Grassley demands FTS 'housecleaning'

Sen. Charles Grassley's letter to GSA

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A U.S. senator believes that a thorough housecleaning is needed at the General Services Administration's Federal Technology Service.

Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) was responding to a GSA inspector general report detailing the misuse of information technology funds and other improprieties at FTS client support centers in three GSA regions.

In a Jan. 13 letter to GSA Administrator Stephen Perry, Grassley said the centers "give every appearance of having run virtually unchecked and amuck and have committed almost every conceivable contracting irregularity."

The irregularities were first revealed last fall when employees at a center in Bremerton, Wash., brought possible problems to the attention of supervisors. Earlier this month, agency officials announced that further investigation uncovered similar problems in two other regions.

GSA officials, including FTS commissioner Sandy Bates, have admitted the irregularities, attributing them to poor training, lax supervision and, in some cases, employees who are apparently willing to bend the rules to increase their sales numbers. The agency has launched training programs and is using outside firms to evaluate its performance measures and to create an action plan.

Grassley is not satisfied with that.

"Simply appearing contrite and saying 'mea culpa' will not be sufficient in this case," he wrote to Perry. In addition to the housecleaning, the Iowa senator demanded that the GSA inspector general examine the agency's other eight regions to see if similar problems exist.

In a written statement, a GSA official defended the agency's response.

"The senior management team at GSA is committed to aggressively dealing with the issues described in the Inspector General's report," the statement reads. "We take this matter very seriously and fully agree that adherence to proper contracting laws and regulations is extremely important. We have been and will continue to take aggressive actions to remedy the problems that have been found and prevent future recurrences."

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