GSA expects $11M savings from travel, conference cuts

Wednesday - 8/29/2012, 8:56am EDT

The General Services Administration projects it will save $11 million from April to September thanks to reforms to employee travel and agency conferences.

Since April, GSA canceled 47 conferences and limited travel and event participation to those that were "necessary and essential functions," according to GSA.

"We are deepening our commitment to promoting efficiency, driving steeper bargains, delivering better value, and creating greater opportunities for savings here at GSA and across the government," said GSA Acting Administrator Dan Tangherlini in a statement.

In April, a GSA Inspector General report revealed the agency spent $823,000 on a 2010 conference in Las Vegas. The aftermath of the findings was the resignation of then-Administrator Martha Johnson, the firing of two top GSA officials and a flurry of congressional hearings. Those hearings have now expanded to other agencies. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is probing more than 150 conferences at 11 agencies since 2005 where wasteful spending or excessive spending may have have occurred.

The travel and conference reforms at GSA are only the latest changes put in place since April. Under Tangherlini, GSA consolidated oversight of conference and travel spending under the new Office of Administrative Services. Tangherlini also cut half a million dollars in executive bonuses and froze hiring across the agency through Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year.

Earlier this month, GSA announced other cost-cutting initiatives that would save more than $5.5 million — from reducing subscriptions to print publications to moving to the Web a paper-based survey for GSA Public Buildings Service tenants. These ideas came from GSA employees, who participated in a "Great Ideas Hunt" launched by GSA in May.

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