The acting chief of the General Services Administration told employees Tuesday his staff will review every planned conference and off-site meeting for their business justification and said he has canceled numerous others following reports of misspending.
“We cannot allow mistakes or misjudgments of a small number of individuals to slow our progress or take our focus from our goals,” Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini wrote on his first day running the embattled agency.
Tangherlini, a former city administrator in the District who served the Obama administration as Assistant Secretary for management at the Treasury Department, replaces Martha Johnson. She resigned abruptly Monday following a scathing report on excessive spending by GSA employees at a conference off the Las Vegas strip. Two of Johnson’s top deputies were fired and four regional managers placed on administrative leave amid revelations by the agency’s inspector general of lavish spending at a training conference two years ago.
Tangherlini tried to reassure GSA’s 12,600 employees that the agency, which manages real estate for the federal government, can still promote sustainable buildings, efficiency and cost savings.
“I am confident that you will not allow circumstances to slow your momentum or progress in the many important areas of the federal government where GSA plays a vital role,” he wrote in a one-page letter.
Tangherlini said he has launched a review of the agency’s travel and conference policies. The biannual “Western Regions” conference that was the focus of Inspector General Brian Miller’s report also has been cancelled.