After delays, Senate set to move on GSA reorg bill

Differences over regional offices seen as hurdle for OneFund

The new Federal Acquisition Service

The Senate is poised to act on House-passed legislation to formally reorganize the General Services Administration. Here are the major aspects of the bill:

  • Lets GSA formally merge the Federal Supply and Technology services into the Federal Acquisition Service

  • Gives the GSA administrator authority to appoint up to five regional executives, which could, if the agency determines, significantly reduce the number of regional offices

  • Lets GSA merge the Gen-eral Supply and IT funds into the General Acquisition Services fund.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she wants to move the OneFund bill out of committee as soon as possible.

Olivier Douliery

The General Services Administration's reorganization received some much-needed support last week when a key member of the Senate Appropriations Committee said he was satisfied with the agency's reorganization plan.

Sen. Christopher Bond (R-Mo.), chairman of the subcommittee that approves GSA's budget, earlier this month reviewed the agency's reorganization plan and signed off, said Shana Stribling, Bond's spokeswoman.

Bond's assurance is critical because he sponsored a provision in GSA's fiscal 2006 appropriations bill that prevented the agency from spending any money on the reorganization without first receiving approval from the congressional appropriations committees.

The provision kept the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee from acting on legislation that would let a key aspect of GSA's plan'the merger of the General Supply Fund and Information Technology Fund into the Acquisition Services Fund'move forward.

Although GSA already laid the foundation to merge the Federal Supply and Federal Technology services into the Federal Acquisition Service, it cannot put the two funds together into OneFund unless it has congressional approval.

But now that Bond has signed off, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committee chairwoman Susan Collins (R-Maine) said she wants to move the OneFund bill out of committee as soon as the calendar allows, said committee spokeswoman Jen Burita.

The House last year passed legislation sponsored by Reps. Tom Davis (R-Va.) and Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) that approved the OneFund and other aspects of the reorganization. But once in the Senate, the bill stalled in Collins' committee.

Although Bonds' bill does not specifically require GSA to pare down the 22 regional offices, it would result in 17 FTS and FSS administrators losing their titles and let GSA appoint five regional executives for FAS to centralize oversight and improve management control over acquisition.

Davis in early February said the major issue holding up the bill was Bond's concern over personnel at GSA's regional office in Kansas City, Mo., although he said he expects the situation to be resolved.

'I think we're going to work our way through it,' Davis said at a speech sponsored by the Coalition for Government Procurement of Washington, an industry trade group. 'It's not a real substantive issue.'

Industry sources watching the bill said they expect Collins' committee will start with the House version of the legislation instead of offering their own bill, although differences on the final number of regional offices still need to be worked out.

'Should there be differences between the chambers' bills, we have no reason to believe that they couldn't be worked out in conference,' Crockett said.

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