More Shake-ups at GSA: Acting PBS Commissioner Appointed, Hearings Scheduled

We’ve been wondering since last Monday who would replace Bob Peck as GSA’s commissioner of public buildings, who was fired that day as part of the now infamous “GSA Las Vegas Scandal.”  The answer came yesterday afternoon (Monday, April 9), when GSA announced that it has appointed Regional Commissioner Linda Chero acting head of GSA’s Public Buildings Service—the agency that oversees all of the federal government’s real estate. Chero, who previously served as Mid-Atlantic regional commissioner in GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, is a 20-year GSA veteran who has also held the positions of Mid-Atlantic assistant regional administrator for the Federal Acquisitions Service, deputy regional administrator, and director of programs and services in the Office of Administration.

PBS Deputy Commissioner David Foley—who can be seen in the widely distributed video of the 2010 Western Regions Conference Awards ceremonyhas been placed on administrative leave. He is being replaced by Desa Sealy, an associate PBS commissioner since 2010, who has been named acting deputy PBS  commissioner under Chero. Before joining GSA, she was president of Washington, D.C.–based Gotham Development, which specializes in residential and commercial redevelopment.

Will the GSA conference overspending scandal have broader impacts? Will even more heads roll? We may know more after three hearings on the subject next week. Representative Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee announced yesterday that his committee will hold a hearing next Monday, April 16, to address what it calls “GSA’s culture of wasteful spending.”  GSA Inspector General Brian Miller, former GSA Administrator Martha Johnson, Foley, and PBS Pacific Rim Regional Commissioner Jeff Neely (who also has been placed on administrative leave) are scheduled to testify.

In signs that the scandal has become a bipartisan issue, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) announced that her Environment and Public Works Committee will hold its own hearing on the inspector general’s report on Wednesday, April 18, which acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini and Miller are expected to attend.  Last but not least—it was actually the first to announce its hearing on the subject—the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Subcommittee on Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management, which is chaired by Representative Jeff Denham (R-Calif.), will hold a hearing on Thursday, April 19 to assess what it calls “the GSA’s out of control spending and waste of taxpayer dollars.” 

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