Stating His Objections
While Congress was in session, Sen. George Voinovich succeeded in blocking Rafael Borras' nomination to become undersecretary for management. But President Obama appointed Borras during recess, and Voinovich is unhappy about that decision. So unhappy in fact, that he took to the Senate floor last night to lay out his objections. They're detailed, management-oriented, and decidedly non-partisan:
Mr. Borras has never overseen a budget anywhere near as large as the DHS budget. His own assertions indicate that the largest budget he has ever been involved with was a $4.5 billion budget at the Commerce Department. That is roughly one-tenth the size of the DHS $50 billion budget, and Mr. Borras was never directly responsible for the Commerce Department budget. Additionally, Mr. Borras has never managed hundreds of thousands of employees like the 230,000 he'll be responsible for at DHS. At most, he asserts that he was directly responsible for managing 1,500 employees while a U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) regional administrator. He's also never overseen a procurement budget similar to that at DHS, where in 2005 $10 billion was spent on 63,000 contracts. Mr. Borras asserts that the largest procurement budget he has been involved with was one-quarter of that, or $2.5 billion, while he was at GSA. Given the vast difference between Mr. Borras' experience and the requirements of this job, I agree with what two of his former supervisors have told me - that this job is a "big leap" from what he has done in the public and private sector.
He's so upset that he's pulling a bill to give the undersecretary for management a five-year term, something that could have been a major stabilizing force in DHS, because he doesn't want Borras to get the term. No matter what one things of Borras and his qualifications, Voinovich's seriousness and passion for good government, and his good relationship with Daniel Akaka, with whom he's worked for years on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Federal Workforce Subcommittee, have always been refreshingly practical and focused on the issues. I'll be curious to see who replaces him on the subcommittee when he retires after this term.