Procurement czar Kelman to step down

Kelman, administrator of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, will leave
government in mid-September to resume teaching at Harvard University's Kennedy School of
Government.


But Kelman said before he returns to Cambridge, he will close out several procurement
reform initiatives, including final changes to Federal Acquisition Regulation Part 15 and
the General Services Administration's revamped Multiple-Award Schedule policy.


"I'd like to set the stage for finishing much of what we started," Kelman
said. "We're not quite there yet. At some point in the future the new ways of doing
business will become the norm. But we still need more momentum and diligence."


Kelman joined OFPP in late 1993 and led the White House's procurement reform charge. He
forged the administration's coalition with congressional leaders and industry groups to
enact the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act, the Federal Acquisition Reform Act and
numerous FAR changes.


OMB officials said it was too early to say who might succeed Kelman or assume his
duties as acting administrator.


Kelman said he views the streamlined source selection process, the expanded use of oral
presentations, the wholesale MAS program changes and the elimination of the General
Services Board of Contract Appeals' ADP protest jurisdiction as the most significant
procurement reforms. But the key to all of these changes was the willingness of agency
contracting officers to follow the National Performance Review's government reinvention
plan, he said.


"I would have been very hesitant to take the job if the NPR was not coming down
the pike because it would have been very difficult to get anything going," Kelman
said. "The amount of substantive change has exceeded my expectations."


He also credits those on front line of procurement with a willingness to change. At the
time of his confirmation, he said, many voiced unhappiness with the status quo and
supported change in the system.


Kelman said he plans to stay in touch with his friends in the federal procurement
community. But several industry leaders said the government will miss his enthusiasm and
friendly style.


"He's been a major force in procurement reform. He came into government with a
vision and he's done a good job in making it a reality," said Olga Grkavac, vice
president of the Information Technology Association of America for systems integration.


"Everyone would agree that he's been a tireless advocate and has been very willing
to meet with industry. He's been very accessible, and even if you disagreed, he was always
willing to listen," she said.


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