Editorial: Is GSA worth saving?


There has been little good news from the General Services Administration in the past few years, but the numbers revealed in recent weeks are shocking.

The agency's revenue for regional and national information technology solutions has decreased from a high of $7.2 million in fiscal 2004 to a projected low of $4.3 million by the end of fiscal 2006, which means that 40 percent of GSA's IT solutions business will have disappeared in the past two years.

We understand that these numbers represent only one part of GSA's business. Unfortunately, the agency so far has refused to provide all the numbers, which would reveal the full scope of the agency's situation.

We understand that GSA has landed in this situation for a variety of reasons. The critical question, however, is what is GSA doing to fix the problems.

We remain concerned that GSA's issues are flying below the radar of leaders in the White House, the Office of Management and Budget, and Congress.

To a certain degree, the procurement community has been operating in a vacuum, with no permanent administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, no permanent GSA administrator and no permanent administrator of the agency's Federal Acquisition Service.

We have faith in the people acting in those positions ' Robert Burton, David Bibb and Marty Wagner, respectively ' and we hope that the lack of permanent appointees will allow them to get beyond the bureaucracy and make difficult but necessary decisions.

But this is also the time for a larger conversation about GSA. What role should the agency play in the procurement world? Beyond the questions about whether GSA can be saved, this is a good time to ask whether GSA should be saved.

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