Common Cents | Team USA readies for challenge of a lifetime
What a time to be part of the federal work force! Thanks to President Obama’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and Congress, government workers will play a central role in helping America through the most turbulent economic times since the Great Depression.
Employees at the U.S. General Services Administration have seized on this amazing challenge and opportunity. GSA is the central management arm of the government, responsible since 1949 for providing goods, services and workspace to federal agencies at best value.
The act has provided GSA $5.5 billion to invest in our federal buildings, which will lead to jobs for construction workers, electricians, plumbers, and many other trades. At the same time, we’ll be stimulating long-term growth in energy-efficient technologies, alternative energy solutions and green buildings.
GSA will use $300 million provided in the legislation for hybrids and alternative fuel vehicles, and will also be pivotal in helping other agencies strategically spend their Recovery Act funds. GSA is also managing Recovery.gov, the official Web site that will report the progress on the reinvestment funding to the public. We welcome this assignment and fully support the transparency that will help ensure that citizens can see how the funds are being spent.
Of course this is an enormous team effort. Throughout GSA and throughout the entire federal government, agency officials and employees have been working feverishly on action plans aimed at achieving the goals of the Act. Public expectations are high. And yet we’ve found that the patriotic mission to help restore our nation to prosperity has been energizing and unifying.
Considerable work has gone into developing the list of GSA building projects that will soon become public. The top priority was given to projects that: have been designed or are in design with a focus on energy; can be developed and awarded quickly; and that can be completed before 2015.
As President Obama has said, public service is a privilege. “It’s not about advantaging yourself,” he said. “It’s not about advancing your friends or your corporate clients. It’s not about advancing an ideological agenda or the special interests of any organization. Public service is simply and absolutely about advancing the interests of Americans.”
At GSA, that goal is paramount.
– Paul F. Prouty is acting administrator of the U.S. General Services Administration.