Lee says she'll continue on reform path

OFPP’s Deidre A.
Lee says she has been studying the best way of keeping reform on track.



Deidre A. Lee has not finished decorating her new office in the Old Executive Office
Building, but she has been busy setting priorities for the Office of Federal Procurement
Policy.


Lee, confirmed by the Senate July 30 as the next OFPP administrator, said she has been
too busy tackling her new responsibilities to hang pictures.


“I’ve got a full plate,” Lee said. She added that she has been studying
procurement reform and trying to figure out the best approach to keeping reform on track.


Improving federal procurement processes is seen by administration officials as a key
ingredient in the reinventing government effort, she said.


Lee said she will continue implementing the procurement reforms started by her
predecessor, Steven Kelman.


He left his OFPP post last year to return to his teaching job at Harvard
University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.


Part of Lee’s task is to bring procurement reform to frontline government
contracting officers, many of whom have just begun efforts to change their procurement
processes, she said.


Lee spelled out a five-pronged attack:


“We have to do some sanity checks: How are we doing? What are we doing? Are we
making progress?” she said.


Additionally, lawmakers, industry representatives and government buyers need to get
involved in changing the way government does business, Lee said.


“Government can do everything in the world, but we don’t do this alone,”
she said.


Lee also wants to change the way the government reviews vendor performance.


When an agency evaluates a company’s ability to fulfill a contract, it needs to do
more than fill out a form and mail it to the vendor, she said.


Performance reviews ought to include frank, face-to-face discussions with vendors, she
said.


A career government employee, Lee has worked in procurement jobs at the Defense
Department and in civilian agencies. Most recently, she was NASA’s associate
administrator for procurement.


Lee said she enjoys trying to improve the way government handles its procurement
tasks. “I think it’s fun and challenging,” she said.   


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