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.

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

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Reader comments

Wed, Aug 29, 2012 Raul Espinosa

Let's call a spade, a spade! The problem with GSA is not finding where to save taxpayers money, but how to eliminate 'waste, (internal) fraud and abuse.' GSA has finally got caught at their own game. The GSA FSS program, for example, is an archaic, overly complex and discouraging procurement vehicle which wastes Billions not to mention the fact that it has discriminated against small businesses. How? GSA has been diverting $44 Billion through ILLEGAL exemptions for over a decade. All the FSS does now is to support its own bureaucracy. New technology offers far better, simpler, friendlier and less expensive procurement solutions, as far as commodities are concerned. Let's get rid of the GSA FSS program. That's where GSA will save Billions in taxpayers dollars!!! Raul Espinosa Founder/CEO - Fairness in Procurement Alliance Managing Partner - Umbrella Initiative Board Member - NaFCA

Wed, Aug 29, 2012 JimS

HA! No offense Mr. Tangherlini, but I'll believe the savings when I see them reported in your next budget. This administration has a penchant for exaggerating statistics -and- for "reinvesting" savings. When you "reinvest" savings, they're not really savings. And $11mm is a nice start, but with the Fed being $16B in the whole, and counting, it's unlikely to make much of a difference. I applaud the sentiment, but call me cynical...the taxpayers will never see these "savings"

Wed, Aug 29, 2012

will the be sharing how many conferences are still taking place. Is the $11 million saved during April - August. Or avoided cost through months into the future or FY2012/13?

Wed, Aug 29, 2012

Good, our agency has legitimat travel need but have been forced to curtail much of it, partly because of the GSA debacle and partly because of constricting budgets.

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