What is the GSA?

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With all the hubbub this week from the extravagant party the GSA had in Las Vegas and subsequent resignation of the administrator Martha N. Johnson, it occurred to me that I wondered what the General Service Administration (GSA) does in the government. The short answer: a ton!

According to their own website, here are just a few things the GSA administers for the government:

  • Design and construction of government buildings
  • Sustainability and environmental programs for those buildings
  • Historical preservation of government buildings
  • Office supplies and furniture for buildings and inventory control

They also set policies for federally-owned aircraft and vehicles, the mail system within the government, and the management of personal property.

They also control relocation and shipping of goods as well as the travel of people who have to do with this.

In a presentation on the GSA website, they offer the Top 10 Best Practices in Corporate Travel Management. The first slide offers this advice: “Overall a world class business travel program is a fine balance between the best price and most effective travel that fits within the company culture.”

Makes one wonder where the clowns, mind reader and the 4-star M Resort and Casino fit in.  According to a Washington Post article, 300 people attended the conference in Las Vegas with travel costs exceeding $130,000 in tax-payer dollars just to scout the place in 6 separate trips, and a total price tag of over $823,000 tax-payer dollars.

Other expenditures included over $6,300 in costs for commerative coins, over $18,000 for special yearbooks for attendees and a $32,000 reception including $7,000 in sushi. That’s $23.33 per person for a nice California roll appetizer.

The good news for tax payers is that this was found, the biannual western conference has now been canceled, and several people no longer have the privilege of spending tax payer funds because they have lost their jobs. Just one small example of the tight ship the government is running.

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