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Doan Addresses 8th Annual GSA SmartPay Conference

As prepared for delivery

Remarks by
Lurita Alexis Doan
Administrator
U.S. General Services Administration
8th Annual GSA SmartPay Conference
St. Louis, Missouri
August 1, 2006


Thank you David (Shea), for that kind introduction.

Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I’m very happy to be here in St. Louis with David Shea, Regional Administrator Brad Scott, Federal Acquisition Services Commissioner Jim Williams and all of you for the 8th annual GSA SmartPay Conference.

More than 3,700 charge card management officials are here this year. That’s tremendous, so let me start by thanking you for your strong support of the SmartPay Conference.  I know that each of you is very busy. Your presence tells me how important you consider the partnership that exists between GSA, the federal agencies, and private industry.  Together, we’re helping to move Washington closer to President Bush’s vision of a government that is more citizen-centered and results-oriented.

As the former owner of a small business, and now, as the new Administrator at GSA, I appreciate your work and your commitment. Above all else, I believe it is facta, non verba that matters the most. That’s Latin for, “deeds, not words.”

The deeds with regard to SmartPay are reflected in some impressive numbers:

  • SmartPay is the world’s largest charge card program:  through may of Fiscal Year 2006, SmartPay supported a combined total of 64.6 million purchase, travel and fleet transactions valued in excess of $17.4 billion.
  • During fiscal 2005, the GSA SmartPay program also generated more than $118 million in refunds to customer agencies. 
  • There are more than 2.7 million cards in the program, including more than 1.9 million travel cards and 300,000 purchase cards, as well as nearly 439,000 fleet cards.
  • And, more than 350 government agencies and tribal organizations participate in the charge card program.

This program is a winner. It saves agencies an estimated $1.7 billion a year in administrative costs. That figure is based on the $70 saved each time a charge card is used instead of a written purchase order.

Is it perfect? Not yet. That’s why director David Shea and his team are working in full partnership with the agencies to make sure the SmartPay program keeps getting better.

I think there’s evidence their work is paying off.

For example, the travel delinquency rate of governmentwide travel individually billed accounts (IBA’s) continues to decrease. The current average through May (’06) is 3.21%. This time last year it was 3.62%.  Credit (no pun intended) goes largely to the agencies, which have made terrific progress in emphasizing training, implementing strong program controls, and building solid relationships with their bankcard providers. 

As you know, other changes and improvements are in progress. SmartPay is housed within our evolving Federal Acquisition Service and overseen, ultimately by new FAS Commissioner Jim Williams.

Jim was among the first people I recruited to GSA, and is a fantastic addition to our leadership team. Jim, would you please stand?

Thank you. Now let me talk about something that’s very topical for everyone here this week, the SmartPay recompete. The draft RFP was released on May 25th.

David (Shea) will discuss this in more detail, but one point I’d like to make is that our team is working hard to address comments received from industry and government before the release of the final RFP.

Be assured that we will involve customer agencies in the proposal evaluation process.  A board comprised of experts from various agencies has been formed and will assist in the evaluation of proposals.   

Customers need to begin planning for the new contract because additional agency resources to support transition activities may be needed.  That said, our SmartPay organization will be working closely with agencies and contractors to facilitate a seamless transition. But agencies need to begin planning now for transition. 
 
In the very sensitive security arena, GSA SmartPay is coordinating with the banking industry (our contractors) to ensure that all privacy act data – such as managing and protecting personal information -- is properly safeguarded.

The new solicitation will indeed place increased focus on security issues.

I hope it’s clear that GSA is determined to keep SmartPay functioning at a world-class level. But we need your help.

The need for continuous education and improvement in every aspect of charge card program management -- including at senior agency levels -- cannot be overstated.  This is critical in ensuring that cards are being used properly and measures are taken to control such issues as delinquency rates and fraud.

That’s why I’m so happy you’re all here at the conference. Break-out sessions have been developed to get you up to speed on all the important issues.

Two examples are the “GSA SmartPay Purchase Charge Card Program Privacy Act System of Records Notice” to the federal register, and a session on proposed legislation related to the Federal Levy Program. Again, David will fill you in on the details.

I hope you know that besides all you’ll learn at the conference, we’ve been busy with other steps aimed at assisting agency and organization program coordinators.

  • For instance, we recently issued your updated travel charge card guide.  SmartPay worked collaboratively with agency coordinators to establish a training guide that will be useful for all travel charge card managers.
  • Also, a new purchase card A/OPC quiz has been posted to the training section of the GSA SmartPay website.

I’ll also point out that the SmartPay organization is utilizing the latest technology to manage the program, and working with industry partners to seize emerging solutions.

SmartPay, for example, has teamed with the Federal Procurement Data System-Next Generation Team at GSA to work with our industry partners to include the bank card associations, MasterCard and Visa, as well, as our SmartPay contractors: Bank of America, Bank One (JPMorgan Chase), Citibank, Mellon Bank, and us bank in gathering socioeconomic data on purchase card merchants.  

Other ongoing improvements include improving charge card purchase data collection and evaluation. That will provide customer agencies additional options for safeguarding the government purchasing process while also enabling additional options for buying smarter. 

Our program in the future will emphasize customer service, using new technology to fulfill unique government purchasing and funds management requirements more effectively and efficiently.

In sum, then, our watchwords are performance, accountability and communications. We are committed to training and to the spirit of continuous improvement, and to working together with all of you to continue benefiting the agencies and, by extension, the taxpayers. 

Again, thank you for your support, feedback and active participation, and for your attention this morning. My hope is that you leave St. Louis with a greater understanding of the SmartPay program, as well as quality information you can put to quick use as soon as you return home.

Thank you very much.

 


8th Annual GSA SmartPay Conference