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GSA Public Buildings Service commissioner steps down

Norman Dong

Norman Dong is leaving his position as head of the General Services Administration's Public Buildings Service to join the Federal City Council, a privately funded association focused on projects and policies affecting D.C. 

A GSA spokeswoman confirmed the departure, and said that Deputy Commissioner Michael Gelber will run the Public Buildings Service on an acting basis "until a permanent commissioner is appointed."

The change comes as GSA is under pressure to address the potential conflicts raised by the government's lease arrangement with President Donald Trump for the Old Post Office building that is now a Trump hotel. The agency said shortly before Inauguration Day that it would assess the situation after Trump announced plans to recuse himself from day-to-day operations of his business. Democrats in both the House and Senate have accused GSA of moving too slowly and demanded additional information. 

The Washington Post was the first to report Dong's departure, citing "a draft email to colleagues and staff."

Acting GSA Administrator Tim Horne praised Dong for his work at GSA and wished him well in the new role. "I have had the privilege of working with Norm for the last three years," Horne said in a statement provided by the GSA spokeswoman. "His leadership, work ethic, intelligence and perspective as a former customer helped make us a more efficient organization."

Dong very briefly preceded Horne as acting GSA administrator, having been tapped for that role by outgoing Obama administration officials on Inauguration Day. The Trump administration reversed that decision within hours and elevated Horne, who had served as GSA's federal transition coordinator throughout 2016.

Before coming to the Public Buildings Service in 2014, Dong served for two years as deputy controller in the Office of Management and Budget -- where he won a Federal 100 award for his work to encourage shared services. Before that he was the Federal Emergency Management Agency's chief financial officer. 

Dong's public service also includes time as Washington, D.C., city administrator and deputy mayor under then-Mayor Anthony Williams. The move to the Federal City Council represents a reunion of sorts, as Williams is that group's executive director.

The Washington Business Journal reported that Dong's move is a temporary detail, rather than a resignation from GSA. FCW was not immediately able to confirm the exact nature of the departure. 

Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Mar 08, 2017 at 5:48 PM


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