Procurement boss confirmed

The Senate this week confirmed the nomination of David Safavian as administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy.

President Bush nominated Safavian, who had been chief of staff at the General Services Administration, in November 2003.

During a confirmation hearing in April, Safavian said that improving recruitment and retention in the federal workforce would be one of his priorities in the role.

"It's a difficult area for recruiting; it's a difficult area for retention," Safavian said at the time. "We seem to be losing more folks than we're bringing in."

That focus will be important for OFPP, and is something that Safavian's predecessor, Angela Styles, had not focused on as much, said Stan Soloway, president of the Professional Services Council.

"I think he's going to bring strong leadership, and they need leadership," he said. "The vacancy has been open too long. His focus on things like the workforce is critical."

Safavian will probably have more freedom to set priorities, said Larry Allen, executive vice president of the Coalition for Government Procurement.

"I think Angela's direction from the [Bush] administration was competitive sourcing first, second and third," Allen said. "She was given a relatively targeted portfolio to work with."

Chris Jahn, president of the Contract Services Association of America applauded Safavian's appointment.

"OFPP has been instrumental in implementing the many acquisition reforms which the Congress initiated in recent years," he said. "Without an administrator at the helm, however, those reforms have not received the focus or attention that is needed to ensure widespread acceptance."

Allen said he expects Safavian to also make a priority of improving access to government contracts for small businesses and businesses in various set-aside categories.

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