GSA to reveal more tech fund abuses

FTS Alert Report

A report soon to be released will reveal that the Federal Technology Service offices in at least two additional locations misused Information Technology Fund money and improperly used contractors — violations similar to actions earlier documented by the General Services Administration.

In a preliminary report released in March, the General Services Administration's Inspector General found that the FTS Client Support Center in Bremerton, Wash., misused at least $37 million in IT funds to pay for construction and engineering work. The Federal Technology Service is an organization within GSA.

Now the GSA IG is working on a report that will show similar violations in at least two other regions, FTS Commissioner Sandra Bates said in a conference call this morning. She did not detail the problems that will be revealed in the upcoming report, but Bates said they are similar in nature to what happened at Bremerton. The agency is taking aggressive steps to prevent similar abuses in the future, she said.

"We're not waiting until we get the final report," Bates said. "We're moving ahead, and we're moving ahead aggressively."

GSA divides the United States into 11 geographic regions, each run from a regional headquarters. The violations occurred in Region 4, the Southeast, and Region 6, the Midwest, she said. Bremerton is in Region 10, which includes the Northwestern states and Alaska.

Bates emphasized the agency's intent to root out problems. "GSA associates found the problem," she said. "GSA associates reported the problem to the IG and requested that the IG conduct comprehensive reviews. ... This is very important."

The General Services Administration has already instructed administrators in affected regions to put together action plans, said David Bibb, acting deputy GSA administrator.

"We've already reiterated key GSA policies and procedures guiding procurement," he said. "We are strengthening internal controls. We are requiring a paid legal review of certain contracting actions."

The increasing complexity of IT procurements may be a factor in some of the documented incidents, Bates said. Others may be caused by a sense of competition between regions to attract and retain customers. FTS is approaching those issues by both training and renewing the emphasis on following policies and procedures.

Most of the employees involved in the Bremerton case have moved to another client support center in Auburn, Wash., Bates said. They continue to do the same work, but under different supervisors.

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