GSA Announces Travel Reimbursement Freeze

The move will save $20 million in fiscal 2013, and five ideas submitted by employees will save an estimated $5.53 million, the agency announced Aug. 22.

The acting administrator of the embattled General Services Administration, Dan Tangherlini, announced Aug. 22 that for the first time in more than 10 years, GSA is freezing travel reimbursement rates in fiscal year 2013, which starts Oct. 1, 2012. Lodging, meals, and incidentals are covered by these rates. President Obama announced a continuation of the federal pay freeze the same day.

Tangherlini said the reimbursement freeze will help federal agencies save an estimated $20 million during the year. The agency also announced five cost-cutting moves it is implementing after its employees suggested 632 ideas during GSA's Great Ideas Hunt, which was intended to improve the performance and efficiency of the agency. The contest ran from May 31 to July 6. Forty additional ideas will be implemented later, GSA announced.

"When we began our top-to-bottom review of the entire agency, we wanted to look for ways to engage employees in a meaningful way about how to improve the agency and make it more efficient," Tangherlini said. "The Great Ideas Hunt originated from there, and I am impressed with the quality of responses received from GSA employees across the country."

The ideas are:

  • Reduce subscriptions to save as much as $630,000.
  • Eliminate a redundant employee survey, which costs $1 million annually; the agency has implemented this suggestion. The questions are already asked in the Office of Personnel Management Employee Viewpoint Survey, which is free.
  • Create web-based surveys, which will save about $1.2 million annually.
  • Expand the PrintWise policy, with double-sided printing saving about $2.7 million.
  • Implement external Great Ideas. Three employees suggested the agency create an external website to allow federal partners and vendors to share ideas on GSA improvements.

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