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Bibb Speaks at The IRMCO 2006 Conference

As prepared for delivery

Remarks By
David L. Bibb
Acting Administrator
U.S. General Services Administration
Annual Interagency Resources Management Conference (IRMCO) 2006
Williamsburg, VA
4/23/06

Thank you very much, John (Sindelar), for that kind introduction. Good evening, ladies and gentlemen; it’s a pleasure to be with you for the 45th IRMCO Conference.

As you know, GSA sponsors this annual event to bring together senior government executives and managers and private sector partners for several reasons:

  • To address the many significant and timely issues that we’re all facing;
  • To encourage discussion;
  • to share solutions;
  • To promote partnerships;
  • And of course to provide you with practical information that you’ll be able to put to immediate use once you return to your workplaces.

Your presence is evidence of your commitment to high performance and continuous improvement at your agencies. This year’s conference organizers have put together a solid agenda and assembled expert speakers who will help achieve the goals I just outlined. My role this evening is to thank you all for coming, update you on the latest developments at GSA, and to introduce your keynote speaker.

This audience represents many different disciplines, but we’ve all come to Williamsburg for the same reason. Whether you’re in I-T, acquisition, financial management, human resources or another field, we’re all interested in delivering the highest quality of service possible to the American public at the best possible price.

That is the core of the President’s Management Agenda, and it is the principle behind the many substantive changes underway at GSA.

President Bush arrived in Washington six years ago determined to improve the management and performance of the federal government. He said that to reform government, we must rethink government. At GSA, we took that challenge to heart. To be candid, we had little choice.

GSA operates much like a business, and our business, while mostly positive, has had mixed results. For instance, the growth of GSA’s Integrated Technology Solutions (in the area of assisted technology buys) was dramatic from 1999 to 2004. However, in FY 2005, revenues fell 16 %. This year, first quarter revenues are down even more from the same period last year.

By contrast, our sales from all Federal Supply Schedules, including I-T, are up 5 % through the first three months of this fiscal year versus last year. . . . And last year was a record year for schedule sales.  Our telecom network sales remain very strong.

There are several reasons for the downturn in assisted I-T acquisitions. We have more competition because some agencies have chosen to “do it themselves.” Also, congressional legislation and correct application of procurement funds required us to slow down and “get it right.”

The bottom line, though, is that we have a cost structure in parts of the Federal Technology Service that is well out of line with our business volume. As you can imagine, this dilemma has required an aggressive response.

Without going into too much detail, we are taking the steps needed to ensure that our assisted technology business – and, in fact all of GSA - remain a valued and vibrant part of the federal acquisition community.  We’re moving ahead with a significant reorganization and holding expenses down through planned buyouts and other measures such as a cutback in discretionary spending.

We’ve hit several important milestones. 

  • First, you know that President Bush has announced his choice for a permanent GSA Administrator. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting twice now with Lurita Doan. She’s extremely energetic, knows GSA well, having served as a GSA contractor through our schedules program, and has what I call a contagious enthusiasm for GSA and its mission.
  • We’ve won approval from the key congressional committees for the reorganization plan combining FTS and FSS.
  • We’re hopeful of early consideration of the acquisition services fund legislation.  Once approved, we will be able to legally combine the General Supply Fund and IT Fund, thereby providing greater business flexibility for I-T solutions, as well as increased data transparency and improved money management.
  • And we expect more good news DOD/GSA IG’s review of the performance of our Client Service Centers. I’m optimistic that this news will help us reclaim some of the business we’ve lost.

All in all, if you haven’t already surmised my message, let me say it plainly: I have no doubt that GSA can, should and will remain the government’s premier acquisition agency.

The actions we have taken and the course we’ve charted will strengthen GSA’s ability to better serve our customers and adapt to a marketplace that has grown far more difficult to navigate over the decades.

But we will hit our mark. I’m confident that history will judge this to be a time that GSA – created in 1949 – recreated itself in 2006 – with honor, integrity and adherence to the highest ethical standards - to the great benefit of its customer agencies and the American taxpayers.

Thank you very much and have a wonderful conference.