At first glance, the Technology Modernization Fund Board’s $20.9 million loan to the General Services Administration made perfect sense. GSA’s proposal to modernize its federal payroll system checked off many of the boxes the board was looking for — updating legacy IT and processes, improving a shared service and addressing a high-value program that others could learn and benefit from.
But when you dig a little deeper into the board’s decision to lend GSA money that by law they have to pay back, it seems as though something bigger and possibly more disruptive is at play.
Industry and former government officials said all signs point to the Office of Management and Budget consolidating several existing federal payroll providers either into GSA or through the use of quality service management offices through GSA.
Experts said the fact is GSA can only pay the loan back through a limited number of ways: