Senate ready to act on GSA reorg
- By Matthew Weigelt
- Mar 03, 2006
The Senate is looking to act on the proposed reorganization of the troubled General Services Administration “as soon as possible,” said a spokeswoman for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Congress needs to act on the GSA Modernization Act before the reorganization would take effect. The House passed the bill May 23, but the Senate has yet to take any action.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) “plans to mark up a bill as soon as possible,” said Collins spokeswoman Jen Burita, but the committee has not set a specific date yet.
The House bill, H.R. 2066, introduced last May by Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, “would authorize a much-needed reorganization and streamlining” of the GSA, according to the committee’s report.
This legislation would create a Federal Acquisition Service by merging the Federal Technology Service and the Federal Supply Service.
It would also create a single GSA fund for agency buys.
"Sen. Collins recognizes the importance of combining the two funds into the one fund to allow GSA to improve customer relations while achieving cost savings and efficiencies," Burita said. "Having a healthy, vibrant GSA leverages the government's buying power, bringing necessary goods and services to customer agencies, and ultimately the taxpayer, at the best value."
In a Feb. 24 memo, acting GSA Administrator David Bibb wrote that he approved the organizational design of the FAS.
FTS’ business volume has dropped substantially, prompting a hiring freeze both in the FTS and across the GSA. According to the GSA figures, IT Solutions business volume, both regionally and nationally, has decreased from a high of $7.2 billion in fiscal 2004 to a projected low of $4.3 billion by year’s end.
The GSA inspector general issued a report in 2003 concerning mismanagement of several FTS contracts in GSA’s Bremerton, Wash., office and another in 2004 showing similar problems in the remaining 10 GSA regions. The GSA then began its Get it Right campaign to rein in those problems and ensure accurate and transparent use of GSA governmentwide contracting vehicles.
Many experts say agency management overreacted with Get It Right and forgot about its customers. Thus, the GSA faces deep financial trouble as many agencies are going elsewhere for their contracting needs.
“The federal marketplace should reflect the best of the commercial marketplace: both in the products and services we buy and the way we buy them,” the House committee report said.