GSA gets authority to offer early-outs and buyouts

The General Services Administration is now authorized to offer early-out and buyout packages to employees, according to a memo from David Bibb, GSA's acting administrator.

The Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Management and Budget granted GSA the authority, according to Bibb's May 5 memo. In the memo, he called the GSA’s future bright, but not everyone agrees with that view. However, they hope Bibb’s prediction is right.

Bibb’s memo states that the packages were approved for parts of the Office of Global Supply in the Federal Supply Service and for parts of the Federal Technology Service.

The authority “will allow some associates who would like to consider various options for their future to do so and will also allow GSA to move forward with more financial flexibility to address our business challenges,” Bibb wrote.

Officials said the early-outs and buyouts could save the GSA about $10 million in this fiscal year. They have also said the packages could affect about 400 employees.

“It is a win-win situation for all parties and promises to bring good results,” Bibb wrote.

Jack Hanley, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees Council of GSA Locals, disagreed with Bibb's optimistic assessment.

“I am concerned that we’ll be losing too many experienced and talented people,” he said in an interview today.

The move to offer the packages is part of an effort to save money for the GSA, whose business revenue has dropped in the past two fiscal years. According to numbers provided by GSA officials, revenues for its Information Technology Solutions business fell approximately 40 percent between fiscal 2004 and 2006, based on 2006 projections.

In the January and February variance reports on the GSA’s 11 regions’ revenues, no region has met its projected revenues in IT Solutions. The loss of business from the Defense Department is among the many reasons for the lower-than-expected revenues.

To regain that business, Hanley said, the employees who will be offered early-outs and buyouts will most likely take up the offer.

“Employees are fearful,” he said, adding that he hopes there are not reductions by force or other “draconian furloughs” in the future.

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