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Safe from Sequester: $704,198 for Gardening at NATO Ambassador’s Home

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posted on Apr, 10 2013 @ 08:15 AM
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I do realize that image and prestige of diplomats and their residence is important at times as it represents the US overseas. However during tough times (atleast while the sequestration is active), some of the costs should be avoided regardless of the political party representing the US. The height of hypocricy is amazing in our political system. On one hand we have civilians and military veterans taking cuts and on the other hand, the tax payers money is wasted on unnecessary expenses. This is only 1 of many that is being reported on. Wonder how many such unnecessary expenses that are unreported. God Please Do Bless America !

Just over a week after sequestration took effect, the State Department allotted more than $700,000 for gardening at a U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Brussels, Belgium.

On March 11, State awarded a contract to provide gardening services at an “official residence” of the U.S. Mission in Belgium.

A State Department spokesperson confirmed to CNSNews.com that the contract is for Truman Hall, a historic property that serves at the residence of the Ambassador to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The current U.S. ambassador to NATO is Ivo H. Daalder, who was appointed by President Barack Obama in May 2009.

The total award comes to $704,198.30, including $134,744 for the base year and four one-year option periods thereafter.

A State Department spokesperson said that Truman Hall regularly hosts visitors from the 28 NATO nations and other Alliance partner countries around the world and is a valuable platform for America’s diplomacy.

The award provides for grass cutting, edging, trimming, weeding, and other gardening and landscaping services. It will also mandate the planting of 960 violas, tulips, and begonias.

Truman Hall, named after former President Harry S. Truman, was built in 1963 by Architect B.A. Jacquemotte and Landscape Architect René Pechère. The 28-acre property consists of several gardens, meadows and a lawn pavilion.

The award came just 10 days after automatic across-the-board cuts, known as the sequester, took effect on March 1. Prior to the cuts taking effect, Secretary of State John Kerry warned that the sequester could “seriously impair our ability to execute our vital missions of national security, diplomacy and development.”

In a letter to Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.) on Feb. 11, Kerry said sequestration means $2.6 billion less in fiscal year 2013 for State Department programs.

"These cuts would severely impair our efforts to enhance the security of U.S. government facilities overseas and ensure the safety of the thousands of U.S. diplomats serving the American people abroad," he said.

In addition to Truman Hall, the State Department is currently soliciting gardening services for U.S. Embassies in Jakarta, Indonesia; Santiago, Chile; Maseru, Lesotho; and Bangkok, Thailand.

The solicitation for the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta places a maximum amount of $500,000.

A State Department spokesperson said the award for Truman Hall was made at the lowest price technically acceptable, at a total cost of $704,198.30. The contract was awarded to Iris Greencare, a landscaping company based in Brussels.
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posted on Apr, 10 2013 @ 08:36 AM
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Sell 27 of the 28 acres. Buy the Ambassador a lawnmower. That will take care of most of the gardening.



posted on Apr, 10 2013 @ 08:40 AM
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Off with his head!



posted on Apr, 10 2013 @ 08:44 AM
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People high up in government can't see this as waste. They see prestige as a necessary thing. Look at Washington DC. Couldn't they run a good government without all the extravagance? It's not so bad when the top most government does this but this extravagance is getting into schools. Do they need all that impressive archetecture and roomy classrooms full of rugs that are hard to clean microbes and dustmites out of? What happened to floor tile and carpets at the doors. What happened to big chalkboards?

We got a mess here, the embassy doesn't need expenditures like this.






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