Talk:General Services Administration

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Noteworthiness?[edit]

"It should be noted that GSA's senior management are political appointees, not professional career civil servants." -- This is typical of most government agencies, so why is this noteworthy, let alone covered in the "controversies" section? MrHudson (talk) —Preceding comment was added at 06:36, 4 July 2008 (UTC)

It's another hey-look-at-me-I'm-uncited-but-I'm-important-because-the-editor-who-put-me-there-says-so statement. Removed. --an odd name 08:55, 6 November 2008 (UTC)


Please do not revert the section about Doan and the GSA. It really belongs on the page of Doan, because it's relevant to their actions; not what the GSA is about.--RWilliamKing 16:10, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

In fact, this controversy is already stated on Lurita_Doan.--RWilliamKing 16:13, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Consistency w/ other gov't pages[edit]

Moving current news about gov't agencies to that administrator's page is inconsistent. Check FEMA for a style guide. Its response to New Orleans is on the FEMA page. It's also on the Brown page. It's a disservice to Wikipedia to hide current events of any main topic (FEMA or GSA) to ancilliary pages of its administrator. It's also deceitful since most visitors won't click through. Please don't delete edits unilaterally w/o addressing this inconsistency. Trai dep 16:28, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

You're right, and I agree. However, I would recommend rewording it so it doesn't seem like a slant/slam on Doan as a position to question her competence. Maybe rewording the section would be better. What do you think? --RWilliamKing 16:29, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
Specifically, I mean it shouldn't have a POV on Doan since it's relevant to the GSA's activities. --RWilliamKing 16:31, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
Also, I believe you're not supposed to cite blogs, and really, I question the credibility of those three links that support the section. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by RWilliamKing (talkcontribs) 16:34, 6 April 2007 (UTC).

Hi. May I call you William? Hi William. I share your cynicism about blogs as a primary source. However, there are good and bad blogs. The ones I cited used official sources, hearing transcripts, etc. The blogs were in a more readable format for visitors, however, so I sourced them. My concern is that if we have unsourced quotes on the GSA page, reasonable people might think the information is fictitious. Regards these blogs being biased, it's quite unlikely that GOP-favoring sites are covering this controversy with much accuracy or vigor. You're welcome to find alternatives? I'm open to suggestions. Trai dep 16:47, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Whether or not a Pro-GOP or Pro-Democrat blog/site is covering this controversy I feel is irrelevant. I would find a reputable, RELATIVELY (it's hard to find a news organization with absolutely no slant) indifferent news source that contain these quotes. Also, I think anything quoted should be in the context of the controversy itself, not in the context of someone's opinion of someone else. --RWilliamKing 16:56, 6 April 2007 (UTC)
Specifically, this is what I mean:

"Doan cited the IG’s work as “intimidating to the workforce.”

Doan has also criticized GSA Inspector General Brian D. Miller for not supporting her plan to streamline the agency’s contracting efforts, stating, “There are two kinds of terrorism in the US: the external kind; and internally, the IGs have terrorized the Regional Administrators.”

That quote does not support Doan's criticism of the GSA Inspector. It represents an opinion of the IGs, but doesn't back up the claim of the criticism.--RWilliamKing 16:56, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

I don't have an agenda either, but it's shocking that an organization that spends $16B annually voices hostility to routine internal fiscal controls in such a sensational fashion (IG = terrorism?). It transcends norms and it would be relevent if the organization were Greenpeace, the NRA, Apple Inc or Haliburton. Dem or GOP. It's indicative of current GSA policies and procedures that are highly unusual. I didn't want to editorialize on this, and instead had Doan's words speak for themselves: let the reader make whatever judgments for themselves. In light of this, could you rephrase your critique? Doan's statements don't have to be backed up, since they're unsupportable. That's the point: GSA's judgment (as presented by their chief) is questionable and unusual. Trai dep 17:37, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Sorry, "rephrase" as in, does the entry make sense with my explanation, and if not, then how could it be improved?

