General Services Administration

Sustained Attention Required to Improve Performance Gao ID: GGD-90-14 November 6, 1989

GAO assessed the General Services Administration's (GSA) ability to: (1) effectively manage changes; (2) improve its human resources management to ensure a quality work force; and (3) establish an effective information management structure to support managerial decisions and to ensure effective financial control and oversight.

GAO found that: (1) although GSA should set governmentwide policy and operate activities only where there are advantages to having a central agency involved, continuing management problems prevent it from successfully carrying out this role; (2) GSA delegated certain operational responsibilities to other agencies to try to shift the Public Buildings Service's (PBS) role toward leadership and oversight, but PBS executives did not support shifting building management responsibilities to tenant agencies, since they believed that GSA could provide the services more economically; (3) PBS did not emphasize customer service and lacked procedural uniformity and consistency among its regional offices, and its regional officials did not account for their actions or performance to PBS policymaking officials; (4) human resources issues resulted in a serious decline in PBS ability to provide space in a timely fashion to agencies; and (5) outdated information systems did not provide PBS officials with the information available to determine facility operating costs or to reliably project future leasing requirements. GAO also found that: (1) the Federal Supply Service (FSS) had difficulties competing with the private sector to supply federal agencies and trying to operate within a congressional authorization to recover all its costs; (2) GSA lacked effective leadership because of frequent turnovers in political leadership, lack of career executives' involvement in the planning process, and problems in developing senior executives; (3) inconsistent human resources management contributed to low morale, high turnover, and insufficient staff training and development; and (4) GSA lacked effective information management leadership to properly measure performance and establish accountability for improved service.


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