A FEDERAL PAGE GRAPHIC YESTERDAY ABOUT THE GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION INCORRECTLY REPORTED THE AVERAGE PRICE OF A STEEL FILING CABINET IN 1999; IT IS $218. THE CHART ALSO SHOULD HAVE SAID THAT IN 1998, THE AGENCY OVERSAW 185.8 MILLION SQUARE FEET OF GOVERNMENT-OWNED REAL ESTATE AND 149.8 MILLION SQUARE FEET OF LEASED REAL ESTATE. IN SOME EDITIONS, A CAPTION IN THE GRAPHIC MISSPELLED THE NAME OF REP. CARTER MANASCO (D-ALA.) (PUBLISHED 07/02/99)

Call it the bureaucrats' bureaucracy: If a civilian federal worker has paper to shuffle, a desk to work at or a building to work in, the odds are it came through the General Services Administration.

GSA was created 50 years ago today on the recommendation of the Hoover Commission, a group led by former president Herbert Hoover that studied ways to improve administration of the government, which had grown dramatically during World War II. The agency combined the work of the Treasury Department's Bureau of Federal Supply and Office of Contract Settlement, the National Archives Establishment, the Federal Works Agency and the War Assets Administration.

In its early years, GSA not only managed federal procurement, it also disposed of war surplus, stored government records, stockpiled strategic materials and managed such diverse government property as hemp plantations and magnesium plants. Many of those functions have been spun off, but GSA remains the nation's largest civilian landlord as well as the government's auto leasing agency, telecommunications supplier and child-care center operator. Overall, GSA spends about $14 billion a year on services, goods and property for its government clients.

Employees

1950 23,957

1999 14,044

Owned space in inventory

1951 75 million sq. ft.

1998 113 million sq. ft.

Leased space in inventory

1951 9 million sq. ft.

1998 126 million sq. ft.

Paint sales

1950 $0.1 million

1998 $42 million

Daily allowance for food/lodging

1949 $ 9

1999 $80

Magnesium plants

1953 6

1990 None (went to Defense Department)

Average cost of a steel filing cabinet

1953 $ 50

1999 $281

Child-care centers

1949 None

1999 113

CAPTION: Members of the Hoover Commission at their first meeting. Seated, from left: George H. Meade, Herbert Hoover, President Harry S. Truman, Joseph P. Kennedy and Sen. John F. McClellan (D-Ark.). Standing, from left: Rep. Clarence J. Brown (R-Ohio), James V. Forrestal, Arthur S. Flemming, James K. Pollock, Dean G. Acheson, James H. Rouch and Rep. Carter Manasco (D-Ala.).