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GSA’s New Chief Acquisition Officer Has Work Cut Out For Her

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Mindy Connolly, the General Services Administration’s new chief acquisition officer, is on the same page with many other Obama administration officials when it comes to improving communications between federal contracting officials and the private sector.

For example, in an interview with Washington Business Journal, the agency’s new CAO said there are barriers to communication “on both sides of the desk,” and both “still have a lot to learn about how we need to communicate.”

Her comments echo those of  Office of Federal procurement Policy Administrator Dan Gordon ,who has headed a myth-busting campaign to curtail some of the misconceptions about communicating about contracts.

Now, in an interview with Government Executive, Connolly describes some of the ways to the government and industry on the same page.

“If we want to have a government that is leaner and more transparent and ready for the 21st century, anything we can do to reduce that burden on industry is really to our advantage,” she said.

It’s clear — Connolly has her work cut out for her. Per administration mandates, federal contracting agencies have until June 30 to have vendor communication plans in place.

But she has a special perspective that will likely aid her in attempts to get contractors and the government on the same page.

A long career in the federal government, with agencies such as NASA, the Customs and Border Patrol and the Treasury Department, was preceded by private-sector positions, including as a contracting officer for Honeywell, Gov Exec reported.

“Because of my experience both in government acquisition and in industry acquisition as the government customer, my interest is that it works better,” she said. “It works pretty well, but there are opportunities for it to work better through communications and doing a little different planning in our rule making.”

Before taking over as GSA’s acquisition chief Feb. 28, Connolly served as a procurement policy analyst for OFPP, where she worked on implementing the administration’s sustainable-building initiatives.

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