DorobekInsider: White House names Leeds as GSA’s new acting administrator

Tuesday - 12/22/2009, 11:50am EST

We told you about it first right here last week — and it will be official today — the White House has accepted the resignation of GSA acting administrator Paul Prouty and has designated Stephen R. Leeds as GSA’s new acting administrator pending confirmation of Martha Johnson as the GSA administrator.

Prouty will return home to his family in Denver — he hasn’t been shy about deeply missing his family, which you just have to respect. Prouty will continue to serve as the Regional Commissioner of Public Buildings and he will continue to serve the agency in a senior advisory capacity.

GSA's Stephen Leeds

GSA's Stephen Leeds

Leeds has been serving as Senior Counselor to the Administrator. In that role, he has played an integral role at GSA helping to guide GSA’s Recovery Act programs and to lead GSA’s green efforts as the Senior Sustainability Officer, insiders say.

Prouty is generally given very high marks for his tenure as acting administrator, but there are ongoing concerns within the agency about the lack top political leadership because of the hold by Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) on the nomination of Martha Johnson. Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) has a hold on the Johnson nomination ostensibly about the development of a federal facility in Kansas City.

GSAers are also saying that GSA is also confirming the resignation early next year of deputy administrator Barnaby (Barney) L. Brasseux, who has been serving in that post since September 2008. We hear that administration officials had offered him the opportunity to return to be deputy commissioner at GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, a post that will be vacated by Tyree Varnado starting in January, but Brasseux has decided to retire. (Hear our delightful exit interview with Varnado from Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris here.) And we continue to hear that the deputy administrator post will be filled by Susan Brita, who is a staff director on Capitol Hill. Look for an announcement early next year.

FCW’s Matthew Weigelt reports that the Brita announcement was awaiting the Johnson confirmation, but I’m hearing that, with no end in sight to the Johnson fight, they may announce her appointment regardless. But I’m still hearing Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may attempt a cloture vote on Johnson’s nomination — among others.

Here is what Weigelt reported:

Brita currently is staff director for the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee’s Economic Development, Public Buildings and Emergency Management Subcommittee. Brita was waiting to make the move to GSA when Johnson was confirmed, but the appointment has stalled since spring 2009. The move is expected to happened despite Senate’s inaction on Johnson’s nomination.

Other changes are likely in the coming months. We’ll stay tuned.