GSA's crackdown on spending saves millions

The General Services Administration’s crackdown on wasteful spending since the conference fiasco earlier this year is starting to pay off.

Officials announced Aug. 27 the agency has saved $11 million by putting tighter limits on travel and conferences. But more is to come, according to Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini.

 “We've made significant cuts in travel and conference spending, and these savings are just the beginning,” Tangherlini said in a statement. "We are deepening our commitment to promoting efficiency, driving steeper bargains, delivering better value, and creating greater opportunities for savings here at GSA and across the government."

GSA officials said the $11 million in savings come from policies implemented following the Las Vegas conference-spending scandal that unfolded in April 2012. Tangherlini took over at GSA after that scandal led to the resignation of Administrator Martha Johnson. The squeezing of the travel and conference budgets is part of Tangherlini's effort to improve agency operations and make them more efficient.

So far, 47 conferences have been canceled, and GSA officials have drilled down to curtail travel to necessary functions. Tangherlini also consolidated oversight of conference and travel expenses in the new Office of Administrative Services, agency officials said. 

GSA’s overall spending cuts aren’t limited to just traveling and conference, though. The best tips from The Great Ideas Hunt -- which called on agency employees to submit their best ideas for saving money – is currently being implemented in hopes to save another $5.5 million.

Those efforts include simple moves such as scrapping a redundant employee survey and choosing online newspapers and magazines rather than print publications.

About the Author

Camille Tuutti is a former FCW staff writer who covered federal oversight and the workforce.

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