NOAA pulls ad seeking magician for training event

5:58 AM, May 4, 2012   |    comments
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(CNN) -- In the wake of the GSA convention scandal that is still reverberating across the government, officials at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration on Thursday pulled a help-wanted ad for a magician to appear at a leadership training event for its staff in the Washington area next month.

The ad sought a person who could use "experiential exercises, physical energizers, magic tricks, puzzles, brain teasers, word games, humor and teambuilding exercises."

The person also was asked to create "a unique model of translating magic and principles of the psychology of magic, magic tools, techniques, and experiences into a method of teaching leadership," according to a copy of the ad released by U.S. Sen. Scott Brown, R-Massachusetts, who was angered by what he called a waste of tax dollars.

In a statement, NOAA said it would investigate how and why the ad was placed.

"NOAA has removed a solicitation for a speaker at a leadership training for career staff posted on the Federal Business Opportunities website, and has referred the solicitation to the General Counsel and NOAA's Chief of Resource and Operations Management to review the statement of work and the process surrounding the solicitation. No speakers have been hired or confirmed for this training session," said Scott Smullen, NOAA deputy director.

Brown, who has battled NOAA over what he says is too much regulation of the fishing industry in his home state, called the ad "outrageous."

"This is taxpayer abuse, pure and simple, and I urge Commerce Secretary John Bryson to immediately cancel these frivolous plans. This is a low point even by Washington standards and an insult to the fishing families that have been harmed by NOAA's overregulation and attitude of indifference," Brown said in a statement.

Beyond their statement, NOAA officials were not immediately available to answer questions about the ad.