GSA’S NEW ACTING ADMINISTRATOR NEEDS TO ONLY UNDERSTAND ONE THING: INDUSTRY IS NOT THE ENEMY
Denise Turner Roth assumed the job of Acting Administrator of the General Services Administration last week, despite having been at the agency for less than a year as Deputy. It is possible that Roth will remain in her acting capacity for the remainder of the Administration which will end in January of 2017. While her relative lack of agency experience could be an issue, Roth has plenty of people around who know what GSA can be at its very best. They can help her achieve great things. Many of those people are from industry and are just as interested in the agency’s true success as any employee. Unfortunately, some inside 18th&F believe that industry is the enemy and acts only in its self-interest. Lost in even that inaccurate perception, though, is that GSA shares the same self-interest with its contractors: to serve federal customers well. Roth could go a long way toward improving her agency’s performance by re-adopting the position taken by past GSA leadership that contractors are partners. OMB’s Anne Rung seems to understand this as well, having made industry outreach and availability a key part of her approach to major initiatives like category management. A successful GSA does not have, at its core, an “us. vs. them” mentality when it comes to working with industry. No matter what experience Roth brings to the job, putting the kibosh on that view inside her agency would be an important step forward.