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The FCW Interview: Lurita Doan

So we were fortunate enough to get to sit down with the new GSA administrator, Lurita Doan – her first press interview. FCW reporter Matthew Weigelt and I had a good hour with Doan.

She is impressive – very focused. In fact, in the editorial for this week, I said she is refreshing.

Some impressions:

•Her passion: The head of just about every agency will say that they have the best job in government, but many of them… well, you just don't believe them. (Some don't even say it.) Doan not only says it, but she says it with passion and conviction. You believe her. She truly seems to believe not only that she has one of the best jobs in government, but that GSA has an important mission to fulfill.

•Leadership: She said to us, flat out, "Leadership matters."

•Her office: The GSA administrator's office is grand – wood paneled, high ceilings, very spacious. Yet she decided not to take that big office but instead took a smaller office nearby as her working office and GSA executives use the big office.

•The notebook: Matthew wrote about this in this week's issue, but she has a notebook that lists her goals and important notes.

•Open: Doan was refreshingly open, willing to talk about even difficult subjects.

•A belief in people: The first story we wrote coming out of the interview was Doan's decision to put GSA's buy-outs on hold until new FAS Administrator Jim Williams has a chance to survey the organization. There has been a feeling that FAS was loosing its best people and people were starting to question how the organization would survive without top people.

•Regions: One of my favorite moments during the interview was when we asked her about dealing with the regions. Many GSAers have seen rogue regions as one of the big problems facing the agency. So we asked her how she was going to deal with regions, given that regional administrators are appointed by the White House and therefore often have not seen GSA HQ as where they reported. But she was straight and to the point – regional administrators may be appointed by the White House, but they report to her, she said. Although she said that she doesn't see that as being an issue.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Jul 10, 2006 at 12:15 PM


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