GSA nominee Dan Tangherlini testifies before Senate committee

President Obama’s pick to head the General Services Administration testified Tuesday before the Senate committee that will decide whether to support his nomination.

GSA acting administrator Daniel M. Tangherlini, who has led the agency for the past 14 months, told the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee that GSA has improved its efficiency and accountability under his watch.

Dan Tangherlini at a hearing to testify before Senate Environment and Public Works Committee in April 2012. (Alex Wong/Getty).

Tangherlini became head of GSA after a 2012 inspector general’s report revealed that the agency had spent lavishly on conferences. A separate IG report this year showed that senior GSA officials had pressured subordinates to accept federal technology contracts with higher-than-necessary prices and unfavorable terms, all prior to the acting director’s arrival.

“From my first day on the job, I have worked with the women and men of GSA to restore the trust of the American people and to ensure that the agency provides them with the highest quality of public service,” Tangherlini said Tuesday. “I am very proud of what we have been able to accomplish at GSA over the past year.”

As evidence of GSA’s improvements, Tangherlini said he has conducted a top-to-bottom review of the agency and reduced its spending on travel, IT and printing by 43 percent compared to the fiscal 2010 baseline.

Tangherlini said GSA also reduced its bonuses across the board by 64 percent, eliminated duplication of support services enough to save $200 million over the next decade, and consulted with private-sector companies “to incorporate best practices from the business world.”

GSA, which includes more than 12,500 employees, manages federal properties and facilities, overseeing an inventory of more than 370 million square feet of rentable workspace and more than 200,000 fleet vehicles. It also helps manage travel for tens of thousands of federal workers.

Former agency chief Martha N. Johnson resigned last year amid the reports of excessive conference spending.

In response to the IG report on contracting, GSA placed one supervisor on administrative leave and promised to review the contracts in question to determine whether they should be canceled or renegotiated. The agency has also promised to examine its contracting policies and controls.

The Senate committee will vote Monday on whether to approve Tangherlini’s nomination for consideration by the full Senate.

For more federal news, visit The Federal Eye, The Fed Page and Post Politics. To connect with Josh Hicks, follow his Twitter feed, friend his Facebook page or e-mail josh.hicks@washpost.comE-mail with news tips and other suggestions.

Josh Hicks covers the federal government and anchors the Federal Eye blog. He reported for newspapers in the Detroit and Seattle suburbs before joining the Post as a contributor to Glenn Kessler’s Fact Checker blog in 2011.
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Josh Hicks · June 18, 2013