GSA projects $11 million savings from canceled conferences

Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif. J. Scott Applewhite/AP

The General Services Administration announced that it expects to save $11 million from April through September from cuts in travel, conferences, training and meetings.

The announcement came just as House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., is stepping up demands on numerous agencies for historical data on past conferences costs, particularly at the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments.

“Four months ago we began a rigorous top-to-bottom review of all agency operations,” GSA acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini said in the statement Monday. “We've made significant cuts in travel and conference spending and these savings are just the beginning. We are deepening our commitment to promoting efficiency, driving steeper bargains, delivering better value and creating greater opportunities for savings here at GSA and across the government.”

Since the scandal broke in April revealing overspending by some in GSA’s Public Buildings Service at a 2010 training conference in Las Vegas, GSA has instituted a top-to-bottom review and canceled 47 conferences and implemented oversight to ensure that all travel and events are limited to necessary and essential functions. Tangherlini has consolidated oversight of conference and travel expenses in the new Office of Administrative Services.

Meanwhile, Issa released copies of letters he sent to 10 agencies summarizing his committee’s review of details agencies had supplied in response to his April request regarding past conferences that might have involved overspending. In an Aug. 22 letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Issa asked for background going back six years on some 64 conferences that he tagged as questionable.

“The committee has analyzed thousands of documents obtained from federal agencies and citizen watchdogs related to conference spending in the executive branch,” Issa wrote. “Any conference that cost taxpayers more per person than GSA’s 2010 conference in Las Vegas raised a red flag.”

The letter to the Defense Department follows eight similar missives sent in recent weeks to GSA; the Agriculture, Interior, Health and Human Services, Education, and the Housing and Urban Development departments; as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Small Business Administration.

A Pentagon spokesman told Government Executive that “we received Rep. Issa's Aug. 22 letter and are working on a prompt and complete response to his committee's request for information.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the time period in which GSA expects to save $11 million. The savings are through September.

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:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

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