Former GSA chief in charge during conference scandal pens new book

Former GSA Administrator Martha Johnson (Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images) Former GSA administrator Martha Johnson (Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images)

Martha Johnson, who was forced to resign abruptly as head of the General Services Administration in 2011 amid revelations of a scandal on her watch over excesses at a Las Vegas training conference, has penned a book about leadership in government and the lessons she learned at the helm of the agency.

The book, out last week from Dudley Court Press,  is titled “On My Watch: Leadership, Innovation, and Personal Resilience.”

In it, Johnson is passionate about creative and effective management and how to change the culture of a government organization.

In an interview with GovLoop, Johnson described a government culture of “oversight and inspection” that is dictated by a civil service system “which is about a culture of rights.”

“When that bumps into what is the business culture of performance, which is also important to the government, you’ve got a mash-up there that a leader has to wade through,” she said.

She told GovLoop that GSA “has always struggled because it is about a dozen or so business lines” from purchasing to government real estate. It was hard to find a coherent vision for the agency.

Johnson now works as a consultant on leadership challenges.

Lisa Rein covers the federal workforce and issues that concern the management of government.

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