Editorial: Yes, GSA does matter

Two weeks ago in this space, we asked the question: Is the General Services Administration worth saving? We believe it is — particularly today. And we believe the agency is taking some important steps to address its current problems.

A certain frothiness has developed around GSA, which has left the agency’s employees, customers and those in industry on red alert. We hope and believe GSA is taking steps — in public and in private — to be open about its problems. This is important because the agency will not be able to move forward until people are convinced that its leaders are fully aware of where the agency is not working before they can truly have faith in the proposed fixes.

The cliché is that from adversity comes improvement. GSA’s leaders have a window of opportunity right now to make important changes — changes that may have been too difficult or impossible before — that will put the agency in a better position for the years to come.

GSA’s work is not always sexy. People don’t vie to become the next GSA administrator. But it can — and should — provide critical help that will allow agencies to focus on their missions. This is particularly true as agencies have slashed the number of procurement executives. GSA can — and should — be a vital adviser in helping agencies do their jobs efficiently.

Perhaps what is most frustrating is that today’s GSA is a far cry from the agency that David Barrum led from 1996 to 2000. During Barrum’s tenure, the agency was a place where people wanted to work, an agency that was brimming with enthusiasm, passion and new ideas for how to help agencies do their work better, faster and with less cost.

We believe GSA can get its mojo back. Furthermore, if agencies are going to do their work well, it is important that GSA get that zeal back.


About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.

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