the State Legislature took effect on Sunday. At the New York City Employees' Retirement System, for example, more than 12,000 workers applied last week to enroll in the pension system -- more than 40 times the typical weekly number of applicants. And the New York City Board of Education Retirement System received nearly 9,000 applications over the last two weeks, after enrolling only 122 new members in all of February.

"nearly 80 percent of incidents resulting in a claim were avoidable."
TT Club Finds Majority of Supply Chain Claims Caused by Human Error -- At a recent freight industry forum in Hong Kong, Jones highlighted the human error factors that cause disruption throughout the global supply chain and spoke of opportunities for operators to save costs by tightening procedures to minimize accidents, breakdowns, delays and other risks. "45 percent of the cost of claims resulting from operational factors was as a consequence of errors or faults in an operator's systems or processes," he stated. In contrast "straight forward theft" accounted for only "29 percent of operational claims.

- Sheena Moore

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