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 WASHINGTON, Sept. 16 /PRNewswire/ -- In an immediate implementation of one of the National Performance Review's most important recommendations and confirming his intention to call for a "time out" to review the federal government's building program, Roger W. Johnson, administrator of the General Services Administration (GSA), today directed the agency's regional offices to step back and assure that the need for new public buildings projects is justified. If projects are justified, Johnson said that he wants assurances that all available alternatives were considered, and that the final alternative is the right one for the American taxpayers.
 Johnson said, "The building program is under attack from all sides -- the Congress, public and industry. During confirmation hearings, and since that time, I said that I was leaning toward a period of time out and review of the public buildings program. The administration, in its National Performance Review report, agreed that I should carry out the policy, and that's exactly what I am doing.
 "With the president's call to modernize and streamline the federal workplace, expanding the federal portfolio of office space by adding net new space at this time seems contradictory. This process of review will be done with the consultation of Congress. We all must begin looking toward the national interest to ensure that our decisions on these issues are based upon solutions that are in the best interest of the American taxpayers."
 GSA Deputy Administrator Julia M. Stasch is overseeing the review. Stasch said, "In addition to analyzing specific current and new building projects, this review will also give GSA the opportunity to review the whole public buildings process.
 "We need to ensure that future building programs are based on sound asset management principles applied to the office space portfolio nationwide," Stasch said.
 Johnson and Stasch said that the review will focus on new "prospectus-level" construction, modernization and leasing projects not yet under construction. The analysis includes a review of the cost and process of the massive building program to house the expanding federal judiciary.
 While the length of time to review individual projects will vary, the entire review process is expected to take no more than three to six months. Those projects with imminent milestones will be reviewed first to minimize the impact on schedules.
 After the regional review, the process then moves up to GSA's Central Office for final determination. Congress must concur with recommendations for modification or rescission on any projects already authorized and funded.
 While acknowledging the political pressures he will confront during the review process, Johnson said that this initiative is not a partisan issue. "I have never seen a Democratic or Republican building. Recommendations to Congress on the future of any and all projects will be based solely on the merits of the project," he said.
 The GSA is also moving quickly to fulfill several other National Performance Review recommendations related to real estate, including the creation of a planning group charged with establishing asset management principles to guide the management of the federal government's real estate portfolio. "We want to get the best real estate professionals from both the private and public sectors to develop a long-term strategic plan to manage the government's extensive real estate assets," said Stasch, who will head the planning group.
 The GSA is a central management agency that sets federal policy in such areas as procurement, real property management and information resources management. The agency also manages diversified governmentwide operations involving buildings management, telecommunications, consumer information, distribution, child care in the federal workplace and the Federal Recycling Program.
 In its Public Buildings Service, GSA is responsible for nearly 260 million square feet of office space in 7,732 government-owned and -leased buildings nationwide. It spends about $5.2 billion annually for real estate management activities including acquisition of sites and buildings, construction, leasing, repairs, alterations, maintenance and security.
 Review of Public Buildings Projects
 Administrator Roger W. Johnson of the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), following the guidance of the recent report of the National Performance Review and the personal commitment he made during his confirmation hearings in June, has directed GSA's regional administrators to review 188 significant public buildings projects costing about $7.4 billion. The review includes:
 -- major new construction projects not awarded for construction;
 -- large-scale modernization projects not awarded for construction;
 -- major leases, not awarded, that would result in the construction
 of a new building or where economic analysis shows that
 construction would be more cost effective.
 The review is to be conducted expeditiously and in a manner that will have minimal impact on the timely delivery of space to GSA's client agencies. Regional submissions are due to central office as soon as each review is completed. All regional reviews must be submitted to central office no later than Dec. 1.
 Work in progress will continue to the next milestone, or step in the process; however, until reviews are cleared by the central office, the next procurement step will not begin. For example, if a design contract has been awarded, work may continue on that aspect of the project, but until the entire review is completed, a procurement of a construction contract will not begin.
 Johnson, aware that the public buildings program is being attacked "from all sides," told the regional administrators that the project review is an essential endeavor that will result in a greater degree of confidence in government.
 Congress must concur with recommendations for modification or rescission of any projects already authorized and funded.
 -0- 9/16/93 R
 /CONTACT: Hap Connors of the U.S. General Services Administration, 202-501-1231/

CO: U.S. General Services Administration ST: District of Columbia IN: CST SU: EXE


KD-DC -- DC008 -- 2861 09/16/93 17:34 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 16, 1993

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