GSA sets stage for reorganization

The General Services Administration's plan for reorganization tried to follow the legislation moving through Congress, combining the Federal Technology and Federal Supply services and merging the IT and General Supply funds. But the author of the legislation is concerned it doesn't follow it close enough.

GSA Administrator Stephen Perry today released the draft reorganization plan outlining the make up of the new Federal Acquisition Service and how it will work. The strategy also detailed the consolidation of FTS, FSS, the Public Building Services and the Office of Communication and Citizen Services' CIO duties into four Offices of Business Solutions.

GSA has been working on the draft plan since February; officials expect to release a final strategy in July.

'The key goal for the new Federal Acquisition Service is to improve our organizational capability to efficiently and effectively deliver excellent acquisition services that provide best value for our federal agency customers and the American taxpayers,' Perry said in an e-mail to GSA employees. 'Additionally, the plan ' enhances the coordination with the GSA-wide functions of the Office of the Chief Information Officer and the Office of the Chief Financial Officer.'

Rep. Tom Davis (R-Va.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee, sponsored a bill last month to reorganize FTS and FSS [see GCN story]. The bill passed the House May 24.

But after seeing GSA's strategy, Davis is concerned about FAS' setup.

'The committee has some questions as to whether GSA's proposed organizational design of the Federal Acquisition Service meets the spirit of the committee's legislation,' Davis said. 'GSA's plan does not seem to foster the tighter management control envisioned by the committee to improve acquisition effectiveness and prevent the high-profiled abuses and acquisition mismanagement demonstrated by the recent inspector general reports.'

Over the last two years, GSA has come under fire after a number of regional offices broke procurement laws and regulations in awarding contracts [see GCN story].

Under the agency's reorganization plan, GSA will abolish the FTS and FSS commissioners and have one FAS commissioner overseeing the new organization. The management of FAS also would include business portfolio managers, a controller, an IT director and GSA regional administrators and FAS regional executives.

'The reporting lines that are included leave in doubt whether the five regional executives will have the control over acquisition activities in the regions to ensure the necessary oversight and control,' Davis said. 'It is unclear how the regional executives are to fit into this organization as they are currently at the bottom of the structural chart.'

One of the business portfolios would be the Integrated Technology Services, which further combines the IT and telecommunications contracts and services FTS and FSS provide.

'IT and professional services will form a single business line and telecommunications will be another,' the strategy said. 'Customers may buy these products and services in a simpler process, from a unit that handles both.'

The other two business portfolios are the General Supplies and Services, which will offer non-IT products and services, and Travel and Personal Property Disposal Services.

FTS, FSS, PBS and the Communications and Citizen Services Office currently each have their own CIO. Under the plan, each would have an Office of Business Solutions that will be 'responsible for the delivery of business applications specific to its respective organization.' Each office will report directly to the portfolio manager and indirectly to GSA's CIO, Michael Carelton.

'By consolidating IT functions, the Office of the CIO gains functional synergies and economies of scale for GSA,' the plan said. 'This consolidated IT organization will deliver services through a 'shared-services' model.'

GSA will hold an industry day June 13 in Washington to receive further input. Davis has promised continued oversight.

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