GSA gets buyout nod

Troubled procurement agency can now offer early-outs to as many as 395 employees

The General Services Administration is now authorized to offer early-out and buyout packages to some of its employees, according to a memo from David Bibb, GSA’s acting administrator.

The Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Management and Budget granted GSA the authority, according to Bibb’s May 5 memo. In it, he called the future bright for GSA.

Many observers, however, do not share that outlook. With falling sales mostly in the Federal Technology Service (FTS), they agree GSA had to do something to curb cost overruns. Nevertheless, according to some observers, the loss of employees could harm the agency as experienced workers leave.

Bibb’s memo states that the packages were approved for parts of the Office of Global Supply in the Federal Supply Service and for parts of FTS.

Gail Lovelace, GSA’s chief people officer, said the agency was authorized to offer packages to 395 employees. She expects about 200 of them to take the offers.

Bibb wrote that the authority “will allow some associates who would like to consider various options for their future to do so and will also allow GSA to move forward with more financial flexibility to address our business challenges.”

Some industry officials agreed that the buyouts are necessary. “When you don’t have work for people to do, you have to get them off the payroll in some manner,” said Larry Allen, executive vice president of the Coalition for Government Procurement. “Hopefully, FTS will restore its operations over time and staff up again.”

Jack Hanley, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees’ Council of GSA Locals, said the result of the buyouts could be the loss of talented professionals from an agency that needs them.

“I think we will lose some experienced and talented people,” Lovelace said in response to Hanley’s concern. “We could have made this a lot larger than it is, but we specifically chose not to.”

The move to offer the packages is part of an effort to save money for GSA, whose business revenue has dropped in the past two fiscal years. GSA officials said the

early-outs and buyouts could save the agency about $10 million this fiscal year.

Lovelace said GSA is not forcing people out through a process called reduction in force. “Buyouts aren’t RIFs,” she said. “We aren’t involuntarily separating anybody. These are opportunities that we are giving people.”

Neal Fox, a former GSA official now working as an independent consultant, said the problem with buyouts is that experienced employees and younger, new talent will find the offers most appealing. GSA won’t be able to specifically target poor performers.

“The end result may improve the bottom line somewhat, but the agency is harmed,” Fox said.

Other analysts said GSA’s problems are too big to be solved so easily.

“I don’t believe the GSA has a clear vision on where it needs to go to show value” to its customer agencies, said Carl DeMaio, president of the Performance Institute.

GSA workers’ ticket to ride

The General Services Administration has been granted authority to offer early buyout packages to some employees in an effort to save money by getting them off the agency’s payroll.

GSA had been seeking the authority for some time, in an effort to reverse its flagging fortunes.

“GSA had to do something to reduce costs,” said Larry Allen (at right), executive vice president of the Coalition for Government Procurement.

The agency’s business revenue has dropped in the past two fiscal years. Its Information Technology Solutions business will fall about 40 percent between fiscal 2004 and fiscal 2006’s projections.

The Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Management and Budget approved the packages for parts of the Federal Supply Service’s Office of Global Supply and parts of the Federal Technology Service.

— Matthew Weigelt

The Fed 100

Save the date for 28th annual Federal 100 Awards Gala.

Featured

  • computer network

    How Einstein changes the way government does business

    The Department of Commerce is revising its confidentiality agreement for statistical data survey respondents to reflect the fact that the Department of Homeland Security could see some of that data if it is captured by the Einstein system.

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. Army photo by Monica King. Jan. 26, 2017.

    Mattis mulls consolidation in IT, cyber

    In a Feb. 17 memo, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told senior leadership to establish teams to look for duplication across the armed services in business operations, including in IT and cybersecurity.

  • Image from Shutterstock.com

    DHS vague on rules for election aid, say states

    State election officials had more questions than answers after a Department of Homeland Security presentation on the designation of election systems as critical U.S. infrastructure.

  • Org Chart Stock Art - Shutterstock

    How the hiring freeze targets millennials

    The government desperately needs younger talent to replace an aging workforce, and experts say that a freeze on hiring doesn't help.

  • Shutterstock image: healthcare digital interface.

    VA moves ahead with homegrown scheduling IT

    The Department of Veterans Affairs will test an internally developed scheduling module at primary care sites nationwide to see if it's ready to service the entire agency.

  • Shutterstock images (honglouwawa & 0beron): Bitcoin image overlay replaced with a dollar sign on a hardware circuit.

    MGT Act poised for a comeback

    After missing in the last Congress, drafters of a bill to encourage cloud adoption are looking for a new plan.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group