GSA's Safavian tapped to head OFPP

President Bush yesterday announced his intentions to nominate David Safavian to become the next administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy.

Safavian, chief of staff for the General Services Administration since July 2002, would replace Angela Styles, who resigned in September to return to industry.

"David is a good choice," said Larry Allen, executive vice president of the Coalition for Government Procurement of Washington. "He has good leadership skills and strong Hill credentials."

The Senate must confirm Safavian. The process could become a battle, Allen said, because lawmakers might want to use the confirmation process to draw attention to complaints they have with the administration's competitive-sourcing policy.

Safavian likely will not even have a confirmation hearing before late winter or early spring because of the 10 appropriations bills Congress is working on, Allen speculated.

As OFPP's chief, Safavian's biggest challenge will be the competitive-sourcing initiative. When she stepped down after completing a revamp of OMB Circular A-76, the rules that guide competing out federal jobs, Styles said her successor would have the tough job of implementing the new rules.

"The administration needed someone who has the courage to stand up for these convictions, and I think Davis will do that," Allen said.

Before joining GSA, Safavian was chief of staff for Rep. Chris Cannon (R-Utah) and was a managing partner for Janus-Merritt Strategies LLC, a Washington government relations and lobbying firm.

Safavian earned his bachelor's degree from St. Louis University, his law degree from the Detroit College of Law and a master's of law from Georgetown University.

Jason Miller writes for Government Computer News magazine

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