Bromwich, chief of new ocean energy management agency, outlines hard work ahead

Michael Bromwich was named chief of the new agency in June.
Michael Bromwich was named chief of the new agency in June. (AP)
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By Juliet Eilperin
Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What do you do when you've got a badly troubled agency in need of an overhaul?

You hire the high-priced consulting firm McKinsey & Co. to tell you how to fix it.

That's what Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement Director Michael Bromwich said during a conference call with reporters Tuesday afternoon -- although he emphasized that the decision to bring on McKinsey had been made before he became the bureau's first chief in June.

"The selection process predated my arrival," he said, adding that he didn't have "precise figures" for the cost of the McKinsey contract.

But the firm has been at work for weeks, traveling to survey BOEM employees in Santa Barbara, Calif., Anchorage, and Lafayette, La. Bromwich said the firm had assigned a "very senior and qualified team" to the task, which boasts "vast public and private reorganization experience."

"Their main objective is to learn about the organization in as quick a period of time as they can," he said, adding that the team will meet with him weekly and ultimately present "a large menu of recommendations, options for me to choose from, and decisions for me to make."

The McKinsey contract will cost taxpayers $4.4 million and was awarded through a competitive bidding process, according to an Interior Department official who asked not to be identified.

It is unclear when the McKinsey team will offer its final report: Bromwich told reporters that the reorganization of the agency formerly known as the Minerals Management Service could last through next year.

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