New FAS chief undertakes analysis of division

The new chief of the General Services Administration's Federal Acquisition Service is taking a broad review of the division and could make some changes as the agency's reorganization moves forward.

Jim Williams, who joined the agency last month after leaving the Homeland Security Department, said new GSA administrator Lurita Doan is letting him conduct a thorough analysis of the FAS structure and make any changes he feels necessary 'to make FAS a success.'

'I don't think I'm looking at absolute, wholesale changes, I wouldn't do that,' Williams said in his first interview since taking the post. 'I think a lot of good planning has gone into' the development of FAS. 'But I do want to go through a process, discuss it with the people here, and give everyone'and myself'one last bite at the apple.'

FAS is a key part of GSA's longstanding reorganization, as proposed by former administrator Stephen Perry. The new division was created when Perry merged the Federal Supply and Federal Technology services in an effort to streamline and make more efficient GSA's acquisition resources.

Another part of the reorganization is the merger of the General Supply and IT funds into the OneFund, which requires congressional approval. While a bill to merge the funds passed the House last year, it has been stalled in the Senate since last September.

Williams said he will have discussions over the next few months with several FAS officials before convening a two- or three-day meeting with key GSA leaders and Doan to decide if any changes are necessary.

'I want to learn about the current organization and the proposed design as it is today,' he said. At the end of the process, 'We walk out and we've agreed upon what the structure should be, and that's it. I don't want to have this extend through a whole series of discussions.'

Williams also said he is still analyzing whether more employee buyouts are needed to improve FAS' revenue situation. GSA earlier this year offered buyouts to about 400 employees after certain divisions, notably the IT Services shop, were on target to lose a significant amount of revenue.

About 150 employees have accepted the buyouts thus far, a GSA spokesman said, and Williams said it is uncertain if more are needed.

'I'd like to say I need all the people I can get' to bring FAS' business back, he said. 'But I'm aware of the fiscal issue and if there are issues or areas where simply I don't think the business volume can be restored. We may have to look at very specifically targeted buyouts, but I do not want to make that commitment today.'

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