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OFPP Rumors Afloat

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By Robert Brodsky

Seems like the administration is ready to make some noise in appointing an administrator of federal procurement policy at the Office of Management and Budget.

As first reported this morning by Chris Dorobek of Federal News Radio, Obama appears ready to appoint Daniel Gordon, the deputy general counsel for the Government Accountability Office, as OFPP administrator. Four other extremely well-connected sources in the procurement industry have confirmed the Gordon rumor and each expect the pick to happen.

Gordon is certainly not your typical OFPP pick, which in recent years has tended to focus on academics or contracting attorneys, generally with private sector experience. Gordon doesn't fit the mold, having spent the past 17 years with the GAO. But, he undeniably knows procurement, serving first as a senior attorney in the GAO's procurement law division working on bid protest cases; he later went on to head the division from 2000 through July 2006.

While an OFPP pick with an oversight background might sound scary to contractors, private industry sources who have dealt with him in the past say he's well respected, substantive and fair.

One caveat, though. We have heard multiple OFPP nominee rumors in recent months, running the gauntlet from top procurement officials in the state of Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia, to think tank leaders and your assortment of contracting attorneys [we heard that many were eliminated from consideration because of potential conflicts of interest.]

But, Chief Performance Officer Jeffrey Zients did tell my colleague Elizabeth Newell last week that an OFPP pick was coming soon. No word back yet today from OMB.

If Gordon is the choice, he will have his work cut out for him, implementing the administration's contracting policy memos. I wrote about the challenges awaiting the next OFPP administrator in the August edition of Government Executive Magazine . Obviously, we will stay on this story and keep you updated as word trickles out.

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