Seven things to know about OFPP nominee Dan Gordon

gordonHe’s been called a nebbish with a heart. Now Dan Gordon, GAO’s currently acting general counsel, has been nominated by President Obama to serve as Office of Federal Policy Procurement administrator. It’s been a little over a year since the office of OFPP has been without a permanent leader (Paul A. Denett resigned as administrator back in September 2008). So, who is Gordon, and what can we expect from him? Here’s some background:

Dan Gordon: Fast facts

1.) Gordon graduated from Harvard Law School in 1986, after receiving a bachelor’s from Brandeis University in 1972 and a master’s from Oxford University in 1974.

2.) After graduating from Harvard, Gordon served as clerk at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia. He was later hired as an associate at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson law firm where he worked from 1987 to 1992.

3.) In 1992, Gordon joined the GAO law division, which he led from 2000 to 2006. The law division addresses bid protests on government contracts.

4.) In 2006, Gordon was named deputy general counsel at GAO; in May, he was tapped as acting general counsel.

5.) Gordon recently called the role of bid protests in the procurement process a reasonable option over audits. He is also an advocate of the procurement reforms of the 1990s, including streamlining.

6.) Gordon is a member of the American Bar Association’s Section of Public Contract Law. He also teaches government contracting at George Washington University, where he serves as an adjunct professor.

7.) Gordon’s hobbies include reading French novels and studying Chinese.

What to expect

If confirmed by the Senate, Gordon has his work cut out for him. As Robert Brodsky pointed out in early August, the stature and relevance of OFPP has declined in recent years.

But Larry Allen, president of the Coalition for Government Procurement, views Gordon’s nomination as an encouraging sign. He tells ExecutiveBiz: “Dan Gordon is certainly a well-known person in the world of government procurement policy. He has a wealth of experience in this arena from his current position at GAO. He has worked with people in and out of government for many years and is known as a bright person who can definitely ‘bring it’ to whatever issue may be at hand.”

“His new position,” adds Allen, “will place him in a role that requires not just being smart, but being able to interact with all procurement stakeholders in new ways … It will be interesting to see how he changes from the role of commenter on other people’s operations to being an operations person himself.  Sometimes it’s a little different running the offense than being in the broadcast booth.  Conversely, the selection of a career person may be viewed by some in this arena as an indication that the Administration wants a person who can execute their play book, and not audible too much.  Overall, though, having a good, solid OFPP Administrator who already knows procurement is good for OMB and good for the procurement community.”

Gordon’s procurement policy positions

Gordon’s nomination comes, of course, at a time of calls by the Obama administration for contracting reforms. For a primer on Gordon’s procurement policy positions, check out pieces here and here.

What do you think of Gordon’s nomination as OFPP administrator? Share your comments here.

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