Senators invoke GSA scandal during procurement nominee’s hearing

Nominee for OFPP Administrator, Joseph Jordan Nominee for OFPP Administrator, Joseph Jordan Timothy White, OPM

President Obama’s nominee to be administrator of the White House Office of Federal Procurement Policy testified on Wednesday before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, whose leaders invoked the recent spending scandal at the General Services Administration as reason for action against waste.

“With more than $500 billion going to federal contracts every year -- about one out of every $6 spent by the government -- it is imperative that our acquisitions produce the best possible results and value for the American people,” said Jordan, who currently is a senior adviser at the Office of Management and Budget.

Nominee Joseph Jordan’s three themes for improving federal procurement were buying smarter, building the right supplier relationships and strengthening the acquisition workforce.

He promised to “work closely with agency chief acquisition officers and senior procurement executives and our federal training institutions to identify training needs and facilitate cost-effective pooling of resources to meet the needs of all agency personnel who play a role in the acquisition process. This includes not just our essential contract specialists, but also contracting officer’s representatives, who are responsible for contract management, and program and project managers, who are instrumental in acquisition planning and the development of contract requirements,” he said. “I will also continue OFPP’s proud tradition of convening the Front-Line Forum, where contracting officers from around government meet with the administrator to share their real-time on-the-ground perspective.”

Jordan would replace Dan Gordon, who left the post in December 2011 for a slot as a dean at The George Washington University Law School. The job is being filled on an acting basis by Lesley Field.

The committee did not vote on Jordan’s nomination, but is expected to do so at its next meeting later in May.

OFPP “needs to double down on its oversight of contract spending to make sure we don’t purchase goods or services we don’t really need and to ensure that we get the most for the taxpayer money we do spend,” said panel Chairman Joe Lieberman, I-Conn. “Fiscal discipline is good policy no matter the dollar amount, but in a weak economy when we are looking to significantly reduce the deficit . . . discipline is a must.”

Ranking member Susan Collins, R-Maine, said Jordan’s nomination comes at a critical time. “The flouting of acquisition rules by the General Services Administration in connection with a lavish 2010 conference underscores the importance of adherence to these rules as protection against the waste of taxpayer dollars,” she said. “Ultimately, however, it is OFPP that has the obligation to ensure -- across the government -- that the federal acquisition system promotes economy, efficiency and effectiveness in order to deliver the best value to taxpayers.”

Jordan was the associate administrator for government contracting and business development at the Small Business Administration from 2009 to 2011, and before that he worked at the consulting firm McKinsey & Co.

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