GSA head freezes hiring, most bonuses

July 17, 2012 at 6:14 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 17 (UPI) -- The acting head of the U.S. General Services Administration Tuesday invoked a freeze on hiring and most bonuses in the scandal-tarred agency.

Dan Tangherlini, who took over the GSA in April after word got out about its alleged loose-spending ways, wrote in "The GSA Blog" on the agency's Web site that a three-month review of its operations "uncovered clear deficiencies in the area of performance awards."

"By our count, we currently have more than 15 different bonus structures; there are questions about the agency's high award rate, and questions about whether performance goals are set at a high enough level throughout the agency," Tangherlini said. "Therefore under the discretion given to the administrator of the agency, we will be cutting senior executive performance awards this year by 85 percent. We will also be suspending all performance awards given out in the administrator's office for the rest of the fiscal year.

"Additionally, effective immediately, we will eliminate the awards stores program, where employees had access to prizes like iPods and digital cameras."

Tangherlini went on to say there would be "a temporary freeze on hiring across the agency."

"As we're rethinking how we are structured and how our compensation process works, I believe it is prudent to temporarily suspend new hiring and to cut executive bonuses to ensure they are aligned with the outcomes of our rigorous review," he said.

"I believe that these immediate changes will help the agency achieve better clarity about our compensation and hiring process as we continue to bring the maximum level of efficiency and effectiveness to the work we do every day."

Tangherlini took over the GSA in April after Martha Johnson resigned after a report by the inspector general revealed the agency spent more than $800,000 on a conference in Las Vegas. Other questionable spending by the agency also has come under review.

Other top GSA officials were either fired, quit or put on administrative leave.

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