Senate confirms Safavian to lead OFPP

After more than a year without a procurement chief, the federal government finally has one. The Senate confirmed David Safavian Nov. 21 as administrator for the Office of Federal Procurement Policy.

Safavian has been working for the past 12 months at the Office of Management and Budget as a counselor to Clay Johnson, OMB's deputy director for management. He replaces Angela Styles, who stepped down to return to the private sector in September 2003. Robert Burton had been acting OFPP administrator while Safavian awaited Senate confirmation.

"David has spent his time at OMB learning a lot about what goes on in the procurement process, and this will only add to the knowledge he picked up at the General Services Administration," said Larry Allen, executive director of the Coalition for Government Procurement, a Washington trade association. "He has some big ideas about what he wants to do with procurement, and it is not all laissez faire. "

Allen said Safavian will continue to push competitive sourcing, performance-based contracting and share-in-savings contracting as well as make sure contractors meet performance metrics.

Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.) held up Safavian's nomination for several months with concerns about how Safavian would handle the administration's competitive sourcing agenda. After Byrd removed the hold, the Senate waited until after the election to confirm any of President Bush's nominations.

"David will be different than Angela because he brings more of an understanding of what it means to be in business," Allen said. "He's done other things besides be a procurement lawyer, and that gives him a broader perspective."

Before coming to OMB, Safavian was chief of staff at the General Services Administration for a little more than a year. He also worked for two congressman and ran his own telecommunications consulting firm, Janus-Merritt Strategies LLC of Washington.

Safavian earned a bachelor's degree in political science from St. Louis University and a law degree from Michigan State University's Detroit College of Law. He also received a master's degree in tax law from Georgetown University.

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