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Administrator Doan Helps Celebrate Re-Opening of IRS Headquarters

As Prepared for Delivery

REMARKS BY
LURITA ALEXIS DOAN
ADMINISTRATOR
U.S. GENERAL SERVICES ADMINISTRATION
IRS HEADQUARTERS RE-OPENING CEREMONY
WASHINGTON, D.C.
December 11, 2006

Thanks, Carl.

Commissioner Everson, Commissioner Winstead, ladies and gentlemen …

Teamwork is never more important than in times of crisis. The IRS has long performed a vital mission for our citizens and our nation, and is certainly among GSA’s most important customers.   When torrential rains overwhelmed Washington DC’s storm drainage system last June and began pouring through the basement windows of this building, GSA was ready and privileged to lend a hand.

They say flooding of this magnitude occurs once every 300 years.

So, if you do your math—and hopefully everyone here is very good at math? That means the last incident came about 70 years before the Declaration of Independence, and that, hopefully, we won’t have to worry about the next one until 2306.

My hope is that whomever holds the job of GSA Administrator and IRS Commissioner in that far distant future has at his or her disposal the same kind of dedicated and tireless employees who were on the job this time –

The kind who would not rest until our IRS colleagues were re-situated in alternate workspace and had what was needed to allow them to continue performing their mission.

And frankly, let’s face it, while GSA is IRS’ partner, if we are honest, there wasn’t a lot of sympathy or disappointment in the rest of the United States that the IRS was experiencing difficulty!

My congratulations to PBS Commissioner David Winstead, Acting Regional Administrator Ann Everett, PBS National Capital Regional Administrator, Bart Bush, and the entire GSA team that made this project such a resounding success.

I would like to especially recognize Bart because, most of you probably don’t know it, but when the flood occurred, it was only his second day on the job.  So, imagine this: it’s 2 a.m. Eastern Standard Time, and I’m emailing Bart since I was at a meeting on the West Coast.  I get this response on my Blackberry, and it’s Bart, who has just been swimming around in the water of the IRS basement!  I tell you, now that’s a rough, first week on the job!  And Bart performed his duties with competency and good humor and continuous status update reports.  So, Bart, here’s a special round of applause for your dedicated effort!

My other hope, Commissioner Everson, is that all future GSA administrators enjoy the same wonderful relationship that we enjoy today with the Internal Revenue Service.

Working together, our teams got their arms around a situation that was quickly going from bad to worse.

We know we’re not done yet. There’s still more work ahead.

But the foundation is solid. (and dry!)

Perhaps most important, a building in the heart of the Nation’s Capital that is as much a symbol of American democracy as it is a workplace for our friends at the IRS is once again up and running.

Now, that’s something to celebrate.

Thank you very much.