Williams nominated as GSA administrator

Jim Williams, the commissioner of the General Services Administration’s Federal Acquisition Service, has been nominated to be GSA"s administrator, the White House announced today.

“I am honored to be nominated by the president to lead the General Services Administration. If confirmed by the Senate, I look forward to serving the president, working with the fine men and women of GSA and for the citizens of our great nation,” Williams said after the announcement.

Williams has been FAS commissioner since 2006, taking the position less than a week after Lurita Doan became GSA administrator. Stan Soloway, president of the Professional Services Council, said Williams' experience brings clout to the position because he knows the agency well. Williams doesn’t have to go through a long learning curve on how the agency operates, Soloway said.

Williams has dealt with initiatives happening throughout GSA, including a new program management office to oversee GSA’s Multiple Awards Schedules (MAS) program. Williams has also had experience in guiding the reorganization of FAS, is its first commissioner after the agency combined the Federal Technology Service and the Federal Supply Service.

Meanwhile, the nomination puts two of GSA’s top three positions into flux, said Bob Woods, president of Topside Consulting Group and a former GSA official.

“GSA needs some stability,” Woods said, and added that Williams has worked with GSA through turbulent times.

The nomination could also upset FAS’ progress, one industry expert said. The move will leave a vacancy, and the next commissioner will have ideas on how the organization should operate, which will require an operational change, the expert said.

“I believe that has managed FAS so well that it is unlikely to cause a major disruption in the work of the FAS such as the recent establishment of the MAS program office,” said Don Erickson, director of government relations at the Security Industry Association.

Woods said Williams has a short time to work, but he first needs to let GSA employees know what they can expect if he becomes administrator, and then he needs to reach out to GSA’s clients.

The White House’s announcement comes the same day the acting administrator David Bibb announced his retirement on Sept. 1. (See related story.)

Williams has served as director of the U.S. Visitor and Immigrant Status Indicator Technology program at the Homeland Security Department. Earlier, he served as deputy associate commissioner for program management in the Business Systems Modernization Office at the Internal Revenue Service.

Williams received a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University and a master’s degree from George Washington University.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.


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