A congressional subcommittee has concluded that top General Services Administration officials didn't violate any federal laws in April when they reassigned 21 senior executives, 17 of them to posts outside Washington. But the transfers were clearly politically motivated and were handled in a discriminatory manner, it said in a report released yesterday.
The report, by the House Post Office and Civil Service subcommittee on civil service, said the reassignments ultimately were made by seven GSA officials who were not aware of the "ramifications." The subcommittee said the officials did not consult employe personnel files, perform cost analyses or consider the impact the moves would have on agency efficiency.
Instead, the subcommittee said, the GSA "demonstrated a lack of compassion," and reassigned a number of executives solely because "of their reputation as Democrats, or even, liberals; the moves being an effort to force their departure from employment with the agency."
While the media received copies of the report Wednesday night, the subcommittee failed to deliver a copy to the GSA, apparently by mistake. GSA spokesman Herb Koster yesterday evening reiterated that the transfers were made in compliance with the law and to make the GSA more efficient, and said that the fact that the committee released the report to the media before sending it to the GSA is "clear evidence of the bias and political motivation" that prompted the report.
When he announced the transfers GSA Chief Gerald P. Carmen said he was trying to "streamline management and strengthen GSA's regional operations," but several of the employes involved said Carmen was punishing them. After a hearing, 14 members of Congress signed a letter accusing Carmen of installing a "spoils system" at GSA, a charge he denied.
The subcommittee said its study showed that the "appointment of loyalists" at the GSA by Carmen "has resulted in the largest administrator's office salary budget in the history of the GSA."