Orszag: Sufficient numbers of procurement personnel a must


Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag told agency officials gathered for the first recovery plan implementation meeting today to make sure they have enough contracting and acquisition personnel to oversee stimulus spending.

In addition to following the reporting guidelines he laid out in 62 pages last week, Orszag said:

I would identify the need for sufficient numbers of acquisition and contract officers to oversee the money flowing through the system, to make sure that it is well spent.

Earl Devaney, who was named the chair of the Recovery Transparency and Accountability Board earlier this week, expressed similar sentiments:

Pre-9/11 we had about … $220 [b]illion worth of contracts per year governmentwide, and now we have over $500 billion. … During the same amount of time the procurement staffs have not risen in the departments; they’ve stayed the same.  So that will be a major challenge for all of the secretaries to address, to make sure that the staff is available to make this happen quickly and to monitor it once it goes out.

And Vice President Joe Biden, who President Barack Obama said last night will be his top oversight official for stimulus spending, said he wants Orszag to get weekly reports from each agency on what they’ve accomplished week-to-week.

Biden said:

I’m going to be a bit of a pain in the neck. I know you’ve got a thousand other things to do in your agencies, but … you’ve got to let me know what roadblocks you encounter … we’ve got to make sure that we hold as many people accountable, not in a draconian way, but to actually get this done.”


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