Fedweek

Now more than two full months in office, the Trump White House still has not nominated anyone to head OPM. President Obama had nominated his first OPM director by this point in 2009, although President Bush didn’t nominate his first until late April 2001. OPM is continuing to carry out its regular administrative functions and also faces policy decisions of the sort that normally would be the responsibility of a confirmed director. These include overseeing the ongoing general federal hiring freeze; preparing a joint OPM-OMB plan due in a month on a long-term plan to reduce the federal workforce; analyzing the potential need for RIFs under budget plans announced so far along with the potential use of furloughs, early retirement and buyout incentives; and assessing the impact of the numerous potential changes to employee benefits and disciplinary rights that are under discussion, among others. Also, two of the three positions on the MSPB governing board are vacant and there has been no nominee for either position. For the meantime, MSPB hearing officers are continuing to rule on challenges to disciplinary actions and other agency decisions that can be challenged there, but anyone wishing to appeal that decision either must wait or pursue what typically are more costly and lengthier appeals into federal court. With one more confirmed member, the board could start hearing appeals again, although if they were to disagree, the case would have to be set aside pending a third member to serve as a tiebreaker. Without at least two members the board further cannot put out research reports on federal employment issues.