Doan aims for fiscal efficiency

As the General Services Administration gears up for the official launch of the Federal Acquisition Service, GSA officials are paring down the budget in hopes of improving the agency’s finances.

GSA administrator Lurita Doan said that although many agencies accept budgets that run in the red, this will not be tolerated while she is in charge.

“Not on my watch,” Doan said this morning at a speech in Washington, noting that over the past three years GSA has seen its business and revenue decline.

To that end, Doan said she is analyzing the GSA budget and cutting programs that are not working for the agency or its customers.

She estimated that she has cut approximately $120 million of programs that are underperforming, including high-profile programs such as GSA Preferred and its electronic customer relationship management program.

Cutting the eCRM program was particularly painful, she told reporters after her speech, because she is a big believer in electronic commerce, but GSA Preferred—a program that aimed to give customer agencies a better view on how they spend their money on IT projects—was “wildly over budget, behind schedule, and wasn’t interoperable.”

Setting the budget straight should be easier now that Congress has officially approved legislation that merges the Federal Supply and Federal Technology services into the Federal Acquisition Service, she said. Congress also approved consolidating the General Supply and IT funds into a single Acquisition Fund.

Doan said she will sign an order officially creating FAS as soon as President Bush signs the bill into law, which should happen before the end of the week.

She is currently mulling changes to the division’s structure proposed by FAS commissioner Jim Williams earlier this month, and said she would provide details when her order is issued.

“FAS is the most far-reaching and comprehensive reorganization in GSA history,” she said.

Williams, who spoke at the same event, later said he would not reveal his suggestions until after Doan made them public.

He did say, though, that he does not expect an immediate difference in how GSA does business now that the reorganization is official. Changes will be felt over time, he said.

“This is not something that’s going to be a big bang,” he said after his speech. “This is something that’s going to be a phased approach and not something we can do overnight.”

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