Katzen to leave OIRA post

Sally Katzen administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget announced last week that she will leave the agency for a White House job as the deputy director of the National Economic Council.

Although Katzen has served in her current position since 1993 longer than any other head of OIRA sources said they knew for months that Katzen was looking for another job.

Sources inside and outside of the government said Katzen will be remembered for her work on procurement reform and the Year 2000 problem.

"She's been through some awfully big changes at OMB " said Bob Woods president of Federal Sources Inc. and former commissioner of the General Services Administration's Federal Technology Service. "The shift in how we do business getting away from large systems— that's all happened on her watch. She's helped to make some of that happen."

Donald Arbuckle Katzen's deputy w ho will act in her position until the administration appoints a permanent replacement said Katzen spent much of her time as a champion of information technology issues and contributed to policies regarding the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 the Clinger-Cohen Act privacy issues and the agency's "Raines' rules" on IT acquisition.

"Sally has always had an enormous interest in the 'I' side of OIRA " Arbuckle said.

Some observers said they believe Katzen's leadership on the Year 2000 problem has been weak but one industry source said he believed Katzen could have achieved much more were it not for the constraints of a timid administration. "In my opinion she had far more talent than she was allowed to utilize " the source said. "She wasn't given free reign to pursue her agenda and you could sense her frustration. She probably had to bite her tongue more than anyone should have to."

Ken Salaets director of government affairs at the Information Technology Industry Council said Katzen rose to the task of managing the Clinton administration's interaction with Congress and he commended her performance on the Year 2000 issue. "I think she did a very solid job on that " Salaets said. "We felt she was approachable and accessible on this and other issues."

Although Katzen will join a list of other high-ranking OMB officials including John Koskinen and Steven Kelman who recently have left the agency a spokesman said OMB does not suffer from a leadership void. He noted that career federal employees such as Arbuckle bring years of experience to the jobs that have been left vacant.

But Olga Grkavac vice president of the Systems Integration Division at the Information Technology Association of America said the recent departures are likely to weaken OMB's leadership. "There has been very slow movement from the White House in filling these vacancies " Grkavac said. "Even though there are people acting in these jobs it does create a vacuum in terms of bold initiatives until they are filled permanently."

The OMB spokesman added that Katzen has not yet scheduled a firm date for her departure but he indicated she would most likely leave around the end of the month. He said there is no word on Katzen's permanent replacement

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