The General Services Administration, the federal agency recently the subject of mismanagement charges, yesterday found itself in the midst of another problem as about 15 of its employes stood around on overtime waiting to move a federal agency that refused to be moved.
The National Center for Productivity and Quality of Working Life, a three-year-old agency at 2000 M St. NW that evaulates other federal agencies' efficiency and helps improve their productivity, is scheduled to go out of existence on Sept. 29.
But on Friday afternoon, George H. Kuper, executive director of the agency, received a telephone call from a GSA official. Kuper and his 25 employes were to pack up immediately and move to new offices at Buzzard Point for the final two weeks of the National Center's existence, the caller said.
Another federal agency a Transportation Safety Board study commission - had overstayed its lease at 1750 K St. NW and needed to move into the National Center's M Street offices immediately, Kuper was told.
Kuper was angry, "GSA has got themselves into a mess, which is not unusual," Kuper said. "They're trying to cover their . . . by picking on the weakest tone, which is us. They're trying to cover up their mismanagement, and it's an absolute ludicrous water of funds. They're using up overtime. it's an extreme waste."
Kuper said the president had asked his agency to wind down in an "orderly" manner. They certainly weren't going to be able to do that, Kuper said, by moving their offices when they still have about 14,000 publications to be mailed to Congress, the president, and the heads of agencies.
Besides, Kuper added his employes aren't covered under civil service regulations and had used the M Street office phone number on their resumes while searching for new jobs. Kuper decided to fight the proposed move.
About 10 p.m., Friday night, he contacted the duty judge at the U.S. District Court, complaining that GSA's own regulations allow a formal appeals process that he felt he wasn't being given.
Finally, with a verbal order from U.S. District Court Judge Gerhard Gesell, GSA agreed that it wouldn't move the agency until it had talked further with Kuper.
Yesterday, while Kuper and two Gsa regional officers privately discussed the matter inside the M Street building, between 15 and 20 GSA employes who had been asked to work overtime waited outside, their four trucks sitting empty.
"We're going to make some money today, boy," said one employe. They had arrived at 8 a.m. and ended up staying all day. One estimated that overtime ranged from $8 to $15 an hour for each employe present, while another said he was making $20 an hour.
The issue finally was resolved in mid-afternoon. Kuper said he received a letter of apology from GSA, which had agreed to let the National Center Continue to use half the space in its M Street office. The transportation commission is to be moved into the other half today.
The moves finally swung into action. At 3 P.m. one of the trucks took off. Most of the workers remained to rearrange the third floor offices for the transportation commission. Their supervisor said they planned to work until 6 p.m.