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GSA Announces Reforms and Savings at Senate Hearing

Sept. 13, 2012

WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. General Services Administration Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini appeared before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs to discuss GSA’s ongoing reform efforts and recommendations resulting from his ongoing Top to Bottom review of the agency’s operations.

“In this time of shrinking budgets, GSA’s mission of delivering savings has never been more important,” said GSA Acting Administrator Tangherlini. “It is our responsibility to make every taxpayer dollar count, and I am confident that the reforms that are underway at GSA will help us do exactly that. These reform efforts continue to support the Obama administration’s priority of giving the American people the most effective and efficient government possible.”

Tangherlini, named Acting Administrator in April, immediately called for a Top to Bottom review of all agency operations, to increase accountability, efficiency, and cost savings. In the past five months, GSA has identified and eliminated wasteful spending, operational redundancies and improved agency operations to deliver better value for taxpayers and savings across the government. Tangherlini has also installed new senior leadership by naming Dr. Dorothy Robyn as the agency’s new commissioner for the Public Buildings Service.

In addition, in line with President Obama’s Campaign to Cut Waste, GSA is taking steps to reduce Federal Acquisition Service contracting and service fees for federal agencies. The agency is also moving to consolidate financial, personnel and technology operations.

Millions in New Savings by Cutting Contracting Fees:

GSA’s Top to Bottom review found that several fees assessed by the Federal Acquisition Service (FAS) on purchases made by other agencies could be reduced below their current levels without a negative impact on the operations of FAS. Therefore, Tangherlini has announced a new interagency group to review and develop recommendations on the overall fee structure for contracts and services provided by FAS, including fee reductions to help agencies reduce administrative costs.

Consolidation of Budget, Technology and Human Resources Organizations:

The Top to Bottom review also identified an opportunity to consolidate key agency functions such as budget, human resources, and technology which will improve performance and cost effectiveness. Tangherlini has already ordered the consolidation of all budget, finance and accounting personnel under the chief financial officer, increasing transparency, accountability, and oversight on GSA spending. This action will give Congress and taxpayers a better understanding of how and where agency funds are used. GSA will also better manage information technology investment, systems development and maintenance, and increase access to agency data by consolidating all IT personnel, budgets, and systems under the Chief Information Officer. In addition, GSA will consolidate hiring responsibilities and human capital management personnel and operations under the Chief People Officer which will increase visibility into hiring decisions and increase efficiencies by eliminating redundancy within the various parts of GSA.

Initial Reforms Save Millions:

In just five months, GSA has already made significant progress in streamlining operations and saving taxpayer dollars. After putting in place strong policies and controls on spending, travel and events, the agency is projected to save the American taxpayer more than $11 million by eliminating nearly 50 conferences and cutting travel. The agency has also implemented savings ideas gathered from GSA employees totaling $5.5 million.

In an effort to improve the agency’s performance award system to ensure awards are given for exemplary service that goes above and beyond expected levels of performance, Tangherlini took a hard look at bonuses at GSA, and has already reduced Senior Executive Service bonuses substantially. GSA will go further in the next months by reducing the budget for all performance awards across the agency. Additionally, Tangherlini has instituted a targeted hiring freeze across the agency.

GSA also froze federal travel reimbursement rates across the government for the first time in a decade. GSA announced that it will comprehensively review the methodology used to determine those rates and form a Federal Advisory Committee to provide a forum for expert industry advice. GSA anticipates that this will help federal agencies avoid an estimated $20 million in travel costs next year.

Read Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini's testimony here.

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