With the resignation of General Services Administration Administrator Martha Johnson on Monday, the Obama administration will be looking for a new person to lead – and rebuild – the agency.
As GSA administrator, that person will be responsible for restoring the public’s and other government departments’ faith in the agency, along with its continuing its mission of providing the federal government with the tools it needs to operate more efficiently.
Below, we look at some potential candidates that could fill the position when President Obama and his staff make their announcement, likely in a few months.
Lisa Jackson, Administrator, Environmental Protection Agency
Yes, Jackson has a long career at the EPA, working for the agency for 16 years and previously leading the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, but sustainability and reducing waste has been one GSA’s largest initiatives the past two years. The agency has been looking to create a zero environmental footprint for itself and then spread those lessons throughout the government. Who better to do that than President Obama’s environmental guru?
Nancy Sutley, Chairperson, White House Council on Environmental Quality
Along the same lines as Jackson, Sutley is another of the Obama administration’s leaders when it comes to sustainability and the environment, leading plans to install solar panels and a solar hot water heater on the roof of the White House. She is a committed public servant with more than 20 years in government, both at the state and federal levels and is a trusted lieutenant to President Obama.
Dan Tangherlini, Acting Administrator, GSA
Too obvious? Maybe, but Tangherlini will likely get the first look if he does a bang up job over the coming months while the Obama administration figures out who will run the agency. Not to mention he’s no slouch. There was a reason he was brought in to run the agency following Monday’s firestorm with a long career in Washington both as chief performance officer at the Treasury Department and in high-profile situations in the Washington D.C. local government as head of the Metro and as Mayor Adrian Fenty’s Chief of Staff.
Steve Kempf, Commissioner, Federal Acquisition Service, GSA
Granted, it’s probably not likely a new administrator comes from someone already inside GSA, but according to reports, the circumstances that led to Johnson’s resignation came exclusively from the Public Building Service side of the house. Promoting Kempf, who oversees the delivery of more than $50 billion in products, could help emphasize the agency’s commitment to providing the government with materials at a reasonable cost and give other agency’s a trusted face to move forward with. Plus, the last administrator before Johnson? That was Jim Williams, former former commissioner of FAS who took the job on an acting basis during the Obama transition, so there is precedent.
Dave McClure, Associate Administrator, Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies, GSA
Another GSA employee far away from the mess of Las Vegas who brings an impeccable reputation to the job. McClure has been instituting some of the most high-profile technology programs in the federal government – namely FedRamp – and leading the government push to the cloud. He’s been instrumental in helping push a number of technology initiatives and knows about keeping costs down, considering he spent 18 years in the Government Accountability Office pre-GSA.
Sally Katzen, Senior Advisor, Podesta Group
Not currently a govie, but Katzen has a long reputation in government going back to the Carter administration and during her days as the Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs at the Office of Management and Budget during the Clinton administration. She is a trusted Democrat who was leader during President Obama’s transition team as a member of the Agency Review Working Group responsible for helping set up the Executive Office of the President and government operations agencies.