Johnson plans to step down March 1

General Services Administrator Roger Johnson late last month announced his resignation, marking the end of a tenure that saw the agency's information technology oversight dwindle and its ranks diminish. The resignation will be effective March 1.

Reaction at GSA was mixed as Johnson, who presided over a massive downsizing and reorganization at the agency, announced his plans to move back to his home in Orange County, Calif., and pursue work with the Democratic Leadership Council. Johnson, formerly a moderate Republican, also expressed displeasure with the hard-line stance of conservative Republicans in Congress and announced he would switch his party affiliation.

Under Johnson's tenure, significant improvements were made to the agency's multiple-award schedules programs, GSA oversight was removed from all but the largest IT procurements, and the importance of telecom projects such as FTS 2000 was bolstered.

Ron Piasecki, deputy commissioner in GSA's Office of Current and Emerging Technology Implementation, said GSA had accomplished more under Johnson's leadership in two and a half years than in the entire 10 years before his arrival. "Fortunately for us, Roger came from within the industry, and he wasn't afraid of technology," Piasecki said. "He encouraged us and allowed us to go full blast. Most of the administrators here haven't had that background."

John Koskinen, deputy director of management at the Office of Management and Budget, said GSA became "energized" under Johnson's leadership.

But some GSA sources said morale at the agency hit rock bottom as a result of Johnson's downsizing and reorganizations. Many criticized his relentless gutting of GSA's functions. "He failed to launch a single new initiative," one source said. "There was no creativity, just cuts. Morale here couldn't be lower, and it won't improve."

Although he did not reveal specific plans, Johnson said he could better advance the administration's agenda by working with private industry to garner support for federal initiatives.

Sources said Thurman Davis, Johnson's deputy, would probably serve as acting administrator until a permanent successor is appointed.

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