Gordon: Focus on workforce, smarter buying

Dan Gordon has finished his tenure as administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, but he left a few pieces of advice for whomever takes place.

In an interview Dec. 19, he said the next OFPP administrator should protect and continue to strengthen the acquisition workforce. The Federal Acquisition Institute and the Defense Acquisition University are under relatively new leadership, and they are committed to improving training for the government’s purchasers. The next administrator needs to support them in their path.

One of Gordon’s emphases was rebuilding the acquisition workforce.

Secondly, Gordon said the administrator needs to focus on fiscal responsibility. The government should be “buying less and buying smarter," he said.

The government needs to continue to push strategic sourcing, especially in IT area. He said the new leaders should work closely with Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel and the officials working in e-government. Agencies can benefit from better and less expensive IT, if the IT and procurement offices work together.

He said it’s important to cut back on management support services. The Obama administration has set a goal to spend 15 percent less on the services between fiscal 2010 and 2012.

“These are the areas that I would say are the highest priorities,” Gordon said.

He also recommended better upfront acquisition planning and better contract management after awarding the contract.

“In many ways, those ‘book ends’ actually parallel what I was saying,” he said.

Gordon, a former high-school teacher, began Jan. 1 as associate dean of government procurement law studies at the George Washington University. Lesley Field is now the acting OFPP administrator, and Joe Jordan is the senior advisor on procurement issues to Jeffrey Zients, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget.

About the Author

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

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Reader comments

Tue, Jan 3, 2012 SPMayor Summit Point, WV

First, I'd like to thank Dan for his service as Administrator. He brought a professional competence to the position that has been missing for too long. I think Dan's comments concerning protecting and strengthening the workforce are critical. As a retired Federal senior procurement executive, I would be so bold as to suggest that protecting the work force requires better leadership than I have seen evidenced by Government procurement managers and supervisors in the 9 years since I retired. A lot is demanded of the workforce and nothing less should be demanded of those manage. The workforce cannot perform, be creative, be decisive, be open or be accomplished if they are not well led, encouraged, and most importantly assured their efforts, particularly where creativity and openness are concerned, will be supported. Out where I live nervous cows do not give good milk; similary, nervous 1102's cannot be all we demand if they have to worry about the butcher.

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