General Services Administration Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini wants to consolidate the agency’s three chief information officer offices into one as part of a top-to-bottom review of the agency’s operations.
Tangherlini also wants to consolidate all of the agency’s human resources offices under the purview of a chief people officer, he told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday.
“We have proposed to change the current decentralized structure and improved CIO accountability and oversight,” Tangherlini said in a prepared statement. “Importantly, centralization of the CFO and the CIO were both crucial reforms that were recommended by the [inspector general].”
The changes, part of a five-month review, which Tangherlini has undertaken in the aftermath of the conference spending scandal that led to the resignation of then-Administrator Martha Johnson, will soon be sent to Congress.
The reforms are based on three principles:
- GSA needs to organize around the agencies we serve. GSA does not exist without demand from federal agencies, and these agencies engage in missions ranging from maintaining our nation’s security to protecting our public health. Our job is to understand and meet their needs, so they can save money and focus on their core mission. In my conversations with numerous agencies, they mentioned the desire for proactive outreach by GSA to help meet their needs in the current fiscal environment. With that said, we need to remove any unnecessary, organizational barriers within our organization, and apply the best people and resources from anywhere within GSA to meet those needs.
- The second principle of reform should be to invest in our core mission and reduce administrative costs. GSA has historically depended on 11 regions which deliver the agency’s services, but that also replicates overhead functions and leadership structures. The resources currently allocated to potentially redundant activities could be captured as savings or, where appropriate, invested in improving service to agencies and performance outcomes.
- The third principle of reform should be to utilize data to drive better results. Given its broad role, GSA has access to data capable of providing unique insights to improve the performance of federal agencies. Data and technological offerings today enable a transparent, rigorous and far-reaching performance management capability which could not have been imagined when the GSA was formed in 1949. Leveraging available data will save taxpayer dollars, make performance evaluation more transparent to employees and yield better outcomes for the federal government.