DorobekInsider: Tracking the Gordon OFPP announcement — how soon is soon?

Friday - 10/2/2009, 1:32pm EDT

The DorobekInsider told you first this week that the White House was going to announce — soon — that Daniel Gordon [PDF], the deputy general counsel for the Government Accountability Office, would be nominated to be the administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy.

The question now is… when?

GAO's Dan Gordon

GAO's Dan Gordon

The announcement could come soon — like today. But if it doesn’t come today, it might have to wait for at least a week. Why? GAO insiders confirm that Gordon is scheduled to take vacation — imagine that!?!

Government Executive’s Robert Brodsky reports that Jeffrey Zients asked Gordon to take the post several weeks ago. And Gordon has worked for GAO for years, so… it seems the announcement could come soon, but…

Unfortunately there have been cases when media reports like mine have delayed — or even quashed — nomination announcement. The White House likes to make those announcements themselves. There were reports that the Bush administration delayed the nomination announcement for Paul A.Denett because word leaked out. Frankly, I cannot imagine that level of pettiness. There are important issues to deal with here and one would hope that a PR strategy wouldn’t get in the way of the important issues, but…

While Gordon is not well known, he is well respected by people who do know him — and there are many key procurement people who do know him. Law.com picked up on some of those words of praise.

There are big challenges ahead for Mr. Gordon. Brodsky wrote about it for Government Executive magazine earlier.

Most observers agree the stature and relevance of OFPP has declined in recent years. Past administrators such as Allan Burman, Steven Kelman, David Safavian and Styles raised their profile by taking on a host of high-profile reforms, from streamlining the acquisition process to expanding the use of public-private competitions.

Under the leadership of the media-shy Paul A. Denett – who headed the office from 2006 to mid-2008 – OFPP seemed to fade into the shadows. Field, who succeeded Denett in September 2008, is considered a capable and knowledgeable executive, but her ability to influence policy and legislation is limited, contracting observers say. There are others signs of indifference to the position.

Read GovExec’s full story here.

Washington Technology’s team coverage looks at Gordon’s record to try to determine what kind of OFPP administrator he will be.

Some of Gordon’s philosophy and likely approach to procurement issues can be found in his public record. For example, in a presentation to the Acquisition Advisory Panel in 2005, Gordon said he believes that bid protests are helpful to agencies. According to the minutes of that meeting, Gordon said that, “bid protests provide a self-policing mechanism that may be more efficient than an audit because they allow the aggrieved party to raise concerns.”

Gordon has also taken on the Small Business Administration. In July of this year, he denied SBA’s request to review bid protest decisions. He wrote that GAO denied the request because SBA’s “newly raised information fails to show that our prior decision contains any errors of fact or law.” OMB Director Peter Orszag sided with SBA in that dispute.

Read the full story here.

FCW’s Matthew Weigelt also pulled together some of Gordon’s own words.

And finally… I wanted to credit Government Executive — I did it privately, but I wanted to do it publicly as well… Government Executive’s Brodsky did the somewhat unusual step of crediting the DorobekInsider and Federal News Radio with the Gordon story — and they did it even though they confirmed it on their own. Brodsky went further by crediting us in GovExec’s FedBlog as well. It certainly isn’t required — he confirmed it independently, and generally news organizations will then say that they confirmed the story and therefore they no longer have to credit. But I think it is incredibly classy — and marvelously transparent — for news organizations to credit where they got the information. I try to do that whenever possible — and my guess is this will become the way we do business. But kudos to GovExec… and thanks.