Denett confirmed as OFPP administrator

In one of its last acts before breaking for the August recess, the Senate today unanimously confirmed Paul Denett as administrator for the Office of Federal Procurement Policy.

Office of Management and Budget Director Rob Portman praised the addition of Denett to OMB’s core leadership.

“His integrity, extensive knowledge of government acquisition and grant management issues, and policy expertise will guide us in providing effective leadership in shaping governmentwide procurement regulations and in developing the acquisition workforce,” Portman said in a statement.

At Denett's June 20 confirmation hearing, he said he would build a world-class acquisition system by measuring contractors’ performance, giving employees training to meet the latest challenges and creating more competition for government contracts.

He said he intends to offer better training so acquisition workers can handle increasingly complex challenges. He wants agencies to be more effective in emergency situations by planning their responses ahead of time. He also wants agencies to improve their communications with one another.

Contracts need clear performance standards, and contracting officers should ensure that vendors meet those standards, Denett said. Agencies must hold contractors accountable for performance.

The top post at OFPP has been vacant since former Administrator David Safavian resigned in September 2005. He was later convicted on four felony counts of lying to investigators and obstruction of justice the day of Denett’s confirmation hearing.

Procurement experts say Denett has the acquisition community’s confidence. But some question how much change an OFPP administrator can effect.

Since June, Denett has been counselor to OMB’s deputy director for management, Clay Johnson, giving guidance to federal agencies to improve agency and program performance.

He joined OMB after serving from 2003 to 2006 as ESI International’s vice president for contracting programs, supporting contract and acquisition training in the government and commercial businesses.

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