Denett nominated to lead OFPP

The Bush administration has formally nominated Paul Denett, a Virginia businessman, to lead the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. The official nomination was announced late yesterday.

Denett is currently vice president of contracting programs at ESI International. He has served in procurement leadership roles at the Interior and Treasury departments.

His nomination, which requires Senate confirmation, has won praise from procurement experts, who say he would be a capable leader of OFPP. The agency is part of the Office of Management and Budget.

“Denett is an excellent nominee," said Stan Soloway, president of the Professional Services Council. "His extensive and hands-on government and industry experience would bring the right balance to this role in an important policy office. Paul’s nomination comes at a critical juncture and we thus hope the Senate will act on his nomination quickly."

Soloway said Denett is well-liked and respected. "He is low-key, but effective nonetheless," Soloway said.

Denett would succeed David Safavian, who was indicted last year on charges related to his relationship with lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

Consultant Robert Guerra said Denett and Lurita Alexis Doan, who has been nominated to be the new administrator of the General Services Administration, have an opportunity to re-establish control over an acquisition system that is beginning to fray.

"My only hope is that he and the new GSA administrator can bring back a strong focus on acquisition management and leadership in the acquisition community," Guerra said. "We need that leadership from both."

Federal Computer Week reported Denett's expected nomination April 14.

Bush also has nominated U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman, a former Republican congressman from Ohio, to lead OMB. Former OMB Director Joshua Bolten was recently named White House chief of staff.

Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, said in a statement that the union had policy disagreements with Portman when he served in the House and has fought through legal means what the union considers regressive personnel rules that Portman helped establish in the legislation that created the Homeland Security Department.

Nevertheless, she said, "I do not expect the Portman appointment to result in significant policy changes...within OMB and the administration, but I remain ready to work with him on issues of concern to the federal workforce and the nation."

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