GSA has welcomed two women into senior leadership positions at the agency – Denise Turner Roth as the GSA Administrator and Carol Fortine Ochoa as the GSA Inspector General. Ochoa, who has decades of experience as a federal prosecutor and manager in the Department of Justice (DOJ), was confirmed by the Senate on July 29th. In her position as Inspector General, Ochoa will lead “more than 300 auditors, special agents, attorneys, and other professional staff…to detect and deter waste, fraud, abuse, and misconduct.”
Just a few days later on August 5th, the Senate confirmed Roth, who had been GSA’s Acting Administrator since February 2015, as the 39th GSA administrator, but this was far from a perfunctory approval. The status of the beleaguered System for Award Management (SAM) contractor database integration project was a pivotal issue during the confirmation hearings as committee member Sen. Claire McCaskill (DMo.) withheld her support for Roth’s confirmation until she was given a deadline for completion of SAM.gov. FCW reports that Roth gave August 23, 2017 to McCaskill as the date for completion of the SAM integration, clearing the way for her confirmation.
Roth’s statement at her July 23 confirmation hearing before the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (HSGAC) set out “opportunities we have as an organization to introduce new technologies into the government, change the way we utilize the federal workspace, and modernize acquisitions.” Some of these opportunities include:
Category Management, which Roth said was “a proven approach used extensively by other public and private entities” that will “enable the federal government to buy smarter and more like a single enterprise. Under new initiatives such as Category Management, the federal government will identify core categories of spending, and develop specialized levels of expertise, share best practices, provide streamlined solutions, and manage supply and demand for each of the categories. The objective is to increase efficiency and effectiveness while reducing costs and redundancies.”
Common Acquisition Platform, or Acquisition Gateway—“searchable ‘hallways’ that group similar listings for ease of use and review. As more information is populated on available vehicles and the pricing achieved through them, the government will be able to be smarter and more deliberate in its acquisitions,” Roth said.
Proposed Transactional Data Rule, which will require vendors to report prices paid on GSA and other federal contract transactions. The rule as drafted would partially relieve contractors of GSA contract price reduction clause monitoring and liability.
18F: A digital development team charged with “making the government’s digital and web services simple, effective, and easier to use for the American people” through “developing in an agile manner, building prototypes rapidly and putting them in the hands of users for feedback; measuring success not in terms of completion of a system, but through customer use; and scaling what works iteratively.”