Editorial: A glimmer of hope

GSA needs senior political leadership positions filled so the agency can deal with its problems. Doan’s nomination has already lifted the spirits of GSA’s employees.

The Bush administration’s nomination of Virginia businesswoman Lurita Alexis Doan to be the new administrator of the General Services Administration is a shrewd move that has offered the first glimmer of hope for that troubled agency in a long time.

If the Senate approves her nomination, she will be the 32nd GSA administrator and the first woman to hold the position.

We give the White House credit for making an unusual selection. Doan is not well-known in the government information technology community — or even by those who follow GSA closely — but she has an impressive résumé. She started a company that did business with a number of agencies and held a GSA schedule contract and other governmentwide acquisition contracts.

So she has some experience with government contracting and GSA. She has also donated generously to Republican campaigns, which could help her get assistance from the White House and Capitol Hill when she needs it. And it is likely that Doan will need it because she faces some daunting challenges.

The first one, which is largely out of her control, is to get confirmed. However, senators must ask some important questions. Doan has led a successful company, but lawmakers are likely to have concerns about the scalability of her skills. They must conduct a thorough evaluation as quickly as possible.

In the meantime, GSA’s acting leaders should be commended for the work they have done in the six months since former administrator Stephen Perry stepped down. Now GSA needs senior political leadership positions filled so the agency can deal with its problems. Doan’s nomination has already lifted the spirits of GSA’s employees. We hope she takes advantage of that goodwill to meet with important stakeholders and address difficult issues in a forthright and open manner.

About the Author

Christopher J. Dorobek is the co-anchor of Federal News Radio’s afternoon drive program, The Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris, and the founder, publisher and editor of the DorobekInsider.com, a leading blog for the Federal IT community.

Dorobek joined Federal News Radio in 2008 with 16 years of experience covering government issues with an emphasis on government information technology. Prior to joining Federal News Radio, Dorobek was editor-in-chief of Federal Computer Week, the leading news magazine for government IT decision-makers and the flagship of the 1105 Government Information Group portfolio of publications. As editor-in-chief, Dorobek served as a member of the senior leadership team at 1105 Government Information Group, providing daily editorial direction and management for FCW magazine, FCW.com, Government Health IT and its other editorial products.

Dorobek joined FCW in 2001 as a senior reporter and assumed increasing responsibilities, becoming managing editor and executive editor before being named editor-in-chief in 2006. Prior to joining FCW, Dorobek was a technology reporter at PlanetGov.com, one of the first online community centers for current and former government employees. He also spent five years at Government Computer News, another leading industry publication, covering a variety of federal IT-related issues.

Dorobek is a frequent speaker on issues involving the government IT industry, and has appeared as a frequent contributor to NewsChannel 8’s Federal News Today program. He began his career as a reporter at the Foster’s Daily Democrat, a daily newspaper in Dover, N.H. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California. He lives in Washington, DC.


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