GSA may merge Governmentwide Policy office

The General Services Administration is circulating a draft proposal to merge its Office of Governmentwide Policy with the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs.

Sources said that the merger is far from a done deal, but is being considered by senior management.

Sources also said the new organization's name would be the Office of Congressional and Governmental Affairs. OGP would remain pretty much intact, but would report up through the new office.

Kevin Messner, who was named acting associate administrator of OGP last week, currently heads up the Office of Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs. Sources said he would likely remain head of the new office and would name someone to lead OGP. Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs is a small office with no more than 15 people.

'The order potentially could help both organizations,' sources said.

GSA created the Governmentwide Policy office in 1996 to handle policymaking in the areas of personal and real property, travel and transportation, IT, regulatory information and use of federal advisory committees.

For the last five years, OGP has been the operational arm of the Office of Management and Budget's E-Government and IT office. It has led the Quicksilver e-government exercise, the software enterprise licensing program known as SmartBuy, and most recently, the Line of Business Consolidation initiative.

Congressional and Intergovernmental Affairs prepares and coordinates GSA's annual legislative program; communicates GSA's legislative program to OMB and Congress; works closely with OMB in the coordination and clearance of all proposed legislation impacting GSA and its programs; prepares comments and makes recommendations on all bills submitted by GSA to the president for final action; and initiates, coordinates and presents briefings to members of Congress and their staff on GSA programs and initiatives.

OGP came under fire last year when the administration cut 92 full-time employees and trimmed its budget by $9 million in fiscal 2006. Among those 92 employees, at least 22 took buyouts.

Should the merger go through, sources said this would strengthen GSA's position in working with the Hill on a number of issues, including e-government and the LOB initiatives.

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