GSA Administrator Resigns
Emily Murphy was widely criticized for delaying the presidential transition. The agency also came under fire Friday for impeding the IG’s pandemic response investigations.
Emily Murphy, head of the General Services Administration, resigned from her post on Thursday. The resignation was not unexpected—all Trump administration appointees have tendered their resignations prior to Inauguration Day—but it came the day before the agency's inspector general issued a public alert blasting the agency for impeding its pandemic response work.
Murphy is the latest Trump administration official to resign following the assault on the U.S. Capitol last week by supporters of President Trump and ahead of the Biden administration taking over on January 20. Allison Brigati, deputy administrator, is serving as acting administrator until President-elect Biden is sworn in, a GSA spokesperson told Government Executive on Friday. Last week, the White House asked all appointees to submit their letters of resignation by January 20.
Murphy was widely criticized for taking weeks to “ascertain” Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election while President Trump promoted false claims that the election was “stolen,” delaying resources for the transition at a critical time for the nation.
Murphy was confirmed by the Senate unanimously in December 2017 and was in charge of overseeing federal real estate along with 11,200 employees and about $75 billion in annual contracts. She had come under fire from House Democrats for what critics say is GSA’s lax oversight of the Trump International Hotel in Washington at the historic Old Post Office Pavilion leased to the Trump Organization by GSA, as well as her involvement with the White House in the controversial decision to scrap the FBI’s new headquarters, forcing the agency to remain in its current facility down the street from the hotel.
On Friday, the day after Murphy stepped down, GSA’s inspector general released an alert blasting the agency for hampering its efforts to oversee its COVID-19-related activities.
According to the IG, GSA “established a centralized review and approval process of all [Office of Inspector General] audit inquiries that has compromised the integrity of information provided by GSA personnel,” said the report. “This process has caused frequent and unnecessary delay, and likely has had a chilling effect on [Public Building Service] employee responses.”
Additionally, the agency “has attempted to restrict and limit the audit team’s access to information and resources,” which has “impeded the audit team’s ability to identify areas of GSA’s COVID-19 pandemic response that should be improved to protect the health of GSA’s tenants, employees, contractors, and visitors.”
The IG reported in September that GSA was failing to notify employees in its buildings about COVID cases.
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