GSA Official Will Leave Agency in March

Dorothy Robyn previously headed the Pentagon’s Base Realignment and Closure office. Dorothy Robyn previously headed the Pentagon’s Base Realignment and Closure office. United States Army file photo

Dorothy Robyn, the top buildings management executive at the General Services Administration, will leave her post in March, the agency announced.

The commissioner of the Public Buildings Service who previously headed the Pentagon’s Base Realignment and Closure office cited frustrations with Congress and a desire to write about policy as reasons for leaving after 16 months in the job.

“I cannot thank Dorothy enough for her contributions to GSA,” said Administrator Dan Tangherlini. “Since Dorothy joined us, she has worked tirelessly to manage the more than 9,000 assets we hold in trust on behalf of the American people. Her commitment has not only helped us maintain those facilities but also enabled GSA to increase our capital investments, improve our business practices, and enhance the energy efficiency of our entire portfolio.”

Norman Dong, the acting U.S. controller at the Office of Management and Budget will replace Robyn, OMB confirmed on Thursday. “In his new position, Dong will have a leading role in the continued implementation of the administration’s initiatives to find savings and improve efficiency in the government’s real estate portfolio, such as the Freeze the Footprint initiative,” said OMB spokesman Frank Benenati. “He will remain at OMB until a replacement is in place.” 

The job Robyn took in September 2012 was vacated by Robert Peck, who was forced to step down after the scandal broke involving the Public Buildings Service’s lavish spending on a 2010 conference in Las Vegas.

In an interview with The Washington Post, Robyn said she was frustrated at the resistance in Congress to investing in cost-saving infrastructure improvements, as well as accounting policies “that make it difficult for us to follow best practices in the private sector.”

During her tenure, Robyn focused on leasing Washington’s historic Old Post Office building to Donald Trump for conversion to a luxury hotel, the sale of the Georgetown West Heating Plant, the impending selection of a new FBI headquarters site and the ongoing pursuit of energy-efficient buildings.

As deputy undersecretary of Defense for installations and environment, Robyn warned lawmakers after they declined the Obama administration’s proposal for a new round of BRAC closings that the Pentagon might be forced to resort to a closure process with less congressional oversight. “One reason we want to avoid that approach is that, if [Defense] acts outside of the BRAC process, the department is severely constrained in what it can do to help local communities,” she warned lawmakers at a March 2012 hearing. 

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