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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

A Symbolic Victory for Open Office Setups

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New York Mayor BIll de Blasio New York Mayor BIll de Blasio John Minchillo/AP

The General Services Administration has won at least a symbolic victory that should help its push for the "Total Workplace."

That’s the office design—now in place at GSA’s F Street headquarters and recommended to other agencies—aimed at achieving savings and collaboration through desk sharing, telecommuting and mobile devices.

GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini has made no secret of the fact that he embraced the idea after a trip to New York City in 2012, during which he saw the famous “bullpen” office arrangement used by the top aides to then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The downsides to the open office, critics note, are reduced privacy and the distractions of noise. Debate over such issues even entered into the 2013 New York mayoral election, the one that resulted in the swearing in of Democrat Bill de Blasio this January.

After multiple inquiries to City Hall from Government Executive, de Blasio’s busy press team on Tuesday finally reported the new mayor’s plans for his office arrangement: Mayor de Blasio is keeping the bullpen.

Charlie Clark joined Government Executive in the fall of 2009. He has been on staff at The Washington Post, Congressional Quarterly, National Journal, Time-Life Books, Tax Analysts, the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges, and the National Center on Education and the Economy. He has written or edited online news, daily news stories, long features, wire copy, magazines, books and organizational media strategies.

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