Safavian arrest takes down another OFPP head

David Safavian is charged with obstructing a federal investigation and making false statements under oath.

Rick Steele

The resignation and arrest of David Safavian has once again left the federal procurement system a body without a head.

Safavian, charged with obstructing a federal investigation and making false statements under oath, resigned Sept. 16 as administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy. He was then arrested at his home.

Safavian is under investigation for his work while chief of staff at the General Services Administration, the Justice Department said. Safavian allegedly made false statements to both GSA's ethics officer and the agency's inspector general and obstructed the IG's investigation.

Safavian faces five years in prison and undetermined monetary fines if convicted. He was released on bail last week.

Attempts to reach Safavian were not successful.

For OFPP, this is the second time in three years that its administrator has stepped down. Safavian leaves a host of major initiatives, such as SmartBuy, strategic sourcing, competitive sourcing and share in savings, without a sponsor.

Robert Burton, OFPP deputy administrator, is managing the office until an administrator is named. Burton spent more than a year as the acting administrator when Angela Styles left OFPP in September 2003.

The impact of Safavian leaving will be felt around the government, especially on IT issues, and it gives federal acquisition another in a progression of black eyes over the past few years.

"Obviously, to have David leave over misconduct of this nature is troubling, to say the least," said a government official who requested anonymity. "As hard as we all try every day to prove to our stakeholders in Congress and to the American people that our acquisition workforce is trustworthy and dedicated to getting the best value for their tax dollars, the fall of icons in our system just reinforces folks' belief that we're all crooks and need more, not less, oversight."

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