Managing a 'river of consumption'

(Mark Abramson/the Washington Post)
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By Ed O'Keefe
Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Martha N. Johnson is the new head of the General Services Administration, which serves as the government's primary landlord and buyer. Johnson was interviewed Thursday, moments after the Senate approved her confirmation.

Q It's been almost two years since the General Services Administration had a permanent administrator. How are you going to stabilize the ship?

I'm going to be trying to draw a direct connection for the people of GSA to how we're serving the public. We're sitting on this river of consumption by the government, and how we control that is going to be very important going forward.

Since GSA has long left behind its legacy as a mandated procurement source, we must earn procurement business. Our job is to provide solutions to federal agencies so they can meet their missions while being transparent and cost-effective. Those are the standards expected by the taxpayer.

You waited eight months for a Senate confirmation vote. What's the secret to surviving the nomination process?

The nomination process was fascinating. You have to be curious and you have to be learner. I was learning a lot, I was meeting a lot of people. I also had time to spend [in her role as a vice president at the McLean-based Computer Sciences Corp.] on getting involved in projects with technology and the collaborative process that I'm going to be taking into this job.

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