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Eye Opener: GSA official quits over lack of permanent boss

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

Happy Friday! The government's purchasing and facilities management agency lost its chief of staff Wednesday amid frustrations that the Senate has yet to confirm a permanent administrator.

President Obama nominated Martha Johnson in May to serve as administrator of the General Services Administration. She's waited longer than any other current nominee for an up or down Senate vote.

Danielle Germain, joined GSA as chief of staff in June, but said she's waited too long for Johnson's confirmation.

"I have worked directly and indirectly with GSA for a number of years now and my time here has only reinforced in my mind that it is truly an agency with great, dedicated people," German said in an e-mail to The Eye. "That being said, we all know that they have been in a period of transition for the last two years and considering the length of time it is taking to get a permanent administrator, I have decided to take advantage of another opportunity."

Sen. Kit Bond (R-Mo.) has placed a hold on Johnson as he awaits more information about the long-sought construction of a new federal building in Kansas City. The Show Me State's entire Congressional delegation has long demanded more information on the project, but GSA officials insist Bond now has everything he requested.

Four acting administrators have run GSA in the last two years, contributing to suffering morale and plenty of frustration.

Germain will now lead the National Association of Public Administration's Collaboration Project, which promotes the use of technology in government. Germain's departure was first reported by Federal Computer Week's Matthew Weigelt.

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Track all of Obama's nominees with The Post's Head Count

Cabinet and Staff News: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar won't run for Colorado governor and Defense Secretary Robert Gates is staying put one more year. President Obama meets with Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton today. Send good vibes towards to Vice President Biden mother, who is seriously ill. Clinton met with ex-U.N. director in Afghanistan. Deputy OMB Director Jeffrey Zients profiled. White House National Security Council Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough answered questions on Thursday via Facebook. Af/Pak Envoy Richard Holbrooke heading to Abu Dhabi, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and France. Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) blocking Treasury Department nominees over the White House's delay of new Internet gambling prohibitions. Veteran House Homeland Security Committee staffer Todd Levett joins State Department's "drugs and thugs" bureau.

CIA:
CIA will disseminate faster, conduct name traces: The agency will work faster to disseminate and share information in the future.

CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION:
Bomb suspect's name came to U.S. attention midflight: Yet CBP agents had no plans to arrest Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab or even subject him to the most rigorous search.

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT:
U.S. military probes allegations of prisoner abuse in Afghanistan: Officials last month took statements from the two teenagers and are contacting others who claim to have been held at a detention center run by U.S. Special Operations forces.

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY:
EPA seeks stricter limits on smog pollutants: The proposal would help determine the quality of the air Americans will breathe for at least a decade.

FAA:
FAA faults jet makers on data recorders: The agency said it was "seriously disappointed" with what it contends has been 19 months of industry foot-dragging in implementing the safety enhancements.

JUSTICE DEPARTMENT:
Report: High rate of sex abuse at juvenile centers: The department found that nationwide, about 12 percent of youths held in state-run, privately run, or local facilities reported some type of sexual victimization.

STATE DEPARTMENT:
U.S. Embassy in Baghdad to double in size: As the military continues to drawdown in Iraq, diplomats are taking over many of the "critical missions" that the military has been heavily involved in for years.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | January 8, 2010; 5:30 AM ET
Categories:  Agencies and Departments, Eye Opener, Revolving Door  
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Comments

I think there is bipartisan agreement that the (nonjudicial) confirmation process is simply broken. The judicial situation is a little more complicated as they are appointed for life and that has gradually become a political football for that reason -- still bad. But this simple federal job being undone and unfilled for two years over two presidents' terms is disgraceful.

Thank you Senator Kit Bond for once again representing the Party of No. Apparently you can't see any institution that serves the American people without wanting to break it.

Posted by: fairfaxvoter | January 8, 2010 9:09 AM | Report abuse

Mo from the party of No.

Posted by: Fate1 | January 8, 2010 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Senator Bond's actions disappoint me and do a disservice to the country. If he had legitimate issues about someone's suitability, or questions about their past behavior that would be totally different, but to hold someone hostage over a policy decision that they would make if they were confirmed is just WRONG! What is the real issue? Does he want more marble in the lobby?

Posted by: cyberfool | January 8, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Dear Harry Reid,

You're fired.

Dear Harry Reid's replacement,

Eliminate holds.

Thank you,

America

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | January 8, 2010 10:45 AM | Report abuse

the republicans are doing all they can to endanger the citizens of this country with their despicable behavior since President Obama was elected. And they display the true contempt for the people and governance of this country they have thru their obstructionism, their lies and their encouragement of this country's enemies to attack.

amoral and malevolent -- that defines the current republican party and their minions.

Posted by: mycomment | January 8, 2010 11:08 AM | Report abuse

This article demonstrates what is wrong with our government bureaucracy. Something that the author seems to miss. German was nothing but a political appointee whose only goal was to enhance her marketability in private industry where she came from. In the 80s we called it the "revolving door". What needs to be done is total removal of these individuals from the government and let the professionals operate in a non-political environment.

Posted by: whistleblower1 | January 8, 2010 12:35 PM | Report abuse

You know, if MYCOMMENT just substituted Democrat for Republican and "the past several decades" for "since president Obama was elected", she would be spot on.

Posted by: Deano2009 | January 9, 2010 2:32 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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