As the end of the administration’s first year approaches, only some steps have been taken toward filling positions of primary importance to the federal workforce.
The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is set to approve this week nominees to fill all three of the seats on the FLRA. Two would be new members–James Thomas Abbot, currently the agency’s chief counsel, and Colleen Kiko, a former official there who is currently a judge of the Employees’ Compensation Appeals Board in the Department of Labor–while current member Ernest DuBester has been nominated to serve another term.
The committee earlier approved the nomination Emily Murphy to head the GSA; she is currently a senior adviser there who previously was its chief acquisition officer and who has acquisition-related experience on Capitol Hill and in the private sector.
However, a previously scheduled vote in the committee has been delayed in the nominations of Jeff Pon to become OPM director and Michael Rigas to become deputy director. Pon is a former official there who has held numerous other HR leadership positions elsewhere inside and outside government, while Rigas is currently with the Massachusetts state government and formerly was an official with the conservative Heritage Foundation and the GSA.
OPM has lacked a confirmed director for more than two years and a confirmed deputy for more than six. The holdup continues to be what some Republicans view as OPM’s lack of responsiveness to repeated queries regarding its interpretation of the Affordable Care Act’s impact on members of Congress and certain staff members.
Also, the MSPB has had only one member since early this year, leaving it unable to decide on appeals of decisions by its hearing officers. No nomination has been made for either of the vacancies.