What I mean by the context is that quoting Doan calling the IGs "terrorists" doesn't say anything about her criticizing them for their policy--it's just namecalling. The quote adds nothing except to further the idea that the IGs are a horrible non-humanist organization which is in no way a neutral point of view. I would lose the terrorist quote, and just find a news piece/link that backs up Doan criticizing the IGs. She could just as well call them "Jerks" for not allowing her to do what she wants and it would have the same effect.
Whether it's shocking or surprising, whatever kind of effect it that those public statements have on people should not have a place in wikipedia. It's a reference to both the article editor's character(because calling someone a terrorist has a real, definable meaning) and to that of the individual being quoted.
If Doan had said something like, "The IGs are making it difficult to streamline the contracting process because of the redundant, manual policies they follow," then that would be worth quoting, and would justify the criticism.
I'd also like to see some kind of sustainable work shows that IGs policy affecting the workflow. To say the word "intimidating" implies that there is some kind of fear-hate element, which has also point of view connotations, and again have no place here.

--RWilliamKing 17:51, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

This is the way I'd make it read:

On December 2006, Lurita Doan proposed cutting $5 million from the budget of GSA’s Office of the Inspector General for reviewing government contracts for fraud and waste (previous IG audits have allowed the agency to recover billions of dollars of fraudulant contracts). Doan has criticized GSA Inspector General Brian D. Miller for not supporting her plan to streamline the agency’s contracting efforts.

The GSA has also been implicated in White House efforts to politicize non-partisan government agencies. Recent House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform hearings chaired by Henry Waxman (D-CA) questioned current GSA head, Lurita Doan regarding meetings and presentations by GSA officials. These meetings used presentation slides authored by The White House Political Office headed by Karl Rove which detailed GOP strategies and tactics for the 2008 Federal Elections[Citation Needed]. Providing facilities, personnel or support for partisan vote-getting efforts is a violation of the Hatch Act.

Don't you think this highlights the fundamental points of Controveries just as well, as well as keeping it neutral?--RWilliamKing 17:58, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Hi, William. I'm not sure if neutrality is an issue here. These are the GSA Administrator's own words, not edited artfully to change the meaning, concerning how the GSA is run. Also, her argument - streamlining contracting efforts - is noted. It's rare that people in the public stage make such artfully ill-conceived statements pertaining to their organizations. Equally important, it captures in two short sentences the problematic oversight issues uncovered by the House Committee that the GSA is currently experiencing. Issues which are normally narcoleptic.

Whether they make these kinds of statements or not is not important relevant to the article about the GSA. It's relevant to an entry of that individual. And no, it doesn't capture the problematic oversight issues. They're opinions.

On a meta-note, it's more engaging for the reader and makes them more likely to enjoy Wiki and this entry in general. They're GREAT quotes. It'd be like removing the, "I haven't had sex with that woman" quote in the Bill Clinton: Lewinsky page. You COULD, but why gut a valid quote that captures the entire, complicated issue? Why make an entry less interesting if we can avoid it?

Wikipedia is not a gossip mag.

My feeling is that since she said it in regards her administration of the GSA, and since it's so far beyond the pale of what you'd expect a chief of a multi-billion dollar entity to say regarding normal internal fiscal controls, it adds value to the GSA page. It's reasonable to assume that readers looking up GSA would want complete, accurate AND interesting writing on this troubling controversy.

It doesn't matter, and troubling or not, it's not for this page to convey what other people say.

