Canton Repository

May 26, 2001

Senators confirm Perry 


WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate has confirmed Stephen A. Perry, a longtime steel executive from Canton, to be administrator of the General Services Administration.

“I’m quite excited about joining the GSA team, looking forward to this period,” he said in a phone interview from South Carolina on Friday.

“Since the president made the nomination, I’ve been trying to learn as much as I can in terms of the challenges at GSA and I’ve met some of the people and I’m quite excited about joining the team,” he said.

Perry, 55, will be sworn in Thursday and begins work at the 14,000-employee agency Friday. A formal ceremony is planned for June.

As the government’s landlord, the General Services Administration provides federal agencies and organizations with buildings, supplies, maintenance and services. It has a $16-billion-a-year budget.

President Bush released a statement saying that Perry will help him meet his goal of putting people with “strong general management and leadership skills in senior management positions of federal agencies in order to significantly improve government services for all Americans.”

Bush added that Perry has a “proven record of success and extensive experience in the general management of large, complex organizations.”

The Senate confirmed Perry by a voice vote Thursday night, following his unanimous approval by the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee on Wednesday. 

The former vice president from the Canton-based Timken Co., a maker of steel bearings, is the highest-ranking Ohioan to serve in the Bush
administration so far.

Perry was unsure what his pay would be.

“I haven’t even had that discussion,” he said. The job pays in a range of $115,000 to $160,000, less than he made at Timken.

Perry has been preparing for his job for the last several weeks. He’s met with officials from the General Services Administration, lawmakers and White House officials, including Mitch Daniels, President Bush’s chief budget officer.

Asked what kind of hours he will be working, Perry wasn’t sure. He said, “It’s going to be pretty intense. That’s what I would anticipate, but that’s also what I’m used to.”

When he starts next week, he said, “We’ve got a series of meetings that are being set up for me to meet with staff in each of the areas to talk about projects and activities under way.”

Among Perry’s goals is to achieve and sustain a high level of performance at the agency and to make continuous improvement, he said.

He formerly worked for Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, when Voinovich was governor in the early 1990s. Perry was director of the Ohio Department of Administrative Services.

He and his wife, Sondra, bought a house in the Washington suburb of Potomac, Md.