GSA hearing coming

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"The Davis Plan"

The House Government Reform Committee will hold its first hearing on restructuring the General Services Administration within several weeks, a committee official said today.

The committee will look at the continued expansion of share-in-savings and language regarding reverse contracts, said Melissa Wojciak, staff director for the House Government Reform Committee, during an Industry Advisory Council session this morning. Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), committee chairman, plans to hold the first hearing on the GSA's reorganization before Easter, Wojciak said.

"We've been through a very fatiguing year with GSA," she said. Recently, GSA's inspector general conducted a series of probes into the agency's client support centers. GSA's Federal Technology Service operates client support centers in each of GSA's 11 regions. The IG found that employees in many of those offices have been violating various federal contracting rules for the past several years. Experts said the violations were mostly the result of shortcuts that FTS employees took to satisfy customers' needs quickly and were not for personal gain.

The chairman wants a fairly "ambitious" GSA reorganization. Davis has proposed removing the Federal Supply Service and Federal Technology Service from the regions, focusing, instead, on Public Buildings Service. PBS manages many of the federal facilities across the country, including their security.

As for the long-term future of the committee, she said newly-named House Subcommittee on Energy and Natural Resources Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), might step up to fill the void left by Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.), former chairman of the Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census Subcommittee. Issa has indicated an interest in information technology. The Government Reform Committee recently announced the full committee will oversee IT.

During her talk, Wojciak, a mother of two, also endorsed telework, saying how it allowed her to rebound from maternity leave and produced similar results for employees across the government. With a scratchy voice left over from her child's cold, Wojciak said, within a week of returning home after giving birth, she was responding to e-mail daily. Davis "is a very strong proponent of telework," she added. Eyes should be on what workers are producing, "not whether they're at their desks at 8:30 and sit there until 5:00. ... That's just a dim view that doesn't apply to this workplace anymore," Wojciak said.

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