Lawmakers concerned GSA reorganization will cause confusion

A key congressional committee remains skeptical over the General Services Administration's recent moves to reorganize.

GSA in September began merging its two procurement organizations into a single new entity called the Federal Acquisition Service.

But the results are confusing, said John Brosnan, procurement counsel for the House Government Reform Committee. Area regional administrators may have to report to regional administrators as well as to the service's commissioner. The committee is "not exactly clear on how those reporting lines are going to work," he said last week during a Northern Virginia Technology Council event.

The GSA plan also preserves more regional autonomy than the committee would like, Brosnan said. The House in May approved legislation sponsored by committee Chairman Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va., that would further strengthen headquarters' control.

GSA is still "working out where those direct reporting relationships are and where those dotted line relationships are," said Barbara Shelton, acting Federal Acquisition Service commissioner, also speaking at the event. Differences between the House committee and the agency will be openly resolved, both Brosnan and Shelton said.

The House bill (H.R. 2066) would also combine the funds for the two old procurement organizations -- the Federal Supply Service and the Federal Technology Service. This cannot be done without legislative approval.

"The melding of the funds is key," Brosnan said, taking a position GSA officials and others in the procurement community also have stressed. Reorganization without combining the funds is like "expecting Babe Ruth to hit all the homers he hit, while giving him a toothpick to do it," said Larry Allen, executive vice president of the Coalition for Government Procurement.

Davis' bill remains under consideration by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. A spokeswoman said the bill will come up for consideration the next time the committee holds a markup session.

Brosnan said he is cautiously optimistic that the Senate will pass the bill by the end of the year, but some senators have decried what they see as a move to overly centralize the agency. A provision in the Senate version of the fiscal 2006 Transportation-Treasury spending bill blocks GSA from using appropriated funds to change its organization without approval from both chambers' appropriations committees.

Included in the accompanying report is a warning that the Senate Appropriations Committee believes eliminating some of the regional organization could result in too much headquarters power. "Regional authority and decision-making ultimately is necessary to ensure that clients are adequately served," the report said.

"Limiting the number of regional executives will limit GSA's flexibility and ability to meet local needs and requirements," it stated.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.