OMB competitive sourcing chief to step down

Angela Styles, the administration's point-person for competitive sourcing-President Bush's most controversial government reform initiative-is stepping down from her post as federal procurement administrator.

Styles confirmed she would leave the Office of Management and Budget on Sept. 15 to become a partner at Miller & Chevalier, a Washington law firm that specializes in contract law. She practiced law at the firm before working for the Bush administration.

"I am resigning effective Sept. 15 and going back to my old law firm to practice law," she said Thursday. "I've been in my position almost two and a half years, and it has been a lot of hard work, and it's taken a lot of energy."

Styles cited a desire to practice law and to spend more time with her family as reasons for her departure. "I love practicing law, and I've always missed it since I've been doing policy," she said. "They've got a very good quality of life [at Miller & Chevalier] as compared to almost three years of not as good a quality of life here."

Styles took office in the fall of 2001 with a mandate to implement the president's campaign promise to let private firms bid on at least half of all "commercial" jobs in government-425,000 jobs in all. At the time, only the Defense Department was holding significant numbers of public-private job competitions. Styles directed most civilian agencies to set up competitive sourcing programs, and she led a rewrite of the government's job competition rules, contained in OMB Circular A-76.

"I've made a lot of progress with most of the agencies, and we've gotten a new circular out," she said.

Styles was the public face for an initiative that has been widely criticized by federal employee unions and some members of Congress. The effort is also unpopular with rank-and-file federal workers. But Styles was able to maintain good relations with federal union leaders. "You need to always have an open door," she said. "[Union leaders] are never going to walk out of my door and say we love competitive sourcing, but they'll say that she listens to us," she said.

John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, complimented Styles. "While we rarely agreed with Ms. Styles, we did appreciate the access she gave AFGE," he said. "She had a difficult job and answers to officials who have, for all intents and purposes, declared war on federal employees."

Styles acknowledged that competitive sourcing is at a "critical junction," as she prepares to depart. Congress is trying to stop competitions at several agencies, including the National Park Service, and the competition drive faces administrative hurdles as well. The Veterans Affairs Department, the largest civilian agency, has halted almost all of its competitions because of legal concerns. The Army, which launched its huge "Third Wave" competition initiative last fall, is waiting for a new service secretary before proceeding with its initiative.

"You have a lot of agencies that are moving forward aggressively, and you have other agencies that are struggling with the initiative, trying to decide how to go forward, and you're getting a lot of congressional pressure," she said.

As federal procurement administrator, Styles focused on contract bundling issues and purchase card abuse. She also encouraged procurement officials to focus on "acquisition basics," a call some procurement experts took as a criticism of the procurement reforms of the 1990s. "I think there's a lot of work still be to done," she said. "There is still not a lot of oversight in some areas of our contracting system, and I think it will haunt us."

Styles' deputy, Associate Administrator of Federal Procurement Jack Kalavritinos, left OMB last month to be White House liaison to the Labor Department.

Styles said career OMB professional Robert Burton would serve as acting administrator for federal procurement after she leaves. Clay Johnson, OMB Deputy Director for Management, will continue to lead efforts to implement the administration's management agenda, she said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.