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Johnson Takes on Facilitator-in-Chief Role at GSA

GSA Administrator Martha Johnson, Photo: GSA.gov

The nameplate on General Services Administration head Martha Johnson’s desk could read  facilitator-in-chief.

In a press briefing with reporters earlier this week, Johnson said the agency she heads is embracing the “role of facilitator and getting close to our clients in new ways.”

Or, as a report in Government Executive put it: “Maybe the General Services Administration should consider changing its name to the General Consulting Agency.”

Johnson said GSA has taken on more of a consulting role for its agency partners, which find themselves squeezed by tightened federal budgets.

GSA has taken on procurement analysis for general buying as well as more complicated acquisition, Gov Exec reported, all to help agencies get more bang for their buck, Johnson said.

“Agencies don’t necessarily have all of the ability to analyze their procurement,” she added, according to a report on FierceGovernmentIT.com. “I think in that sense we can be good consultants. We can advise people on whether their procurements are structured well, whether they’re taking advantage” of their contracting dollars.

GSA is also convening “slams” — gathering together different entities to work on cross-agency issues together.

One recent confab involved NASA, the Defense Department and the Office of Federal Procurement Policy to work on changes to the Federal Acquisition Regulation, according to FierceGovernmentIT.

“We sat down and said, ‘What are the biggest issues in this process?’” Johnson said. “Because everybody sees pieces of it. Very few people see the whole thing.”

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