A veteran information technology analyst and former Government Accountability Office official has been appointed to lead the General Services Administration office in charge of interacting with the American public, the agency announced on Tuesday.
David McClure will take over as associate administrator of GSA's Office of Citizen Services and Communications on Aug. 24. The office manages the portal to federal Web resources, USA.gov, and its Spanish-language counterpart GobiernoUSA.gov, in addition to several other Web sites, hot lines, call centers and publications. It also has taken the lead on negotiating with social media providers to craft terms of service that comply with federal regulations.
"This is an unprecedented opportunity to fulfill President Obama's goal of a more citizen-centered government that is transparent, participatory and collaborative," McClure said. "I look forward to continuing and expanding GSA's important work in leveraging new technologies to bring government to the American people."
McClure currently is managing vice president of government research at the Stamford, Conn., consulting and market analysis firm Gartner Inc. Prior to joining Gartner in January 2005, McClure was vice president for e-government and technology at the Council for Excellence in Government, a good government group that closed in February. He also spent 18 years as director of information technology management issues at the Government Accountability Office. McClure received bachelor's and master's degrees in political science from the University of Texas and a doctorate in public policy from the University of North Texas.
"It's a wonderful appointment," said Alan Balutis, director and distinguished fellow in the Internet Business Solutions Group at Cisco. "He's got a great background from his time in government at GAO, which is one of the few places other than [the Office of Management and Budget] which gives you a perspective across government."
At GAO McClure conducted wide-ranging reviews of major systems development and IT management capabilities at almost all of the major federal agencies. He was an ex-officio member of the Federal Chief Information Officers Council from its inception in 1996 until 2001, and helped create a "CIO Boot Camp" for new political appointees.
McClure will lead an office at the forefront of the Obama administration's push for increased transparency and engagement with the public. In addition to encouraging agencies to use social media applications, the office runs GovGab, a blog intended to make government information more accessible to the public. The office also took the lead on another Obama initiative when it announced it would switch to a cloud computing arrangement for USA.gov. Martha Dorris, deputy associate administrator of the Office of Citizen Services, said such an approach -- in which agencies pay vendors to operate and maintain underlying hardware -- can reduce the costs of operating Web sites by as much as 90 percent.
Balutis said the Office of Citizen Services has been "first-rate for a number of years" and called Dorris "a very creative and imaginative executive" who should be able to provide strong support for McClure. Together, he predicted they would be able to re-focus the government's citizen-facing services to better respond to the public's needs.
"What I think we've lacked is a beginning focus on the customer, the citizen," said Balutis, noting countries such as Canada and the United Kingdom have prioritized online services valued by the public. "David, who I know brings a global perspective from his time at Gartner, can help bring best practices from overseas."