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Bush taps procurement chief, OPM and GSA heads

President Bush filled two crucial positions on his government management team late Wednesday, tapping Kay Coles James as director of the Office of Personnel Management and Stephen A. Perry as administrator of the General Services Administration. As director of OPM, James would oversee management of the federal retirement and benefits programs and be the administration's lead official on human resources issues.

At GSA, Perry would serve as the government's chief landlord and direct a host of e-government and procurement programs. Both positions require Senate confirmation. Currently a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, James also served in the Reagan administration and the previous Bush administration. Perry is a senior vice president for human resources at the Timken Company, an Ohio-based manufacturer of steel alloys. Both James and Perry have close ties to key Republican senators. James served in the gubernatorial administration of Sen. George Allen, R-Va., while Perry served as Ohio's director of administrative services in the early 1990s under then-governor George Voinovich, now a senator from Ohio. Voinovich, who is chairman of the Governmental Affairs Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, Restructuring and the District of Columbia, lobbied the White House on Perry's behalf. "I'm excited about the leadership [Perry] will bring to an unsung yet critical agency," said Voinovich. Late Thursday, Bush also named Angela Styles administrator for the Office of Federal Procurement Policy in the Office of Management and Budget. Styles is an expert on government contracting and the 1998 Federal Activities and Inventory Reform Act. She previously served as special assistant to the commissioner of the Public Buildings Service at GSA and counsel to the Washington law firm Miller and Chevalier. OFPP is the lead agency on President Bush's plan to link the FAIR Act with outsourcing goals and will also help coordinate the President's faith-based initiative. President Bush also designated Susan Walthall as the acting chief counsel for advocacy at the Small Business Administration on Wednesday. Walthall previously served as director of the Office of Information at SBA.