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Why Its Chief’s Resignation Should Make GSA Proud

by Andrea Di Maio  |  April 3, 2012  |  2 Comments

I was shocked yesterday when I received a news alert about Martha Johnson’s resignation over excessive spending for a training conference near Las Vegas in 2010. According to news reports, the chief of Public Buildings Service and Johnson’s top adviser were fired, and four managers were suspended.

In her resignation letter, Mrs Johnson explains that the outcome of an investigation she launched upon reports of lavish spending at this event require her to step aside.

Anybody who is familiar with the federal government circles has great respect for Mrs Johnson and for what she accomplished during her GSA tenure. From my own perspective, I can just say that every single GSA official I had the privilege to know or just briefly meet showed professionalism, competence and a genuine drive to do what is best for his or her country. It is not a surprised that many people working at GSA have been awarded with the Federal 100 and even the Eagle award (the latter is particularly close to my heart, as it was awarded to my former colleague Dave McClure).

From my corner of the world where top public servants and members of parliament do not step down even when charged with direct responsibility for much greater missteps, I want to reassure all my friends at GSA that Mrs. Johnson’s resignation witnesses how serious she has always been about making GSA a place to be proud of working at.

I am sure that her colleagues in government, members of congress, business leaders will remember her tenure at GSA as a peak point for this agency’s history. Under her watch, GSA has spearheaded some of the most remarkable changes in government IT that I have witnessed in a long time (it is not by chance that I placed GSA at number three of my personal top ten for 2011).

The legacy of her success is here to stay.

Category: cloud  web-20-in-government  

Tags: gsa  

Andrea Di Maio
Managing VP
19 years at Gartner
33 years IT industry

Andrea Di Maio is a managing vice president for public sector in Gartner Research, covering government and education. His personal research focus is on digital government strategies, open government, the business value of IT, smart cities, and the impact of technology on the future of government Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Why Its Chief’s Resignation Should Make GSA Proud

  1. […] This week, Martha Johnson, the GSA Administrator, decided to fall on the sword, despite the fact that by every account, she had nothing to do with the planning of this conference. Johnson was finally confirmed by the Senate in February, 2010 — a mere eight months before the Western Regions Conference took place in October 2010. It is sometimes remarkable to me that people who claim government is incompetent somehow now somehow contend that Johnson crafted this conference — or that it somehow blights her view of government ethics. Those of us who know Johnson — now and through the years — know that, regardless of how they feel about her decisions within the agency, she would never do anything to blight GSA’s reputation. Many of us would argue she hasn’t. (Kudos to Gartner analyst Andrea Di Maio, for his truly fair and balanced assessment: Why it’s chief’s resignation should make GSA proud.) […]

  2. John Kost says:

    With this incident and the infamous $16 muffin incident at the Justice Department, it is increasingly clear where the incompetence lies — with the Inspector Generals themselves. These two, at least, have no clue how conferences work. They have no clue about the outrageous prices hotels charge for food and beverages. The IGs use sloppy short hand reporting to suggest that a muffin cost $16 when in fact that was for a breakfast meal. And, in this case, they make $44 breakfast sound outrageous. Well IG’s, I suggest you contact any decent hotel and find out what the price of a breakfast buffet is for a large group. You will be shocked. More importantly, perhaps you will also be educated. And perhaps you will also spend less time sensationalizing minor issues like this and focus on the truly big issues.

    I agree with Andrea that Martha was a class act to fall on her sword for something that she probably had nothing directly to do with. She deserves better than the way the Obama administration threw her under the bus.

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