The Washington Post's Stephen Barr reports that the General Services Administration is planning to cut staffing levels at the Federal Technology Service and the Federal Supply Service by eight percent. The cutbacks are not related to a plan to consolidate the two groups into a single federal acquisition service, according to the agency.
According to a GSA spokesman, the groups have been losing money and that is the reason for the layoffs. The consolidation supposedly reflects the "graying line" between technology vendors and other vendors.
To improve its efficiency and better address industry trends, Bibb said, the GSA's reorganization also would merge its technology fund and its supply service fund. The House has approved the merger, and the Senate is studying the proposal.
However, Barr points out:
Some of the revenue loss at the GSA stems from contracting irregularities that came to light in recent years. Auditors for the GSA inspector general found inappropriate contracting activities, including sole-source contracts, at the Federal Technology Service.
The findings, combined with other reports, attracted congressional scrutiny to see if contracts were being approved without proper competition. At least one committee asked for a review of the GSA's technology service to ensure officials were complying with procurement regulations.
With GSA "slowing down" to stem the pace of single-source contracts and other contracting irregularities, many agencies become frustrated with the slow pace of acquisition and made their buys outside of GSA. Hence the loss in revenue and the layoffs -- and presumably the consolidation of the two acquisition services. Also:
The GSA also has been losing revenue because a number of non-defense agencies have less money to spend on goods and services, Bibb said.