Will senators pay attention to OFPP nominee?

The central question facing Joe Jordan’s nomination as administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy is whether senators will take enough time to consider the nomination.

Several experts say it’s too late in an election year — one that could see the end of the current administration — for the Senate to pour so much time and effort into a procurement policy-maker. The confirmation process is lengthy and requires a lot of work for senators and their staff. On top of that, the Senate is the slow, deliberate chamber in Congress, sometimes waiting months before deciding whether or not to confirm a nominee.

“It’s February. The election is in November. I don’t know that the Senate would move so quickly to approve an appointee at this level for [a term of] what, 10 months maybe?” said Larry Allen, president of the Allen Federal Business Partners.

Two former OFPP officials agreed. Al Burman, former OFPP administrator during the George H. W. Bush administration and early into the Bill Clinton administration, and Robert Burton, who was acting OFPP administrator several times as nominees waited for the Senate, said it’s likely too near the election to get the Senate’s attention.

Burton said the senators are turning their attention to November’s election.

On twitter, SPMayor, a procurement insider, said senators wouldn’t move “unless it garners them election-worthy media time.”

Jordan would go before the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee for his confirmation.

The White House announced Jordan’s nomination to be OFPP administrator Feb. 2, nearly two months after he arrived at the Office of Management and Budget. Jordan has been a special assistant to Jeffery Zients, who is currently acting OMB director. Jordan sat in on the last weeks that Dan Gordon was OFPP administrator. Gordon became dean of government procurement law studies at George Washington University Jan. 1.

“Having worked closely with former Administrator Dan Gordon and Acting Administrator Lesley Field, Joe has a keen understanding of the terrain,” Zients wrote on the OMBlog Feb. 3.

Zients also wrote that Jordan would bring both public and private sector management experience to the job.

Jordan came to OMB after spending two years as the Small Business Administration’s associate administrator of government contracting and business development. Before that, he was an engagement manager with McKinsey and Co., a global management consulting firm. He specialized developing purchasing and supply management strategies for clients across several industries.

In 2000, he worked at Backwire, a web-based publisher-marketer. From 1998 to 2000, Jordan also worked as an associate producer on MSNBC’s Hardball with Chris Matthews.

About the Author: Matthew Weigelt is a senior writer covering acquisition and procurement for Federal Computer Week. Published Feb. 6, 2012 at http://washingtontechnology.com/articles/2012/02/06/joe-jordan-senate-confirmation-question.aspx?s=wtdaily_070212.