Posts Tagged ‘GSA’
Not sure how I missed this one, but… GovExec reports that David Safavian, the former OFPP administrator and the GSA chief of staff, was re-indicted.
A former top Bush administration procurement official faces a fresh set of charges for allegedly lying to federal officials and obstructing an investigation into his relationship with convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff.
The Justice Department re-indicted David Safavian, the former chief of staff for the General Services Administration and ex-administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy at the Office of Management and Budget, on four counts of making false statements and one count of obstructing justice. Two of the false statement charges are new, while the other three counts date back to his original 2005 indictment.
A jury convicted Safavian in June 2006 on charges of making false statements to Senate investigators, a GSA ethics official and the agency’s inspector general, and of obstructing an investigation. He was cleared on a fifth charge of obstructing an investigation by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee.
I mentioned that I had an exclusive interview with GSA’s newly appointed acting Federal Acquisition Services Commissioner Tyree Varnado that aired on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris. You can hear that interview here.
(Almost immediately after the interview aired, I started getting e-mails… ‘why didn’t you ask…’ Varnado and I actually got to spend about 45 minutes together. The interview that airs was about 15 minutes, so there were many areas that we covered, but didn’t get to. That being said, this was something of an introduction forVarnado . He has been in government — and at GSA — for some time. But he is not a household name. We all will have plenty of time to askVarnado detailed questions about specific topics, but… for right now, I was interested in who he is… and how he views this job and this position…)
One of the specific items that we did not get to talk about: Federal Times reported yesterday that 85 percent of the agencies will miss the Oct. 9 deadline to have selected a Networx vendor.
We didn’t get into that because today on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, we are going to talk to Karl Krumbholz, GSA’s acting assistant commissioner for service development and delivery. Krumbholtz is GSA’s Networx point man.
I spoke to a number of Networx analysts and vendors yesterday to get a sense about the program. I’m told that there is finally movement — vendors had been very frustrated that the entire process was moving at a glacial pace. That being said, I was told by several people that only 3 percent of the agencies have actually moved toNetworx from FTS 2001. Many agencies are working off FTS 2001 bridge contracts that allow them to continue to do business.
To be honest, I don’t know what happens when that bridge expires. I’ll try to find out today.
If you have insights about Networx, let me know.
I’m hearing that Steven J. Kempf, who has been heading up the acting assistant commissioner for acquisition management, was named the acting FAS deputy late last week.
Kempf had been in the acquisition management post since February. According to the release about that position in February:
Kempf was a 2008 winner of Federal Computer Week’s prestigious Fed 100 award for his work on HSPD-12. That being said, some see Kempf as tied to GSA’s troubled and yet-to-be-awarded Alliant contract.
It is unclear if Kempf will keep his acquisition management post. (Most of the senior GSA posts are “acting.” Come January, Jim Williams, GSA’s acting administrator, can go back to his former post as FAS commissioner. That means that the current acting FAS commissioner, Tyree Varnado, would become Williams’ deputy and, one assumes that Kempf would return to his acquisition management post… but I can’t follow that many dominoes.)
But where will you hear him first? On Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris on Thursday afternoon — we’re on from 3-7p ET, exclusively on Federal News Radio’s Daily Debrief.
Morris and I are interviewing Varnado earlier in the day in studio — and we’ll probably go longer then our typical interview, keeping Varnado across two segments.
Among the questions I hope we can get to:
- What is on his agenda for FAS?
- What are the most significant issues facing FAS.
- What is that status on the Federal Acquisition Service merger?
- The GSA schedule contracts have been under increasing pressures. Are they still a viable contracting vehicle?
- The Multiple-Award Schedule Panel is recommending that GSA do away with the schedule’s price reduction clause. Thoughts?
- What should be the proper role of oversight?
- What is his sense of the role of assisted services?
What other questions should we ask? Post them here… and we’ll get to as many as we can.
I’ve also been told that Varnado will make an unannounced appearance at Input’s FedFocus 2009 conference on Oct. 21 in Falls Church, VA.
I’m looking forward to meeting Varnado.
Varndado will speak at the coalition’s fall conference on Oct. 22.
Our thoughts go out to GSA’s Bev Godwin and her family. Godwin is the director of USA.gov and Web Best Practices in GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Communications.
Godwin’s son, Ross, was in Dallas. I don’t have the full details, but… last week, he was apparently robbed, his car was stolen and he was shot. He has survived, thank goodness, and I have heard that he is out of the hospital.