If I had to assign a number to how much I think this adds value to the entry, in a way that's consistent with Wiki values, I'm wed 80% to it. How strong is your dislike to the section (1-100)? Trai dep 22:55, 6 April 2007 (UTC)

Zero percent.
No, no, no, no! Wikipedia entries are -not- supposed to be "entertaining" or "enjoyable". They are supposed to be factually correct and non-judgemental. And besides, these references of her quotes have nothing to do with a pop-culture reference so lamented by the Clinton Administration.
You're missing the entire point here. This isn't about swaying an issue here on wikipedia, or influencing a stance or an opinion. This is about describing the GSA and actions surrounding it. These quotes do not serve the public interest in learning *about* the GSA as they are to lambash individuals *associated* with the GSA.
These are horrible additions. --RWilliamKing 18:24, 10 April 2007 (UTC)
See specifically, Wikipedia:What_Wikipedia_is_not, WP:NOT#OR, WP:NOT#SOAP --RWilliamKing 18:34, 10 April 2007 (UTC)

Bias? Or Aversion to PR?[edit]

While Wiki should be neutral, it should also be complete. Having the GSA page not be current, speaking of its problematic attitude towards normal, essential internal auditing functions is extremely worthy of inclusion. Likewise, using a neutral government agency as a support for partisan activity is also unusual and worthy of inclusion. Much of the source for this is from its current administrator. The Congressional hearings on this, after all, focus on the Chief Administrator. She's as much of the GSA story - as it's unfolding - as the agency is itself.

Again, using the FEMA page as a model, Brown's regime - and problems with his administering FEMA - are part of understanding that department. Even after Brown's leaving FEMA, his role is of such importance to the history of FEMA that his actions form part of the current FEMA page.

Likewise, it's key that the GSA page is accurate, even if it veers from what perhaps a PR professional working for the agency would prefer to see. If the GSA wishes to have only good news, perhaps they should have behaved professionally enough not to warrant such scrutiny by legitimate sources (Congress, mainstream press, reliable blogs, et. al).

I think it's important, unbiased and should be included. You don't. Can we appeal to some higher Wiki gods to mediate this? Trai dep 06:02, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

I think you fail to understand that wikipedia is *NOT* a PR spin machine. Yes, it should be complete. Yes, it should be current. However it is not intended to show someone else's opinion or emotions about how the GSA is run.
If you have information that the use of a neutral government agency is being used to support partisan activity then provide evidence that supports that argument that is *NOT* in the form of "what someone thinks the GSA is." There must be solid, irrefutable, non-emotional evidence that proves this; paperwork, receipts, whatever.
And this isn't about "Good" or "Bad" news. It's about simply "News". If you can't understand the difference between nonbiased, factual, neutral information and the kinds of tripe you read as a part of an op-ed piece then you shouldn't be editing wikipedia at all.

--RWilliamKing 13:01, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

You should watch your tone, as you're becoming increasingly emotional. This isn't Williampedia, so carry yourself accordingly. I'm trying to extend the same courtesies I'd expect; you'll probably find your life a much happier one if you do the same.

Anyway, added references. Updated the entry to reflect pro/con of audit and politicization controversies. Take a look and let's discuss calmly, like adults, if you have suggestions. Don't unilaterally delete again or I'll happily engage in versionwars until 2008. Trai dep 23:37, 14 April 2007 (UTC)

It's fine now, but add reference markers to indicate where information was taken from. See WP:FOOT. However, don't threaten me with revert wars. Also, stop throwing in there statements of people calling or not calling others "terrorists". It has nothing to do with the relevancy of the article. It destroys the credibility of the entry and onl boils down to namecalling. --RWilliamKing 13:22, 15 April 2007 (UTC)
Good job. Cleaned up the footnotes so they're in proper citation format. See WP:CITE for additional references on proper citation method.--RWilliamKing 16:41, 16 April 2007 (UTC)

Slick. Thanks, I was trying to figure out how to do references properly. Your examples were very helpful in showing how it's done. Trai dep 16:28, 17 April 2007 (UTC)

Trai, can you find a reference for this?

On December 2006, Lurita Doan proposed cutting the budget of GSA’s Office of the Inspector General for reviewing government contracts for fraud and waste (previous IG audits have allowed the agency to recover billions of dollars of fraudulant contracts).

--RWilliamKing 17:19, 19 April 2007 (UTC)

Folks, I added David Safavian's conviction to the "Controversies" section. I hope you agree that his information is relevant to this section.--Happysomeone (talk) 19:18, 8 January 2008 (UTC)