General Services Administration
The General Services Administration, or GSA, is an independent agency of the United States government. This means that it is not part of any executive departments. The GSA was established in 1948 with the following mission: "help federal agencies better serve the public by offering, at best value, superior workplaces, expert solutions, acquisition services and management policies."
It is responsible for the following:
- help manage and support the basic functioning of other federal agencies.
- supplies products and communications for government offices.
- provides federal employees with necessary transportation and office space.
- develops government-wide cost-minimizing policies in addition to other management tasks.
History of the GSA
History of the GSA In 1947, President Truman asked Former President Herbert Hoover to lead a commission that would make recommendations tot he President and Congress on how to make improvements on the administrative activities of the federal government. One such recommendation was to establish an "Office of General Services, " which would eventually combine the responsibilities of the Treasury Department's Bureau of Federal Supply and Office of Contract Settlement, the National Archives Establishment, the Federal Work Agency, and the War Assets Administration. The Office of General Services became the independent agency now known as the General Services Administration on July 1, 1949 with the passage of the Federal Property and Administrative Services Act. Administrator of the War Assets Administration, General Jess Larson, was appointed as head head of the new agency. The First Project The newly formed agency faced its first major project in 1949-- the complete renovation of one of the most important landmarks-- the White House.
The GSA's first big project - The White House
The structure of the White House was in such disrepair by 1949 that one inspector said that the historic structure was standing "purely from habit." Larson explained the renovation as follows: “In order to make the White House structurally sound, it was necessary to completely dismantle, and I mean completely dismantle, everything from the White House except the four walls, which were constructed of stone. Everything, except the four walls without a roof, was finally stripped down, and that's where the work started. ” The Trumans, who happened to be the inhabitants of the White House at the time, worked very closely with the GSA to make sure that the project was a complete success. The renovation was completed in 1952.
Today, the GSA employs about 12,000 people and has an annual operating budget of about 16 billion dollars, approximately 1% of this is put aside for the agency from taxpayer dollars. The agency oversees 66 billion dollars given to them by Congress annually. It contributes to the management of about $500 billion worth of federal property. This includes real estate assets such as the Ronald Reagan Building and the International Trade Center located in Washington, DC-- the largest US Federal building after the Petagon. The Office of Citizen Services and Communications, which falls under this agency, maintains USA.gov, the official government web portal, as well as the Spanish-language version, GobiernoUSA.gov. The National Archives and Records Administration was also part of the GSA but was also made an independent agency in 1985. More information regarding this agency will be provided in a future post. The General Services Administration works out of 11 regional offices throughout the United States. Each regional office is given a region number listed exactly as follows:
- New England--Thomas P. O'Neill Jr. Federal Building--Boston, MA
- Northeast and Caribbean--Jacob K. Javits Federal Building--New York, NY
- Mid-Atlantic--The Strawbridge Building--Philadelphia, PA
- Southeast Sunbelt--77 Forsyth Street--Atlanta, GA
- Great Lakes--230 South Dearborn Street--Chicago, IL
- Heartland--Bannister Federal Complex--Kansas City, MO
- Greater Southwest--Fritz G. Lanham Federal Building--Fort Worth, TX
- Rocky Mountain--Denver Federal Center--Denver, CO
- Pacific Rim--450 Golden Gate Avenue--San Francisco, CA
- Northwest/Arctic--400 15th St. SW--Auburn, WA
- National Capital--301 7th St. SW--Washington, DC