Web extra: GSA responds to queries
Editor's Note: The following is a response from the General Services Administration to the story "GSA regions struggle to generate revenue."
GSA is facing a number of challenges, financial challenges in some of our business lines are among them. This particular challenge is engaging the agency as a whole, and we are addressing it institutionally. The reorganization is one way we are working to face that challenge. We believe it will help us by:
- Focusing on customer needs.
- Creating greater value for customers.
- Strengthening GSA’s organizational capability.
- Continuing to foster compliance with federal law and regulation.
GSA currently operates with three major revolving funds. Our Federal Buildings Fund and our General Supply Fund (GSF) are in excellent shape, although some business lines under the GSF must take action to improve their cash flows. In the Information Technology Fund, although most of our business lines are sound financially, diminishing revenues in any of them must be addressed. In the case of IT Solutions, where our most substantial revenue losses have occurred, our regions are continuing to work to retain existing customers; re-engage relationships with former customers, being confident that some will return due to our value-add and expertise; and develop new customers. The same types of contacts are occurring with agency customers at the headquarters level. We are working hard through word and our performance to demonstrate to our customers that we offer the best value for their dollar, are excellent at meeting their needs, have corrected past problems in our procurement processes and can be trusted to handle their funding correctly. So, a major emphasis is on customer relationships and producing to meet their needs.
In that case, prudence and sound business practices dictate that we reduce costs, just as any other business concern would do. Senior leaders at the agency have implemented plans to address this business reality. We have taken several key steps to address our fiscal position, including the institution of measures to control staffing levels:
- In January, we implemented a hiring freeze for the Federal Technology Service (FTS) and Federal Supply Service (FSS).
- We supplemented that action with a temporary hiring freeze in fiscal 2006 for General Management and Administration staff at the central office and in the regions. This action, which will reduce overhead costs for FTS and FSS, applies to organizations funded through the Working Capital Fund.
- We have also requested from the Office of Personnel Management early out and buy-out authority for certain positions in FTS and FSS.
We have also cut back on discretionary spending for the time being in a number of areas across the agency. For example, we are deferring systems development funded by the ITF that do not absolutely have to take place this fiscal year.
We acted to bring about these corrective actions in a thoughtful, measured way, and our actions have been commensurate with changing business conditions.
Regions are vitally important to GSA's success. They are located where the customers are. For example, we can't manage federal buildings and huge office space inventories on the West Coast from Washington, D.C.; they must be managed on a geographically dispersed basis. The same is true for our other services. There is no substitute for building and maintaining customer relationships on a face-to-face basis. Our planning, however, has recognized that we could still achieve that sort of customer interface, while still effecting efficiencies in managing those services, by going to a zonal structure for FAS. Please note that each zone will report through a regional administrator.