GSA uploads offices for new president

The election is still five weeks away, but government realtors have already

secured office space for the new president and 539 of the president's men.

Desktop and laptop computers are being loaded with Microsoft Corp.'s

Windows 2000 and Office suite, Lotus Development Corp.'s Notes and Netscape

Communications Corp.'s Communicator. "Remote connectivity" is being arranged,

and computer experts are standing by in case they're needed.

The General Services Administration is prepared to spend up to $4.27

million to help the new administration settle comfortably into Washington,

D.C.

Under the Presidential Transition Act of 1963, GSA is expected to provide

facilities and services "tailored to meet the needs of the president-elect

and vice president-elect."

So far, the agency, has "secured office space in downtown Washington,

D.C.," a GSA spokesman said. By law, GSA must also provide office space

and furnishings "at such place or places within the U.S." designated by

the incoming president.

GSA is also expected to provide office machines and supplies, and even

pay the salaries of members of the incoming presidential "transition team"

and any experts or consultants the team hires. The law also instructs GSA

to pay the cost of travel, meals, printing, postage and other expenses "as

necessary and appropriate" for the presidential transition team.

By law, money for the transition team becomes available the day after

Election Day — Nov. 8. The $4.27 million is part of GSA's fiscal 2001 budget,

not yet approved by Congress. GSA may have to ask Congress for special funding.

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