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House chair questions GSA management reforms

A key lawmaker has accused the General Services Administration of mismanaging several reform efforts.

In a letter to GSA Administrator David Barram released last week, Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, said he was "extremely concerned" by recent findings reported in the GSA inspector general's semi-annual report to Congress.

The IG's report highlighted several management issues at GSA, including problems with the agency's contract security guard program, automated information systems, purchase card program, construction contracts and building maintenance efforts.

Burton asked Barram for detailed responses to many of the problems identified by the report.

For example, Burton said he wants to know what's being done to fix problems with GSA's purchase card program. The IG report found that such cards can too easily be used to make unauthorized purchases and that GSA needs a better system of monitoring and verifying card charges.

Burton questioned GSA's expenditures on the System for Tracking and Administering Real Property (STAR), which totaled more than $25 million last year with another $6.6 million budgeted for fiscal year 2000. The original contract for STAR was only $17 million.

Burton also singled out GSA's contract security guard program. The IG report found hundreds of guards in federal buildings without valid clearances or background checks and without proper training for using their security equipment.

A GSA spokesman said the agency had not yet received the letter and was unable to respond to Burton's query.