Two House Panels Signal Continued Scrutiny of GSA

Posted February 27, 2013 at 10:16am

General Services Administration officials should expect Republicans on two House panels to keep a close eye on their actions during the 113th Congress.

GOP members of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee are vowing to keep a close eye on the GSA as the agency continues to recover from a rough 2012, when lavish spending on employee training and travel programs brought down its White House-appointed head and sparked intense congressional scrutiny of its policies on other matters, including excess government property.

In a markup planned for Thursday, the committee is expected to review a priority list for the 113th Congress, one that includes a significant portion on GSA oversight.

“The proper management of federal assets will continue to be a major focus of the committee’s oversight activities during the 113th Congress,” the seven-page report read. “. . . The committee will continue [to] take steps to ensure agencies decrease office space, improve space utilization and lower costs.”

Former Transportation and Infrastructure Chairman John L. Mica made much political hay over GSA’s waste in the waning days of his chairmanship in 2012. The renewed commitment to keep a close eye on GSA from his successor, Rep. Bill Shuster, R-Pa., makes clear that the committee’s role in that realm will continue.

But Mica isn’t giving up his role in overseeing GSA. The Florida Republican now chairs the Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Government Operations, which held a hearing on GSA’s management of federal property during which Mica chastised officials for what he saw as a too-slow liquidation of excess property.

Officials say that under new leadership installed last year, GSA has been actively working with other agencies to reassess their facilities’ needs.

Dorothy Robyn, GSA’s Public Buildings Service Commissioner, told Mica’s subcommittee that her office is continuing to assist “agencies to better utilize their inventories and dispose of their unneeded assets.”