Organizations including the NFFE union, the Senior Executives Association and the Professional Managers Association have joined in a call to fill some of the many vacancies among senior positions, saying “the nation needs highly-effective federal agencies especially at this time of crisis.”
In a letter to Senate leaders also joined by a number of advocacy groups, says there is a “worsening, widespread vacancy issue across the federal government where key offices are without Senate confirmed leadership, sometimes for years on end, to the detriment of the agencies’ functioning.” It asked those leaders to press the administration to nominate highly qualified candidates and then move quickly to consider them.
For example, it said, “Two agencies vital to general government functioning, the Office of Personnel Management and Office of Management and Budget, have new leaders who are but the latest in a long confusing line of “actings” heading both of those offices.” OPM—which has had a confirmed director for only about 12 months total over the last five years—currently is being led by an acting director who also has taken on the role of acting OMB deputy director for management.
Other key vacancies of importance to the government’s internal operations include all three seats on the MSPB governing board, which hears appeals from decisions of hearing officers on disciplinary matters and other personnel cases, and the general counsel’s position at the FLRA, which is central to that agency’s ability to process labor-management disputes.
The letter also pointed to high level positions being filled on only an acting basis, some of them with Coronavirus-related responsibilities, in agencies including DHS, HHS, DoD, State, Interior, OSHA and AID, as well as in the IG community.