Davis' bill would pare down GSA's regional offices

In merging the Federal Technology and Federal Supply services, the General Services Administration will likely make significant cuts to the management ranks of the services' 22 regional offices.

Under legislation sponsored by Reps. Tom Davis (R-Va.) and Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), 17 FTS and FSS administrators would lose their jobs. The bill calls for reducing the number of organization-specific regional administrators to 'up to five regional executives' in an attempt to centralize oversight and improve management control over acquisition.

It is one of a number of provisions of the GSA Modernization Act, HR 2066, outlining changes to the makeup of the agency.

At the same time, Davis also introduced the Acquisition Services Improvement Act, HR 2067, the follow-on to the Services Acquisition Reform Act. Congress passed parts of the act that were attached to the Defense Authorization Bill of 2004.

The Government Reform Committee earlier this month passed the GSA modernization bill by unanimous voice vote. The legislation now moves to the full House for a vote, which at press time has not been scheduled.

Davis said the bill will 'bring [GSA] in line with the commercial market it must capture for its federal agency customers. This bill begins to remove old structures that inhibit efficient federal purchases of solutions that are a mix of products, services and technology.'

The bill also would make it easier for GSA to continue its own reorganization, as called for in President Bush's 2006 budget request.

By May 31, GSA's five working groups will submit a draft plan for merging FTS and FSS, transforming the internal IT and CIO functions, financial management structure and the merging of the IT and General Supply funds.

Officials said the agency would begin implementing the strategy by the end of July.

Minor tweaks

The legislation mirrors a lot of what GSA is doing, said Susan Marshall, associate administrator in the Office of Performance and Improvement. 'We see them as parallel,' she said. 'There are no significant differences, just some minor tweaks.'

Marshall added that the working groups are 'on track with their milestones.'

Since there is no Senate companion bill, Davis also could attach the bill to the Defense Department Reauthorization bill, making Hunter's sponsorship important. Hunter is chairman of the Armed Services Committee.

The regional changes are in response to several inspector general reports that found FTS client support centers in many regions had breached procurement laws.

GSA in 2004 launched the Get It Right campaign to combat these problems.

Davis' bill also would merge FTS and FSS and combine the two funds into an Acquisition Services Fund. It would let agencies give retention bonuses of up to 50 percent of an employee's salary if the agency head considers the person highly skilled, and the person would otherwise leave the federal government or transfer to another agency.

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