Before you start trashing GSA with comments about how you are shocked, shocked by their behavior, keep in mind that what happened was a direct result of the rise of entrepreneurship in government that has been going on at all levels, federal, state, and local. See Laurent, Entrepreneurial Government: Bureaucrats as Businesspeople (Pricewaterhouse Coopers, 2000), http://www.businesso...urentReport.pdf:
The federal government has become a business incubator, nurturing a dazzling variety of small businesses within its own agencies. Entrepreneurial organizations have flourished since the Clinton administration came to power in the early 1990s with its goal of remaking government in the image of business. “Intrapreneurs” — employees creating businesses within their agencies — found myriad ways to answer the call for businesslike govern- ment. The resulting “government businesses” have taken varying shapes depending on their parent departments and the laws and regulations covering them, among other factors.
The proliferation of entrepreneurial organizations may augur the future role and shape of government. At a time when Americans aren’t sure whether they prefer their government to be large or small, activist or passive, slow or fast, egalitarian or efficient, entrepreneurship offers an alternative organizing principle that could bridge the past and the future. Entrepreneurial organizations offer a way for bureaucratic organizations to adopt the techniques, technologies, and efficiencies of business while still functioning within the public sector.
GSA's mistake in this case was in operating like a firm in the private sector trying to reward and motivate its people to get more business. This is what they had been led to believe that they ought to do. It is a natural outcome of the acquisition reform movement that sprung up during the 1990s during the Clinton Administration's "Reinventing Government" phase and the growing use of clueless political appointees to run agencies. Their mistake was in failing to recognize what is going on in America and realize that they were still functioning within the public sector.
Here is the Administrator's letter to GSA employees: http://www.scribd.co...ignation-Letter.
GSA is a good outfit. They'll bounce back. The question now is whether entrepreneurial government was a mistake.