GSA office faces job cuts

The Office of Governmentwide Policy within the General Services Administration will lose the equivalent of more than 90 full-time positions if an expected 15 percent reduction in fiscal 2006 funding goes through.

President Bush's fiscal 2006 budget request allocates $52.8 million to the office, which received $62.1 million for fiscal 2005. The office, which has played a significant role in in carrying out e-government policy, faced the possibility of 30 percent to 50 percent cuts during internal negotiations over fiscal 2006 budget proposals.

The planned fiscal 2006 reduction will require the Office of Governmentwide Policy to cut staffing by 92 full-time-equivalent (FTE) positions, according to a GSA statement. Forty-five employees would move to other divisions within the agency, and 47 would be eliminated entirely, according to the statement.

The budget cut is forcing the office to "refocus its activities on core policy and regulatory activities that support statutory mission requirements," GSA's statement continues. The office "will realign its program functions to focus on governmentwide policy development and evaluation, and eliminate activities that are not clearly policy related."

The office is undergoing a significant reorganization, with some subdivisions slated for merger, elimination or transfer to other GSA services, according to sources with knowledge of the situation. Agency officials did not speak with Federal Computer Week about the changes.

GSA officials will hold a general meeting next week.

During internal negotiations over the fiscal 2006 budget, some Office of Management and Budget officials said GSA was involving itself in e-government operations to a greater degree than it should. But some observers at the time said OMB officials are already overworked and that effective policy formulation requires operational tests of e-government projects.

The Office of Management and Budget sets policy. GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy helps to carry out those policies

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