For the second straight time, a native of Missouri is on tap to lead the General Services Administration.
President Joe Biden plans to nominate Robin Carnahan, a former Secretary of State of Missouri, to lead the government’s landlord and buying agency.
Should the Senate confirm her, Carnahan would replace Emily Murphy, another native Missourian, who was one of the longest serving administrators in the agency’s history.
“I’ve spent my career working to improve the delivery of government services to the public. GSA plays a critical role in the government’s ability to effectively deliver services, and I am honored to be nominated by the President to lead this important agency at this important moment,” Carnahan wrote in a tweet.
This would be Carnahan’s second stint at GSA. From 2016 to 2020, she founded and led 18F’s state and local government consulting practice. In February 2016, GSA create the new unit to assist agencies that provide grants to state and local programs According to GSA, it decided to expand its services after a pilot project with the State of California through the Department of Health and Human Services.
She would come to GSA after spending the last year as a fellow at Georgetown University’s Beeck Center where she co-founded the State Software Collaborative.
Carnahan holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from William Jewell College and a J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.
In planning to nominate Carnahan, the White House continues to bring back experienced government leaders and former 18F executives.
The administration in January appointed former GSA CIO Sonny Hashmi to lead the Federal Acquisition Service, Katy Kale, the former chief of staff during the Obama administration, to be the deputy administrator, and David Zvenyach, who was the executive director of 18F during the Obama administration, to be director of the Technology Transformation Service and deputy commissioner of FAS.
“Robin has unique and rich experience operating at all levels of government and in different types of roles. She has strong roots at the state level. With Robin, you get a proven leader who understands the critical role of technology in the 21st century,” said Chris Cairns, founder and CEO of Skylight, a digital technology consulting company and the co-founder of 18F, in an email to Federal News Network. “I think hiring her is also a sign of a broader strategy at play to extend the scope of GSA’s technology services to state and local governments. Vice President Kamala Harris has pushed for bills in the past to funnel funding to state local for digital services modernization. Login.gov was just opened up to state and local from a legal standpoint. That’s just the beginning. Robin’s work post-18F focused on improving technology at a state and local level.”
Carnahan would take over a GSA that is in the middle of several large projects, including a major transformation at FAS and the consolidation of federal office between the pandemic and the fact that 60% of its leases are set to expire between 2019 and 2023.
The agency expected about a third of Washington, D.C. leases to expire between 2019 and 2020. The National Capital Region is part of GSA Region 11, which has the most rentable square footage nationwide. GSA says it has reduced its leased footprint by 10.4 million square feet since October 2014, saving more than $4 billion.
She also would inherit a GSA that receives high marks from its customers. GSA says its fiscal 2020 customer loyalty scores are the highest they’ve ever been, a 7.9 out of 10.
GSA’s budget for fiscal 2021 was a total of $39.4 billion, with most of that coming from payments from agencies for leases, fleet and procurement services.