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E-mail to the editor: Doan's fighting the fight

FCW's editorial this week, Stating the obvious, about the importance of the Hatch Act and ensuring that the government's business remains the people's business, has already spurred comments.

Yes by all means let's state the obvious…. You seem to have forgotten the root cause of this entire Doan affair. She pushed back on and IG that was, by any account wildly out of control. Be very careful of what you wish for. You obviously want Doan gone.. When she goes, who exactly is going to push back on the IG then? Tell your readers to lawyer up. It gets real bumpy from here on in. She is the last and only hope for the federal contracting officers, too. If she goes, investigations and audits will spiral out of control, procurement lengthen and in about 6 months or a year from now, when GSA starts slowing down again you are going to write another editorial about "What went wrong at GSA"…..

Maybe you are missing the "obvious". Kelman has been talking , eloquently about the lack of innovation in the government, the loss of civil servants in the procurement system, and the increasingly authoritarian IGs. Give Doan some credit, she is the only one that understand that all three of these issues are related and that the IG/Investigatory culture is stifling all imagination and innovation and is grossly out of control. That is why contracting officers are leaving federal service. She sure has the respect of GSA procurement folks because she is the only one in Washington with the courage to confront the problem that should be "obvious" to you as well.

First off, let me state explicitly that we don't want Doan to go. That is why we have not called on her to resign. To the contrary, I think she still has potential to be a strong leader for GSA, and I'm very concerned about whether an 'acting' would have the ability to lead the agency. So rather then calling on her to resign, we have laid out recommendations if she is to become an effective leader for the agency.

Second, she is fighting the wrong battles. One of the most important parts of leadership is prioritization, or, in other words, choosing your battles. Doan has done a poor job of that.

The January meeting at which White House politicals gave their analysis of the election landscape was wrong. It is the wrong battle. In fact, it gives her critics fodder. She should come out and say that she believes in the Hatch Act wholeheartedly and that she made a mistake and that this kind of thing will never happen under her leadership again. That would put an end to this. Then she can move on to the real issues, but her issues – and they are hers – have become a distraction to the very real issues facing GSA, including find a way to work with the IG and oversight.

Posted by Christopher Dorobek on Jun 03, 2007 at 12:16 PM


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