GSA head tries to ease tension Doan created
- By Matthew Weigelt
- May 28, 2008
Officials at the General Services Administration are trying to smooth the some internal relationships disrupted by now-departed administrator Lurita Doan.
David Bibb, GSA's acting administrator, said today that GSA officials are trying to ease the tension that had been escalating with the agency’s inspector general, Brian Miller, during Doan's tenure.
Bibb said he and Miller have held meetings in a relaxed atmosphere to share their opinions on issues. The meetings so far have been informal and conversational, Bibb said. They are trying to avoid formal reports as a way to communicate, Bibb said after a speech at a conference held by the Coalition for Government Procurement.
As the offices work on their relationship, they are keeping each other informed of what’s happening, Bibb said. “It’s kind of a pledge not to surprise one another,” he said.
For example, GSA officials are giving the IG a preview of their response to a report Miller’s office is sending to Congress, Bibb said. Similarly, in a recent meeting, IG office officials shared their thoughts with other agency officials about their review of GSA’s customer service centers, as required by the fiscal 2008 defense authorization law.
Bibb wants to avoid letting issues escalate as they have in the past, although there always will be some tension there. During Doan's tenure, she wrestled with Miller’s office over funding as she pushed the agency make budget cuts. In addition, Doan struggled with Miller’s office over the issue of whistle-blowers. An independent review of that situation by another IG found no wrongdoing by Miller.
“We’re trying to defuse” a strained relationship, Bibb said.
On another front, Bibb and GSA officials have reached out to staff members on congressional committees with authority over contracting policies, such as the two chambers' armed services committees. Bibb said the agency wants to discuss acquisition policy changes that will affect GSA and contractors.
Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.