GPO Goes Under Congressional Microscope

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Government Publishing Office faced congressional scrutiny Wednesday for its process for producing secure credentials for government agencies, and lawmakers appeared open to re-examining the agency's statute.  

"GPO certainly knows how to print, but do they have the capacity to innovate and provide reliably secure credentials?" House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, asked at a hearing. Chaffetz's panel  held  a full committee hearing to delve into how agencies select the GPO to issue secure credentials process. The GPO is tasked with printing secure documents, including U.S. passports and border crossing cards, but private sector vendors argued they are not able to compete with the GPO to secure contracts to create those documents. And after the nearly two-hour hearing, Chaffetz and the highest ranking Democrat at the hearing, Rep. Gerald E. Connolly, D-Va., said they were open to re-examining the statute that some agencies use to justify selecting GPO to print those documents, known as Title 44.  

GPO to Digitize Every Federal Register Issue

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Government Publishing Office is continuing its transition to digital technology, announcing Wednesday it plans to digitize 2 million pages of the federal register.  

GPO employees will be working with the Library of Congress to digitize more than 14,500 issues of the register, which details the daily rules and notices of federal agencies, as well as presidential documents including executive orders. The GPO currently partners with the National Archives Office of the Federal Register to publish its digital archives, which include issues of the federal register dating back to 1994, but the new project will digitize every issue since 1936, and is expected to be completed in 2016. “The digitization of every issue of the Federal Register is another example of GPO and OFR adapting to meet the changing needs of how the public gets government information,” GPO Director Davita Vance-Cooks said in a press release.  

GPO Touts 'Historic Low' of Discrimination Complaints

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Government Publishing Office is on track to report the lowest number of workplace discrimination complaints in nearly 20 years, the agency announced Monday.  

The GPO, which is responsible for printing, publishing and preserving the federal government's documents, said in a statement it is set to report a "historic low" eight formal equal employment opportunity complaints in 2015. That is a more than 50 percent decrease from 2014 and more than an 80 percent decrease from 2013.  

GPO's Real Estate Firm Disputes Criticisms

(Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The global real estate firm tasked with crafting a plan to develop the Government Publishing Office's parking lot is disputing an independent report claiming it mishandled lease negotiations with another government agency.  

The GPO awarded CBRE a consulting services contract for the parking lot development last week, citing the firm's experience with other federal government projects. But the U.S. Postal Service Inspector General found flaws in the firm's lease negotiations and estimated the postal service could be overpaying $9.5 million a year for leases negotiated by the company. Asked about the IG's findings, GPO spokesman Gary Somerset noted that the contract to prepare a plan for the parking lot differed from the USPS contract in scope and nature.  

GPO Parking Lot Development Moves Forward

(CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Facing an ever-shrinking budget, the Government Publishing Office is moving forward with a plan to develop an employee parking lot for commercial real estate. But the real estate firm in charge of the plan faces questions about its management capabilities.  

The GPO began requesting information about developing the space last July, and the legislative branch agency announced on May 14 it had awarded a consulting services contract to CBRE, a global real estate firm.

Laurie Hall of GPO Works in Changing Environment

The GPO is moving toward more of a digital footprint. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

If you hand a millennial an envelope of microfiche, chances are all you'll get in return is a blank stare. That's when Laurie Hall at the Government Publishing Office comes to the rescue.  

Hall, who recently moved from her position as director of library technical services to be managing director of library services and content management, has worked at the GPO since 1985, and she has witnessed it undergo huge change as it converts to a more digital footing.  

GPO Cuts Workforce to Lowest Levels in 100 Years

The GPO publishes the president's budget each year. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The U.S. Government Publishing Office announced Wednesday it has achieved its goal of reducing its workforce, amounting to the lowest number of GPO employees in 100 years. But the GPO also said the reduction will not hamper the office's functions.  

“GPO continues to better position itself to respond to the 21st century digital information needs of Congress, federal agencies, and the public,” GPO Director Davita Vance-Cooks said in a statement. “Reducing costs and improving efficiency ... are ongoing GPO objectives.” According to an agency release, GPO sought to reduce its workforce by 5 percent during the first quarter of fiscal 2015. The GPO offered buyouts to employees and 130 took the buyout. The office estimated the buyouts will save around $7.1 million. Currently, 1,669 employees work at the GPO, which the release noted was the lowest number in the past 100 years.  

GPO Name Change, Dome Restoration in Legislative Branch Funding

Hoeven discusses the Dome restoration project. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Legislative branch spending in the year-end spending bill includes a slight increase from fiscal 2014, allocating $4.3 billion to agencies and instituting a number of policy changes, including changing the name of the Government Printing Office and developing online sexual harassment training for staffers.  

Under the bill, the GPO would be re-named the Government Publishing Office "to acknowledge that the information needs of Congress, Federal agencies, and the public have evolved beyond print." GPO spokesman Gary Somerset said Wednesday the office is pleased with the change and hopes Congress will pass the bill. Appropriators also directed the chief administrative officer to develop and offer online sexual harassment training for congressional staff and supervisors.  

GPO First Legislative Agency to Move to the Cloud

The GPO produces all government documents (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call File Photo).

The U.S. Government Printing Office became the first legislative branch agency to transition to "cloud" technology, announcing Tuesday that the agency's email system will move to the cloud by January.  

“Moving the agency’s email services to the cloud will simplify our IT infrastructure enabling us to use those resources more effectively," GPO Chief Information Officer Chuck Riddle said in a statement.  

GPO Might Turn Employee Parking Lot Into Commercial Development

The Government Printing Office is exploring commercial development of a parking lot near its North Capitol Street headquarters. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

In addition to plans to trim 100 workers from its ranks, the Government Printing Office is considering commercial development of an employee parking lot about a block west of Union Station.  

The financially strapped agency on Thursday put out a request for information from commercial contractors concerning development of the GPO-owned parking lot on H Street Northwest. Bound by North Capitol Street and New Jersey Avenue, the 3.2-acre lot sits just north of the Massachusetts Avenue (NOMA) Business Improvement District and across from one of the District's new Walmart stores .