Skip to main content

Deputy Administrator Bibb Addresses IRMCO Conference

Remarks by
David L. Bibb
Deputy Administrator
U.S. General Services Administration
2008 IRMCO Conference
Cambridge, MD
April 13, 2008

Good evening, everyone. My name is David Bibb; I am the Deputy Administrator at GSA.Tonight it is my great honor to welcome you on behalf of myself and Administrator Lurita Doan, who could not be here, and to kick off the Annual Interagency Resources Management Conference. This is the 47th IRMCO conference. Our theme this year is:

Government on the move. What’s now? What’s next?

What’s now and what’s next … now’s the easy part. That’s updates and progress reports. But what’s next?  That forces us to look well down the road. Why bother? Because we can’t possibly lead change unless we’re prepared to manage it, and that requires getting off to a beautiful place like Cambridge, where we can take a thoughtful look not just down the road, but around the bend as well.

Our goals at IRMCO are simple: to get you all together and talking to one another … to provide an environment that fosters conversation and collaboration, all in hopes of delivering the best results possible for our agencies and the American public.

Our organizers at GSA and the Interagency Executive Steering Committee have crafted a remarkable agenda for this year’s conference. When you leave here, you’ll have big ideas to consider for the future, and a few things you can put to quick use when you get back to the job.  So a big thank-you to everyone involved in putting on this great event.

So, what’s now and what’s next? I can’t speak for anyone else, but I can tell you what’s going on at GSA.

We have emerged sturdy and intact after a fairly rough voyage through stormy seas. The crew is engaged, and our captain, Lurita Doan, is charting new journeys. After 37 years aboard the good ship GSA, I feel pretty good. We have challenges, sure, but our original core mission – to provide goods, services and workspace at best value to our client agencies – remains essential to our government and to our citizens.

Most encouraging is that our commitment to fulfilling that mission has never been stronger.

The budget is balanced.  FAS net revenues are up four and a half percent through February vs. February a year ago. We have a clean audit. Recently, GSA’s 2007 Performance and Accountability Report was awarded the Association of Government Accountants’ Certificate of Excellence -- the highest recognition in federal government management reporting.

Many of you know we underwent a major reorganization that resulted in creation of the Federal Acquisition Service last may. We’re now beginning to realize the gains from our reorganization, from more proactive customer service and the elimination of red tape to the reassignment of underutilized employees to more demanding requirements.

GSA, following the lead of Administrator Doan, has also developed aggressive strategies to:

  • Respond more effectively to national emergencies;
  • Speed construction at our badly congested land ports of entry;
  • Promote telework throughout the government;
  • Help “green” the federal government by highlighting environmentally-friendly products and services . . . And by “walking the talk.”
  • And expand federal contracting opportunities for small businesses, including those owned by service-disabled veterans.

We have awarded the historic Networx Universal and Networx Enterprise contracts, which will modernize the entire federal telecommunications system.  The contracts will offer customers a vast portfolio of quality voice, data, video communication solutions and emerging network services.

And we’ve been busy interacting directly with citizens. GSA’s usa.gov and gobiernousa.gov were prominently listed among Time Magazine’s “sites we can’t live without.”

We’ve also expanded our offerings to state and local governments.  New laws have made it possible for state and local governments to save taxpayer money by leveraging the overall purchasing power of GSA.  State and local government purchases from the GSA Schedule are now one of the fastest-growing segments of our portfolio. And taxpayers are benefiting from lower costs. 

The first four months of 2008 have seen GSA heavily engaged in all of these areas. We are of course also working hard to strengthen our relationship with all of our clients. Of special mention are our two largest client agencies, DoD and the Judiciary, where we have turned around some relationships that needed mending.  And very soon we will also be involved in the presidential transition process, a subject I’ll be discussing in more depth tomorrow.

Before I introduce our distinguished keynote speaker, let me perform a minor public service and remind you that your taxes are due in two days. Taxpayers don’t hear much about bargains from Washington. They hear plenty about the few who abuse government credit cards, but the good work performed day in and day out doesn’t get much ink.

I think GSA is quite a bargain. Less than 2 percent of our funding comes from congressional appropriations. Moreover:

  • GSA offers discount commercial airfares to federal travelers on official business at an average savings of 67 percent below full commercial fares.
  • GSA Fleet saves customers about 42 percent off of commercially available vehicle leasing options.
  • Treasury's participation in GSA’s e-travel initiative allowed the department to save $402,000 in travel management fees last year.
  • The Federal Acquisition Institute saves taxpayers about 40 percent off commercial training prices by strategically sourcing training.
  • Projects with PBS brokers are more than 13 percent below the real estate market. And thanks to increased efficiency, our leasing fee to customer agencies last year declined from 8 percent to 7 percent.
  • GSA’s automotive services obtain volume discounts for customers by consolidating motor vehicle acquisitions across the federal government, generating a 28 percent savings for customer agencies. 

 

I’m sure you all have similar stories to tell. Please do so over the next two days. Share what works, and do so with enthusiasm. This is not the proverbial tree in the forest. When best practices spread and agencies become more effective and efficient, taxpayers benefit, whether there’s a story in the press or not.

Indeed, this conference is intended to start conversations and promote partnerships … to encourage you to work across agency lines to achieve program results … to help ensure that, as a government, we continually improve citizen engagement and government responsiveness.

I thank you for coming, and I thank you for listening.

It is now my pleasure to introduce your keynote speaker, the honorable Norman Yoshio Mineta. 

In Japanese, “Yoshio” means “leader.” Secretary Mineta has been a leader his entire life.

Interned with his family during the Second World War, Secretary Mineta chose a life of public service.  He most recently served as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, following a distinguished career in the U. S. Congress. 

In fact, he is the longest-serving secretary in the department’s forty- one year history.

The secretary has an impressive record at DOT., including setting unprecedented records for improving safety on America’s highways, railways and airways.

After the 911 attacks, Secretary Mineta helped reprioritize government efforts to better defend us against terrorism, including helping to establish the Transportation Security Administration. 

On several occasions, not long before he left DOT, I had the honor of working with Secretary Mineta.  At the time, I was Acting GSA Administrator.  He and I toured the new DOT Headquarters as it was nearing completion.  There were some things that DOT and GSA needed to work out, true to form, he created the environment to do just that.

Secretary Mineta has seen government service at all levels:

  • from his time as a member of the San Jose City Council and later, as Mayor;
  • then as a member of Congress from California’s 13th and 15th Districts,
  • and two cabinet appointments, the first as Secretary of Commerce under President Bill Clinton, and the second as Secretary of Transportation under President George W. Bush.

IRMCO made a wonderful choice in selecting this particular political leader as our keynote speaker.  Norman Mineta has dedicated the greater part of his working life to the service of his community and his country, a service he carried out with exemplary dignity and integrity.

Mr. Mineta’s legacy will be that of man who directly affected the people.  If you have flown since 9/11, the skies are safer due to his leadership, efforts, and dedication.

We’re honored to have him with us this evening.  Please help me welcome:  the honorable Norman Yoshio Mineta.