General Services Administration

David J. Barram, Acting Administrator

Mission Statement

The mission of the General Services Administration (GSA) is to improve the effectiveness of the federal government by ensuring quality work environments for its employees.

Summary Budget Information

FY 1993 (Actual) FY 1996 (Budgeted)
Budget Staff Budget Staff
$419.2 million 20,249$242.5 million 14,780

Reinvention Highlights

The Washington Post has called GSA "the bell weather agency for reinventing government." Between 1981 and 1993, GSA's workforce had already been reduced by half. To manage the workload properly with this reduced workforce, GSA had to adopt competitive, businesslike principles. When Roger Johnson became Administrator in 1993, he ensured that GSA would take a leadership role in customer service and cost-effective management.

To date, GSA has streamlined its businesses as a result of the lessons learned in its 15 National Performance Review (NPR) reinvention laboratories and through the results of our Federal Operations Review Model (FORM).

With the help of Arthur Andersen LLP, FORM analyzed all 16 business lines to determine the most cost-effective and efficient ways of delivering services to federal customers. Every alternative was considered, including privatizing operations, creating government corporations, selling operations to employees, or outright elimination.

In 1995, following NPR's recommendation to GSA, we separated our policy and oversight functions from operations by creating a new Office of Governmentwide Policy. This move consolidated all the policy responsibilities that had been scattered throughout the agency, eliminated the Office of Information Technology, and created the Chief Information Officer position.

Today, throughout GSA, we are incorporating new ideas and a new work ethic that empowers employees and unlocks barriers to innovation.

Real Estate Reforms. Public Buildings Service is implementing major reforms in its property management systems. Can't Beat GSA Leasing, the streamlined leasing process developed and tested in our reinvention lab in Auburn, Washington, was introduced to all 700 Public Buildings Service leasing specialists in an intensive training session in July 1996. All of our leasing specialists will incorporate new practices, effective immediately, to turn the GSA leasing program into a lean, effective, and competitive business. We are so confident that our customers will be impressed by our new program and its results that we are opening up leasing competition in October 1996. Our customers will be given the choice of leasing buildings themselves, hiring contractors to provide guidance, or continuing to use Can't Beat GSA Leasing services. We have already saved $300 million with our new leasing practices and expect to save at least that much again.

Some of the many changes at GSA started by just stopping the practices that had been done the same way for 20 years and looking at how the programs could be run using today's technology and other modern advances. A Time Out and Review in the $7 billion federal building program cut $1.36 billion from new real estate projects, including leases.

Streamlining Information Technology Purchases. The Public Buildings Service with an annual budget of $5 billion has traditionally gained more attention from Congress, the media, and past GSA management than has been given to governmentwide spending for computers -- which averaged $20 billion a year for the last 10 years. The Time Out on major federal government computer systems avoided spending $7.4 billion for computer systems with cost overruns and other problems.

Savings on Travel. GSA's Federal Supply Service (FSS) encourages federal workers to be innovative in their thinking to break down barriers in their work environment. FSS has saved countless millions for the taxpayers by using the leverage of being a major customer for our vendors and by initiating new technologies. For example, FSS negotiated unrestricted airfares with major airlines that are on average 50-percent lower than commercial rates. A federal employee can now travel round trip between Washington, D.C., and Los Angeles for $242 on short notice without penalties. We lease four-door sedans to agencies for $136 per month. By consolidating vehicles from other federal agencies under our Fleet Management Program, we saved taxpayers $7.2 million; other management improvements have saved an additional $22.8 million.

Congress is considering reforms to travel laws. If passed, savings could amount to nearly $800 million a year and will provide employees who transfer in the interest of the government with more effective and efficient delivery of relocation allowances, while alleviating administrative burdens and costs associated with processing travel and employee relocation.

GSA has forged other new paths on the way to common-sense management. A new contract with American Express Travel Services for government travel enhances savings, simplicity, and scrutiny. For each dollar spent on the Government Travel Card, American Express pays refunds -- estimated at $20 million a year -- to the federal government to offset travel expenses. Using the card also saves an estimated $250 million a year in administrative costs and increases financial accountability by tracking each transaction to ensure compliance and proper spending.

Reducing the Cost of Phone Calls. Our common sense management of the FTS 2000 long-distance telephone network has drastically cut costs. Federal customers now pay just 5 cents per network minute for domestic long-distance calls, saving taxpayers $200 million a year. Overall costs under FTS 2000 during the past seven years have been reduced by 80 percent, saving nearly $5 billion compared to the previous long-distance program.

Using Technology to Supply the Federal Workforce. We are a leader in expanding electronic commerce, eliminating burdensome and costly paper-driven procurements while increasing accountability. With our new electronic ordering and payment system, GSA Advantage!, federal customers can order supplies via the Internet. And by using the government purchase card (IMPAC/VISA), federal agencies get better, faster service and will save $475 million by eliminating many of the administrative costs associated with buying and paying for goods and services.

Empowering Workers by Providing Internet Access. We have committed to providing the best tools for all employees at GSA by providing them with access to the Internet. The Internet is the fastest growing and most powerful new tool around for connecting people to each other and to unimaginable amounts of content. That is why we made access to the Internet and our own Intranet available to all our employees in June 1996. There is no doubt that access to and use of the Internet will be a big factor enabling GSA employees to compete in the coming years, because this new resource can change the way we do business.

Creating Family-Friendly Workplaces. Not only do we expect GSA employees to have the capability to work with and access the newest technologies, we also expect to improve the work environment by creating family-friendly workplaces with child care and telecommuting centers. Within the federal community, GSA has been an advocate for programs that let employees work at home or change their work hours to help them balance work and family. There are 112 GSA child care centers across the country. With the growing demand for affordable, quality child care, centers continue to multiply -- a total of at least 120 centers are expected to be working by the end of 1996. Currently, there are 30 telecommuting centers and numerous governmentwide telecommuting programs operating throughout the country. The goal is to make telecommuting a reality for 60,000 federal workers by 1998.

We have created a culture that seeks opportunity in change. Today's GSA is leaner and delivers more quality products and services in a more timely fashion than ever before in its 46-year history. Since NPR began, through buyouts and attrition

We have reduced our workforce by 28 percent, reduced our operating costs by 21 percent, and found savings or avoided expenditures of $11.7 billion -- all while increasing customer satisfaction. We have incorporated the lessons learned from all our activities into our operations to be better, cheaper, faster, easier, and smarter. We are on the course of continuous improvement, and when it no longer makes sense for GSA to perform a service, we will change it or stop doing it.


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