Bond signs off on GSA reorg

GSA bill details

The Senate is poised to act on House-passed legislation (HR 2066) to reorganize the General Services Administration.

Some of the bill's major aspects:


  • It lets GSA merge the Federal Supply and Federal Technology services into the Federal Acquisition Service.

  • It gives authority to the GSA administrator to appoint up to five regional executives, an action that could lead to a significant reduction in the number of regional offices.

  • It lets GSA merge the General Supply and IT funds into the General Acquisition Services fund.

Sen. Christopher Bond (R-Mo.) reviewed the GSA's reorganization plan and OK'd it.

Newscom

Sen. Sue Collins

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

Sen. Christopher Bond (R-Mo.), chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Treasury, the Judiciary, and House and Urban Development and Related Agencies, which approves GSA's budget, earlier this month reviewed the agency's reorganization plan and signed off on it, said Shana Stribling, Bond's spokeswoman.

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

The provision prevented the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee from acting on legislation authorizing a key aspect of GSA's plan: the merger of the General Supply Fund and Information Technology Fund into the Acquisition Services Fund.

GSA had laid the foundation to merge the Federal Supply and Federal Technology services into the Federal Acquisition Service, but it cannot combine the two funds as OneFund without congressional approval.

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Now that the bill has Bond's signature, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairwoman Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) wants to move the OneFund bill out of committee as soon as the calendar allows, said Jen Burita, committee spokeswoman.

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

Bond wanted to require the Appropriations Committee's approval, because he and other senators with GSA offices in their states were concerned that the reorganization would reduce the number of regional offices nationwide, industry and Hill sources said.


Although his bill does not require GSA to cut any of the 22 regional offices, it would result in the loss of 17 FTS and FSS administrator jobs. The bill also would let GSA appoint five regional executives for FAS to centralize oversight and improve management control over acquisition.

The bill "sets up a broad framework" for FAS and "leaves the rest to the discretion of GSA," said Drew Crockett, a spokesman for Davis' committee.
'work our way through it'

In February, Davis said the major issue holding up the bill was Bond's concern over personnel at GSA's regional office in Kansas City, Mo., but he added that he expected the situation to be resolved.

"I think we're going to work our way through it," Davis said at a speech sponsored by industry trade group Coalition for Government Procurement of Washington. "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 its 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.

Rob Thormeyer is a staff writer with Government Computer News. He can be reached at rthormeyer
@postnewsweektech.com.

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