Lurita Doan

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Lurita Doan
Lurita Doan.jpg
18th Administrator of the
U.S. General Services Administration
In office
May 31, 2006 – April 29, 2008
President George W. Bush
Deputy David Bibb (2003-2008)
Preceded by Stephen A. Perry
Succeeded by James A. Williams (acting)
Personal details
Born (1958-01-04) January 4, 1958 (age 56)
New Orleans, Louisiana
Political party Republican
Alma mater Vassar College
University of Tennessee
Profession Radio Commentator
Religion Roman Catholic

Lurita Alexis Doan (born January 4, 1958), is noted Republican and formerly the Administrator of the United States General Services Administration from May 31, 2006, to April 29, 2008. She is African American and was the first woman to hold the position.[1][2]

She is now a conservative commentator on Federal News Radio 1500AM in Washington, DC, and the host of the weekly opinion editorial, Leadership Matters.

Early life[edit]

Doan was born the daughter of Lucien Victor Alexis, Jr., head of a New Orleans business school for black students. Her grandfather was Lucien Alexis, Sr., a prominent New Orleans businessman.[2] Doan attended Ursuline Academy, a Catholic school for girls in New Orleans.[1] She graduated from Ursuline in 1975. Doan graduated with honors in English from Vassar College in New York.[3] Doan received a master’s degree in Renaissance Literature in 1983 from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

Career[edit]

In 1984, Doan began teaching as an adjunct professor at colleges in Louisiana, Washington, D.C., and Northern Virginia. From 1986 she worked 4 years with Unisys as a technician deploying Unix systems.[4] Doan launched her company, New Technology Management Inc. in 1990. Minority-contractor certification helped her access government contracts. [3] In 1993, Doan secured a $250,000 Navy contract to install Unix on ships. By 2002, revenues had grown to $29 million.[5] In 2005, Doan sold her firm for an undisclosed sum to a group of investors and retired.[6]

On April 6, 2006, Doan was nominated by President George W. Bush to head the General Services Administration. She was confirmed by unanimous consent in the U.S. Senate on May 26 and was sworn in as the 18th administrator of GSA on May 31.[7][8][9] On April 29, 2008 Doan submitted her resignation in accordance with a request from the White House,[10] which did not disclose the reason for the request. The resignation followed a recommendation by the United States Office of Special Counsel to discipline Doan for violating the Hatch Act,[11] in addition to a period of internal GSA conflicts with the agency’s inspector general and a number of congressional and special counsel inquiries.[12]

In July 2008, Doan began her "Leadership Matters" commentaries on Federal News Radio in Washington, D.C., discussing government contracting, federal budget issues and government managerial practices.[13] She is also a regular contributor to The Arena at Politico.com and to Biggovernment.com, and has occasionally published opinion editorials in several major U.S. daily newspapers, such as USA Today and The Los Angeles Times. Doan has also appeared as a guest contributor on Fox News, CNN and other cable networks with commentary on fiscal discipline, government contracting practices, the federal budget and current affairs.

Doan is a member of the Belizean Grove, an invitation-only women's social club based in New York City.[14]

Politics[edit]

Between 1999 and 2006, Doan and her husband, Douglas, a former military intelligence officer and business liaison official at the Department of Homeland Security, donated nearly $226,000 to Republican campaigns and causes.[6]

Doan, a Republican Party member, was cited by Vice President Dick Cheney in a speech at the Small Business Administration in 2003.[15] She met with President George W. Bush, as the female owner of a small business, in 2004.[16] In 2004, she addressed the Republican National Convention.[17]

Community involvement[edit]