If I get any other information, I will pass it along. As always, keep Ross and Bev Godwin in your thoughts. And I’ll post if there is anything that we can do for the family.
Another GSA move — or lack of move, that is: Josh Sawislak, who has been a senior advisor to the administrator and the acting chief emergency response and recovery officer, who had been slated to leave GSA… will be sticking around. GSA Acting Administrator Jim Williams told senior staff this morning.
Sawislak’s wife, who is also a fed, has been transfered to a new post overseas. And Sawislak had been planning to leave GSA to join her overseas.
But Sawislak will be sticking around through the end of the administration.
Early on, Sawislak was seen as a FOL — friend of Lurita, as in former GSA Administrator Lurita Doan — but has gained respect within the agency. He has been working overtime in recent months as the acting emergency response and recovery officer with the seeming parade of hurricanes in the past few weeks.
And when I was at FCW, I had him on the FCW- Federal News Radio show. You can hear that here.
We’ve been tracking the changes going on over at GSA… Last week, we mentioned that Tyree Varnado is the acting FAS Commissioner effective September 21.
Today, we’re hearing that John Phelps is going to GSA’s National Capital Region to serve as Acting Regional Administrator, effective today. NCR is GSA’s largest region. Phelps has has served as GSA’s chief of staff since July 3, 2006 and it looks like he will serve in both roles.
Tony Reed, who has served as the regional administrator of the National Capital Region since June 11, 2007, is apparently coming to GSA headquarters to serve as a special assistant to GSA Acting Administrator Jim Williams.
Only partially confirmed, but… it comes from good sources.
Needless to say, Lurita Doan is a controversial person. As most people know, she does a weekly column for Federal News Radio. This column about oversight was particularly controversial. Frankly, regardless of whether you like or dislike her, it makes for great radio because she’ll say things other people will not say.
But Doan sent out the following e-mail that included this link that had a Doan-Palin separated at birth.
A friend just sent this weblink (linking me to Palin) to my attention and I decided to forward it on to you.
I think it is interesting to note, that there are obvious similarities in the “playbook” run by media, namely,
1. Don’t attack the policy, attack the person.
2. Allege “corruption” of whatever action is taken regarding any procurement.
3. Allege “interference” when an executive questions a decision
4. Drag the executive’s young daughter into the mud slinging
5. Crank up the bloggers and the media to spew the mud as thickly as possible.
Quite comical really, but, then again it is effective. Gov. Palin, no doubt, has already gotten used to this…took me a while but eventually I did too.
Have to admit that I rather admire Gov Palin, so if the bloggers and nutjobs want to cite similarities and suggest that we are separated at birth….well there is a lot worse that has been said about both of us.
To be honest, I can understand how difficult it must be to be under the media spotlight. Frankly, we in the media — and the public at large — is quick to judge. And, frankly, we as the media don’t always get it right. And there is often more to the story.
To be fair, it is often difficult to get ‘the rest of the story.’ That often becomes more clear over time, and by the time that picture becomes more clear, we’ve moved on. So I hear — and understand — her frustration.
We broke the news yesterday that GSA will announce — possibly as soon as today — that Tyree Varnado will be the acting FAS Commissioner effective September 21. In fact, it looks like GSA may have put the announcement out overnight.
The appointment is the latest in a series of moves within GSA to fill vacancies. The FAS Commissioner post is vacant, of course, because Jim Williams was named GSA’s acting administrator. Initially, Wiliams had named Barney Brasseux as acting FAS Commissioner, who was his deputy. Earier this week, however, Brasseux was named the deputy GSA administrator. So that left the FAS commissioner’s office vacant again. (Are you following all of this? We need a chart or something.) So Williams this week, Williams namedVarnado to be FAS commissioner.
I’ll tell you — Varnado has a big fan club.
Among the comments I’ve received already…
From a FAS insider:
Tyree is a good man and it does indeed help to unify the entire GSA team by selecting someone outside of DC to serve in this capacity.
From a GSAer…
Right decision, really solid fellow.
And one GSA observer:
Tyree is an excellent choice.
The over all consensus is that selecting someone from GSA’s regions is a good decision. GSA’s regions can often be problematic, particularly given that each region has regional administrators that who are political appointees and it can sometimes be difficult to get the agency pointed in the same direction.
But a number of people described Varnado as a good leader.
The Federal Acquisition Service, of course, was formed earlier this year by merging the Federal Supply Service and the Federal Technology Service. That merger still needs careful management if it is going to be successful, many observers believe.