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Archive for February 5th, 2010

DorobekINSIDER: GSA’s Martha Johnson to be sworn in Tuesday, Feb. 9

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Less then 12 hours after she was confirmed by the Senate, GSA soon-to-be-sworn-in administrator Martha Johnson has reached out to GSA staff — and is seeking their questions and ideas.

The note confirms what the DorobekINSIDER told you — that the official swearing in will be take place Tuesday, Feb. 9 at 2p at GSA headquarters.

The note sent out to staff today:

On Thursday, Feb. 4, the U.S. Senate confirmed Martha N. Johnson as Administrator of General Services. We are excited to welcome her back to our family. On Tuesday, Feb. 9, at 2 pm EST, we will host a swearing-in town hall, which will be broadcast live on GSA InSite. You will be able to witness Martha taking the Oath of Office and ask her questions about the future of GSA. For Central Office employees the event will be held in the GS Building Auditorium; for those in the region, we hope you will join us live via InSite. If you would like to submit a question for Martha, do so at

We hope to see you there!

Martha brings to GSA the combination of experience and a record of leadership in both the public and private sectors. Most recently, she served as co-lead for the Obama Presidential Transition Agency Review Team for GSA. Martha served as GSA Chief of Staff from 1996 to 2001, under then Administrator David Barram. From 1993 to 1996, she was Assistant Deputy Secretary at the Department of Commerce. Under the Clinton Administration, Martha also served in the Office of Presidential Personnel.

Since 2007, Martha has served as Vice President of Culture at Computer Sciences Corporation, helping to direct a change in corporate culture within the 90,000-person organization. Previously, she was Vice President at SRA International, managing a strategic consulting group that served federal clients.

Martha received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Oberlin College and Master of Business Administration from Yale University.

Written by cdorobek

February 5, 2010 at 2:20 PM

DorobekINSIDER: Welcome to the new GSA administrator, Martha N. Johnson

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We’ve been following the saga forever, but the vote finally happened Thursday afternoon — we had it live as it happened on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris — the Senate first voted to close debate on the Johnson nomination … and then proceeded to confirm Martha N. Johnson as the new administrator of the General Services Administration.

We hear that the swearing in ceremony will take place Tuesday, February 9th at 2p at GSA headquarters. (I’m working on official confirmation, but… this is the word at the moment.)

One curious note: When the vote was first taken, it was 94-2 — four senators (Coburn, Benett, Isaskson and Hutchinson) did not vote — and two senators, Jim Bunning and Jeff Sessions, voted against. But the officially tally as posted by the Senate’s Web site shows a 96-0 vote. I’m not sure how that works, exactly. And, ironically, Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) — the senator who had held up Johnson’s vote — voted to confirm Johnson. But that came after an impassioned floor speech.

That’s the news. Below, you’ll find Johnson’s first public comments coming from the GSA press release… Sens. Lieberman and Collins comments… and Bond’s floor speech itself…

First off, Johnson speaks out in a GSA press release:

“My priority as Administrator will be to put GSA’s expertise to work developing and executing policies and products that will create a greener, more efficient, more cost-effective, more open, and more responsible government,” Johnson added. “By building on GSA’s success thus far, we will provide a streamlined platform for our customer agencies to implement innovative technologies and solutions to decrease government operating costs and increase efficiencies in government service delivery.”

Read the full release here.

Meanwhile, Sen. Kit Bond’s floor speech about GSA and Martha Johnson, which runs about 12-minutes:

I have also pulled selective clips from Sen. Bond’s speech.

Here is Bond defending his hold – particularly after President Obama chided senators for holds for unrelated items, although he didn’t mention Bond or anybody by name. Here is the President on Tuesday:

We’ve got a huge backlog of folks who are unanimously viewed as well qualified, nobody has a specific objection to them, but end up having a hold on them because of some completely unrelated piece of business.  That’s an example … of the kind of stuff that Americans just don’t understand.

Bond says the people he is protecting are the feds in Kansas City (0:27):

Bond: Johnson’s qualifications are not in doubt (0:12)

Bond: GSA needs to do their job (0:17)

Finally, the release from Sens. Joe Lieberman (ID-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee :

Senate Votes 94-2

WASHINGTON—Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., Thursday welcomed the confirmation of Martha Johnson to be General Services Administration (GSA) Administrator. Johnson, who was unanimously approved by the Committee on June 8, 2009, was confirmed by a vote of 94-2. Her confirmation had been blocked for six months for reasons unrelated to her qualifications.

“I am delighted the Senate has finally voted to confirm Ms. Johnson, an extremely qualified and experienced nominee, so she can begin her important work on behalf of the American people,” Lieberman said. “The hold that had been placed on her for six months had nothing to do with her qualifications or personal history. Her nomination received the unanimous support of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee in June and she has overwhelming bipartisan support in the full Senate.

“We cannot continue the practice of holding nominees ‘hostage’ for parochial reasons unrelated to a nominee’s ability to do the job they’ve been they’ve been nominated for. These kinds of things anger the public and damage the Senate as an institution.

“Given her experience as a former GSA Chief of Staff, Ms. Johnson knows the agency inside and out and is prepared to hit the ground running. I am grateful that GSA will now have the stable leadership it needs.”

Collins said: “Martha Johnson has significant experience in both the private sector and the federal government. She served previously as GSA’s Chief of Staff, helping to lead that agency at a time of substantial change. Today, the GSA faces even greater challenges and demands than when Ms. Johnson served there more than eight years ago. I am confidence she will provide much-needed leadership to this agency that provides many important procurement services to the federal government.”

Yesterday on Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, we spoke with Bob Woods, the president of TopSide Consulting and the former commissioner of GSA’s then Federal Technology Service. He noted that one of the challenges Johnson faces is the pent up anticipation around her nomination — there is so much hope for her, if she doesn’t walk on water, people will end up being disappointed.

I’m sure she will be getting a lot of advice in the coming days, weeks, months… and years.