Doan has been involved in the business community through participation in many trade associations, membership in business organizations including the Young Entrepreneurs' Organization (now Entrepreneurs' Organization) and Young Presidents' Organization, and involvement on charitable community activities.[18] In addition, Doan provides support to the American Red Cross, National Women’s Business Center, D.C. Rape Crisis Center, United Negro College Fund, American Women’s Business Centers, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Whitman-Walker Clinic, and many others.[18] Doan has also served on a number of boards and committees including the Vassar College Board of Trustees, the Shakespeare Theatre of Washington, D.C. Board of Trustees, the Committee of 200, Council on Competitiveness, National Association of Women Business Owners, National Association of Female Executives, Women in Technology International, Minority Business Network, and the Northern Virginia Technology Council.[18]

Controversies[edit]

  • Within weeks of assuming her position as head of the GSA in 2006, Doan proposed a no-bid contract with public relations firm owner Edie Fraser for an analysis of how GSA could improve on its record of awarding business to minority and woman-owned businesses. Fraser is a woman with whom Doan and her prior company, New Technology Management, had an "extensive personal and business relationship." Doan did not have authority to award such a contract on a no-bid basis, and the proposal was called off. Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA), chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, later alleged that Doan "attempted to go forward with issuing a $20,000 no-bid contract to Fraser even after GSA General Counsel Alan Swendiman repeatedly advised that the contract be terminated due to its questionable legality."[19] Swendiman later transferred to work in the White House Office of Administration.
  • In 2007, the Washington Post reported on several controversies involving Doan. In one, Doan intervened in an effort to determine whether five major contractors should be suspended from doing business with the federal government for failing to turn over rebates on travel on government contracts. In another, Doan proposed to curb the agency's contract audits and to cut the inspector general's budget by $5 million. The inspector general had reported that the audits, which aim to ensure that the government is getting the best prices for goods and services, had saved taxpayers more than $1 billion over the previous two years, while Doan contended that the budget cuts were part of an attempt to rein in spending at the GSA.[6][20] In March 2007, a Congressional investigation by the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform produced findings critical of Doan.[21] Ranking Member Rep. Tom Davis (R-VA) published a separate set of findings defending her conduct.[22]

Witnesses have told congressional investigators that the chief of the General Services Administration and a deputy in Karl Rove's political affairs office at the White House joined in a videoconference earlier this year with top GSA political appointees, who discussed ways to help Republican candidates. With GSA Administrator Lurita Alexis Doan and up to 40 regional administrators on hand, J. Scott Jennings, the White House's deputy director of political affairs, gave a PowerPoint presentation on Jan. 26 [2007] of polling data about the 2006 elections. Investigators state that the Hatch Act may have been broken when the question "How can we help our candidates?" was allegedly asked by Lurita Doan, according a few unidentified witnesses at the meeting. The Hatch Act states that federal resources may not be used for partisan politics. The Office of Special Counsel investigated Hatch Act questions at GSA.

Once again, Doan appeared in front of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on June 13, 2007, whereupon Chairman Waxman suggested she resign.[23] In a House Oversight Committee staff report, Congressman Tom Davis, cited evidence that the General Counsel Alan Swendiman only "sent a memo to Chief of Staff John Phelps stating that Diversity Best Practices should be notified in writing of the termination of the “service order,” and that Swendiman and Doan never spoke on this matter.[22]
  • Doan also faced accusations of interfering with the extension of a contract involving Sun Microsystems. Sun Microsystems announced the end of its long-standing contract with the federal government in mid-September 2007. However, the week before Sun announced its decision, Doan alerted Congress to factors that may provide disincentives for companies to do work with the federal government. Doan expressed her concerns in a Sept. 7, 2007, letter to Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) about the credibility of the GSA Inspector General's office and how that credibility gap can adversely affect relations with vendors, stating:

"Over the past several months, I have heard complaints questioning the ability of the GSA's IG to conduct independent reviews in an unbiased manner. Contributing to this perception has been a troubling inability within the office of the IG to safeguard testimony and hold in strict confidence information provided. Companies involved in audits, as well as whistleblowers across the agency, must have the confidence that the IG will safeguard information provided. Sadly, there have been several instances where confidential information provided to the GSA IG was immediately leaked to media outlets, and I am concerned that these occurrences have fostered the impression that the IG's credibility is compromised."[24]

Sun announced its decision to stop selling directly through the GSA.

