Buzz of the Week

Johnson's on a roll

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Networx Universal, Networx Enterprise, SATCOM II and Alliant. The General Services Administration stood 4-for-4 last week in meeting its schedules for issuing some of the largest contracts in recent memory. It’s been a streak worthy of the New England Patriots.

John Johnson, assistant commissioner for Integrated Technology Services at GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service, must have enjoyed his walk to the podium last week to announce that GSA  awarded Alliant to 29 vendors. Johnson led GSA’s efforts to award Alliant, SATCOM II and the two Networx contracts. Those four combined could be worth more than $118 billion in the next decade. Johnson has occupied a bright spot in an otherwise dark year for management at GSA.

Johnson said Alliant is an example of how ITS works collaboratively throughout the organization.

One vendor said Alliant will go a long way toward re-establishing GSA’s reputation as a premier provider of services to agencies.

No one knows yet what the collateral benefits could be, but Johnson’s successes might provide the momentum to get GSA back on the right path.

In the past three years, Johnson has set deadlines, listened to industry and delivered on his word. So far, none of the Networx contracts or SATCOM have been mired in protests. Alliant might end that good streak because it left 37 unsuccessful bidders. But that’s beside the point.

Awarding large, multiple-award contracts on time and without protest is a skill not too many officials — and agencies — have these days. As protests continue to increase across government, and vendors believe they were wronged or have no choice but to protest to avoid getting shut out of business with an agency, Johnson’s record is impressive.

THE BUZZ CONTENDERS
#2: Chain reaction
Mark Everson’s departure from the Internal Revenue Service, where he was commissioner until May, has set off a chain reaction in the C-suite at the IRS. Everson left to become president and chief executive officer at the American Red Cross. Last week, we learned that Everson’s successor at the IRS, Acting Commissioner Kevin Brown, plans to leave the agency in mid-September to join the American Red Cross, where he will become the chief operating officer. Brown’s departure means that Linda Stiff, the IRS’ deputy commissioner for operations support, will assume Brown’s positions of acting commissioner and deputy commissioner for services and enforcement. Are you following? Stiff’s replacement will be Richard Spires, IRS’ chief information officer. Notwithstanding his new duties, Spires will continue to work on the agency’s Business Systems Modernization Program, which insiders say has benefited immensely from Spires’ involvement and leadership.

#3: Presidential podcasts
If you want to hear President Lyndon B. Johnson and Lady Bird Johnson sounding all lovely-dovey, check out the new Presidential Libraries podcast Web site, created by the National Archives and Records Administration. Here’s a partial transcription of a clip from the Johnson Presidential Library and Museum that you can listen to on the Web site and at iTunes. The Aug. 4, 1964, telephone conversation at the White House is between Johnson and his wife, Lady Bird:
Operator: There you are.
LBJ: Darling?
Lady Bird: Yes, beloved.
LBJ: Did you want me?
Lady Bird: I just wanted to see you whenever you were all alone.
LBJ: Alright.
Lady Bird: Just merely to tell you I loved you, that’s all.
LBJ: Well, I’ll be over there. Are the [Judge and Mrs. Robert] Russell still
there?
Lady Bird: No. They left at 3:30 this afternoon, dear.
LBJ: Well, I’ll be darned. Well, why didn’t they tell me goodbye?
Lady Bird: [pause]...because I guess they just figured you just didn’t have a moment.
LBJ: I’ll be darned. Well, any other news?
Lady Bird: Nothing in comparison to yours, darling.

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