Shelton to return to old GSA post
Barbara Shelton, brought to the General Services Administration’s headquarters to oversee the agency's reorganization, is leaving the post of acting commissioner of the Federal Acquisition Service Dec. 21.
Shelton will return to her previous position of regional administrator of the agency's mid-Atlantic Region, based in Philadelphia. Marty Wagner, the current associate administrator for GSA's Office of Governmentwide Policy, will become acting FAS commissioner.
FAS is the organization that will replace and consolidate the Federal Supply Service and Federal Technology Service as GSA's reorganization effort continues. It will serve as the primary procurement organization within GSA, blending the high-volume commodity transactions of FSS and the more specialized technology procurements that FTS has historically handled.
Congress has yet to authorize blending the information technology fund and the general supply fund, another key step in the reorganization plan.
Warren Suss, president of Suss Consulting, said Wagner is an ideal choice to take the reins from Shelton.
"Marty's a guy whose got institutional memory," he said. "He understands where GSA needs to go from a policy perspective, and policy should be driving" the reorganization.
"Marty understands from the inside how disruptive this whole reorganization has been," Suss added. "This is a unique moment in the history of the organization, and I think you need someone who has unique vision."
Shelton came to Washington D.C., in February to become acting FTS commissioner after former FTS Commissioner Sandra Bates retired. Shelton became acting FAS Commissioner in June.
Larry Allen, executive vice president of the Coalition for Government Procurement, said Shelton's background only partially prepared her for the task.
"It is tough to come in from a region and run a central office operation," he said. "The dynamics are different. [There is a] much greater range of political considerations in play, broader constituencies, etc. Barbara's background had prepared her well for some of this but didn't really provide her the opportunity to see the role of FSS in all of this, for example."
Allen also noted Wagner's policy perspective.
"He might well be in a position to balance the roles of each constituent organization in the new FAS" Allen said. "We have always enjoyed working with Marty. He has shown himself to be consistently open to meeting with industry."
Although Shelton will remain with GSA, the move comes after several high-profile departures from the agency. Following Bates' January retirement, FSS Commissioner Donna Bennett retired in July and Administrator Stephen Perry left the agency in October.
Shelton has been the heart and soul of the effort to create FAS, Acting GSA Administrator David Bibb said in a statement. "She stepped into a very challenging role and helped create a new-look U.S. General Services Administration that will be better able to serve our customers and by extension, the American people," he said.