GSA

Roth's SAM deadline paves way for confirmation

Denise Turner Roth.

GSA Administrator Denise Turner Roth was confirmed Aug. 6.

Responding to a key senator's demand, Denise Turner Roth defused a potentially contentious delay of her confirmation as administrator of the General Services Administration by imposing a deadline to have a long-delayed contracting database in place.

Roth was confirmed as GSA's 39th administrator by the Senate the evening of Aug. 6 and will lead the agency's workforce of 11,500 full-time employees and oversee a $24 billion budget supporting the agency’s Public Buildings Service, Federal Acquisition Service, and technology services programs.

During a mid-July confirmation hearing, Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) pressed Roth for a firmer project completion date and other details on the perpetually lagging System for Award Management (SAM) contractor database system, threatening to hold up Roth's confirmation until the information was provided.

Sources told FCW that Roth informed McCaskill that the final SAM system is now scheduled for integration on Aug. 23, 2017, seven months after the end of the Obama administration.

The Senate voice vote on Aug. 5 came just a few weeks after Roth’s confirmation hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, where she discussed her vision for moving the agency forward. In that hearing, McCaskill grilled Roth on the SAM, saying the program to unite a dozen acquisition databases was going on six years old with little result other than a price tag that had ballooned from an estimated $96 million to an expected $181 million.

Roth stepped into the role of deputy administrator just over a year ago, after former Administrator Dan Tangherlini left for the private sector.

About the Author

Mark Rockwell is a senior staff writer at FCW, whose beat focuses on acquisition, the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Energy.

Before joining FCW, Rockwell was Washington correspondent for Government Security News, where he covered all aspects of homeland security from IT to detection dogs and border security. Over the last 25 years in Washington as a reporter, editor and correspondent, he has covered an increasingly wide array of high-tech issues for publications like Communications Week, Internet Week, Fiber Optics News, tele.com magazine and Wireless Week.

Rockwell received a Jesse H. Neal Award for his work covering telecommunications issues, and is a graduate of James Madison University.

Click here for previous articles by Rockwell. Contact him at mrockwell@fcw.com or follow him on Twitter at @MRockwell4.


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