On April 29, 2008, facing a recommendation by the United States Office of Special Counsel that Doan be "disciplined to the fullest extent" for "the most pernicious of political activity" prohibited by the Hatch Act[11] and an ongoing congressional investigation,[25] Doan submitted her resignation in accordance with a request from the White House.[10] Doan stated that "It has been a great privilege to serve our nation and a great President."[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Lurita Alexis Doan - Administrator". 
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ "e-Women Network International Conference and Business Expo 2005 Conference Speakers". 
  4. ^ "Doan Heads GSA". 
  5. ^ George Gendron (February 2002). "FYI: The Million-Dollar Post-it Note". Inc.com. 
  6. ^ a b c Scott Higham; Robert O'Harrow Jr. (January 19, 2007). "GSA Chief Scrutinized For Deal With Friend". Washington Post. p. A01. 
  7. ^ "Lurita Doan Assumes Role as GSA Administrator". May 31, 2006. 
  8. ^ "Senate confirms FEMA, GSA chiefs". May 26, 2006. 
  9. ^ "Lurita Doan Takes Oath of Office". 
  10. ^ a b Stout, David (2008-04-30). "Federal Contracting Chief Is Forced Out". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  11. ^ a b "Report: Contracting head illegally political". USA Today. June 12, 2007. Retrieved May 11, 2010. 
  12. ^ Cable, Josh (2008-05-01). "White House Mum on Doan Resignation". GovPro.com. Retrieved 2008-08-11. 
  13. ^ Lurita Doan - Leadership Matters http://www.federalnewsradio.com/?nid=103&sid=1552767
  14. ^ Vogel, Kenneth P. (2009-06-04). "Sonia Sotomayor found friends in elite group". The Politico. Retrieved 2009-06-05. 
  15. ^ "Remarks by the Vice President at the Celebrating Women in Business Breakfast, The Washington Hilton Hotel, Washington, D.C., September 18, 2003". 
  16. ^ "President Speaks with Women Small Business Owners on the Economy, U.S. Department of Commerce, Washington, D.C., January 9, 2004". 
  17. ^ "2004 Republican National Convention". 
  18. ^ a b c Lurita Doan Assumes Role as GSA Administrator http://www.gsa.gov/Portal/gsa/ep/contentView.do?contentId=21103&contentType=GSA_BASIC&noc=T
  19. ^ Daniel Pulliam (March 6, 2007). "House panel raises new allegations against GSA chief". GovExec. 
  20. ^ Scott Higham; Robert O'Harrow Jr. (March 26, 2007). "GSA Chief Is Accused of Playing Politics: Doan Denies 'Improper' Use of Agency for GOP". Washington Post. p. A01. 
  21. ^ http://oversight.house.gov/documents/20070327105037-20322.pdf
  22. ^ a b c Tom Davis, Ranking Member (March 28, 2007). "Allegations of Misconduct at the General Services Administration: A Closer Look". Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. 
  23. ^ "Under Waxman's Surveillance". The Washington Post. October 24, 2007. Retrieved May 11, 2010. 
  24. ^ Lurita Doan (September 7, 2007). "Response from Administrator Doan to Senator Grassley". General Services Administrator. 
  25. ^ Weisman, Jonathan (October 25, 2007). "White House Feels Waxman's Oversight Gaze". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 11, 2010. 
  26. ^ Harrow, Robert (2008-05-01). "Doan Ends Her Stormy Tenure as GSA Chief". washingtonpost.com. Retrieved 2008-05-01. 
Political offices
Preceded by
David Bibb
Acting
Administrator of General Services
Served under: George W. Bush

2006–2008
Succeeded by
David Bibb
Acting

External links[edit]