Management

Can sequestration polish GSA's image?

Dan Tangherlini GSA image

GSA Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini (file photo)

Sequestration, for all of its downsides, might give the General Services Administration an opportunity to polish its muddied image as agencies look for all possible ways to save money, the agency's leader said March 19.

"This is the time for GSA to demonstrate its worth, and really make amends for things that happened," Dan Tangherlini, acting administrator, told a panel of House appropriators. The mud comes primarily from the revelation of a lavish conference that came to light in 2012, prompting then-administrator Martha Johnson to resign.

GSA itself is in a "sequestration-free zone," as subcommittee chairman Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.) described it, because most of its funds come from agencies’ rental payments or charges for using its contracting services, via the Industrial Funding Fee, rather than appropriated funds.

Yet Tangherlini said GSA can show its value now as it provides options for what it was created to do in the first place: Push down the cost of services and products through scalable purchases and leases. GSA’s mission is to deliver the best value in real estate, acquisition, and technology services. It has also been working to cut costs for agencies on conference and travel expenses. GSA itself announced the cancellation of two summer conferences due to sequestration and budget cuts.

GSA is hunting for money-saving solutions through rent consolidations and bulk buying of products and services through strategic sourcing, which has gained a lot of support among agencies, Tangherlini told the House Appropriations Committee’s Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee during an oversight hearing.

Tangherlini said that agency leaders have been cordial to him since he became acting GSA administrator, but now that is changing. Because agency interest in learning all of their options for reducing spending with minimal mission impact, "I have to say I’m pretty enthusiastically received right now," he said.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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