The head of the General Services Administration's Washington regional office was abruptly reassigned yesterday as part of a major management shake-up of the scandal-plagued agency, according to government sources.
At least four other top officials in the same office, which is currently the target of two federal investigations of alleged corruption by GSA employes, are expected to be transferred later this week as part of the same shake-up, according to the sources.
The Washington regional GSA office, which provides office space and supplies for federal workers in the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware and Pennsvlvania, manages about 40 percent of GSA's total stock of federal buildings and spends about $1 billion a year. Federal investigators have found that some of the office's employes have received hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments from firms selling supplies and performing maintenance work for GSA.
According to the sources, John F. Galuradi, who had been commissioner of the Washington regional GSA office since 1974 and, previously, from 1970 to 1972, has been reassigned by GSA Administrator Jay Solomon to the post of assistant commissioner for buildings management for the whole agency.
The stated reason for Galuardl's reassignment, which is expected to be announced later this week, is that GSA should periodically rotate its senior officials.
However, it is known that Solomon, who was appointed by President Carter more than a year ago to run GSA, felt Galuardi and some of his senior aides had not moved forcefully enough to deal with the ever-widening scandals being uncovered within their jurisdiction.
"When Galuardi was told about instances of wrongdoing or violations of procedures, he would giggle," said a GSA source.
At the same time, however, Galuardi initially played a part in uncovering some of the abuses, GSA has said.
Galuardi, reached for comment last night, said, "The boss has the right to ask for change, and he did."
Named to replace Galuardi was Walter V. Kallaur, a 34-year-old former member of the Carter-Mondale transition team and a GSA official since September.
The names of the other region 3 officials expected to be reassigned could not be learned.
The Washington regional office is currently the target of a two-pronged investigation by the D.C. and Baltimore U.S. attorney's offices.
In the D.C. investigation, evidence being uncovered shows that a number of GSA building managers and their aides have been certifying that maintenance work was done in federal buildings when it was not, sources familiar with the probes say.In return, the sources say, the building managers received payoffs totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the private contractors hired to do the work.
The Baltimore investigation has been finding that managers of GSA centers responsible for supplying workers with paparclips and pencils have been certifying that merchandise was delivered by supply companies when in fact it was not, sources say. In return, these GSA employes received gifts and cash from the companies, according to the source.
Two attorneys from the Justice Department's criminal division - Bill O'Connor and Eddie Castoria - were recently detailed to GSA to help Vincent R. Alto, GSA's special counsel, investigate other scardals within the $5-billion-a-year agency.
Last week Solomon announced a shakeup of GSA's financial and budget areas, with Paul S. Carter moving from finance director to acting director of the program and policy planning staff. Jamice K. Mendenhall, director of administration, was given the additional duties of controller.
Gainardi, who was the GSA official in charge of providing the controversial improvements and security devices for President Nixon's San Clemente, Calif, home, will take the job previously held by William R. Campbell, who will become assistant commissioner for real property.