DorobekINSIDER: BREAKING: GSA names Michael Robertson as chief of staff

Just in — GSA Administrator Martha Johnson today named Michael Robertson to be GSA’s chief of staff.

GSA's Michael Robertson

GSA's Michael Robertson

That post was vacated earlier this year when Danielle Germain stepped down. The chief of staff is a critical post in the GSA leadership team. In fact, GSA Administrator Martha Johnson served as the chief of staff for then GSA Administrator David Barram, so it is a post with which she has intimate knowledge.

He will take over on May 3, 2010.


The statement from Johnson:

“Under the Obama Administration, GSA is uniquely positioned to leverage our governmentwide scope, expertise, and buying power to deliver solutions for the White House and federal agencies on sustainability, open government, recovery, and acquisition workforce,” said GSA Administrator Martha N. Johnson. “I am thrilled that the White House has appointed Michael Robertson as GSA’s next Chief of Staff. I’ve worked closely with Michael for over a year and can think of no better person to advise and serve as a driving force on these initiatives. His talent and commitment to GSA will assure our strong focus on our customers, align us with the President’s priorities, and ensure that we find creative and collaborative ways to continue to be a leader across government.”

And the statement from Robertson:

“In my time here I’ve learned that the people of GSA are some of the most committed public servants across government,” said GSA Chief of Staff Michael J. Robertson. “I am honored to serve in the Obama administration as GSA Chief of Staff. We have an amazing opportunity to grow GSA and better position ourselves to serve our customer agencies and deliver on the President’s priorities of improving government efficiency and operations through sustainability, open government, citizen engagement, innovation, and responsible acquisitions.”

Robertson already wears a number of hats within GSA — he serves as the White House liaison, the associate administrator of GSA’s Office of Governmentwide Policy, and the agency’s chief acquisition officer. It seems unlikely that he would be able to continue holding all those posts, but we were not immediately able to confirm those details.

UPDATE: GSA confirms that Robertson will not continue in the posts at the Office of Governmentwide Policy or the Chief Acquisition Officer. Johnson is working with the White House on candidates for those posts.

Johnson is looking how to build GSA’s next generation acquisition team given some key vacancies. Jim Williams retired as the commission of GSA’s Federal Acquisition Service last month… and David Drabkin retired from his post as deputy chief acquisition officer. Johnson is known to consider these vacancies an opportunity to build a 2.0 version of GSA’s acquisition organization and has been carefully considering a number of options.

Robertson worked on the staff of then Sen. Barack Obama, worked on the Obama presidential campaign, and joined GSA soon after the transition.

Federal News Radio 1500 AM’s Daily Debrief with Chris Dorobek and Amy Morris had the first interview with Robertson when he started at GSA. Read more here.

* Federal News Radio: GSA’s Robertson ready to take on challenges [September 8, 2009]

* Federal News Radio: GSA reorganizes to better green the government [February 22, 2010]

Dorobek Insider: GSA names a OGP-CAO leader – and then merges the organizations

* DorobekInsider: Robertson to be named to head GSA’s OGP and CAO [August 10, 2009]

* Federal News Radio: Data propels GSA’s plans for the acquisition workforce [April 13, 2010]

Robertson’s current bio from GSA:

Michael J. Robertson – Chief of Staff

Michael J. Robertson has been appointed by the White House as Chief of Staff for the U.S. General Services Administration effective May 3, 2010.

In this role, he will serve as an advisor to the Administrator with particular emphasis on furthering the Obama Administration’s agenda at GSA. He will work with client agencies and the White House to ensure that GSA finds creative and collaborative ways to be a leader in sustainability, open government, recovery, and responsible acquisitions.

Since August 2009, Michael served as Associate Administrator of Governmentwide Policy and Chief Acquisition Officer for GSA. As head of the Office of Governmentwide Policy, Robertson worked to develop and evaluate policies for management of the federal government’s internal operations. In addition, as Chief Acquisition Officer, he has been responsible for developing and reviewing acquisition policies, procedures, and related training for GSA and federal acquisition professionals. He also served as the functional manager of GSA’s acquisition workforce.

Michael began his service with GSA in early 2009 when he was appointed as White House Liaison.

Before coming to GSA, Robertson served as the deputy working group lead for the Energy and Environment Agency Review Team on the Obama-Biden Transition Project. Immediately prior to that, he served the Obama for America presidential campaign as the primary point person for securing endorsements and superdelegate support from House and Senate members.

In early 2007, Robertson served as then-Senator Barack Obama’s Legislative Coordinator and deputy to the Chief Counsel where he managed the appropriations process, worked on judicial nominations, and conducted political outreach to promote Obama’s legislative priorities. In 2004, he worked in Chicago on Obama’s Senate campaign. Before entering the political field, Robertson worked in venture capital in San Francisco.

A native of Fresno, California, Robertson graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of California at Berkeley and earned his Juris Doctor from Golden Gate University School of Law. He is currently pursuing a Masters of Law from Georgetown University’s Law Center in Washington, DC.