The White House has nominated HUD official John Gibbs to be OPM director, adding him to the list of nominees for key federal personnel positions pending before the Senate.
Unlike the administration’s prior nominees for the OPM position who had lengthy experience with federal workforce matters, Gibbs’ background at HUD involves community planning and development; prior to that he worked for several technology companies.
Prospects for the nomination in the short run are uncertain, given that the Senate plans to work for only about two more weeks before recessing through Labor Day, and then only another three or four before recessing through the elections.
Other nominees already on the Senate plate include those for all three seats on the MSPB board—which has been unable to issue decisions since the start of the administration—for the general counsel of FLRA—a key position in labor-management relations—and for three of the five seats on the TSP governing board, which currently is operating with only four members and an acting chairman. The MSPB and FLRA nominees have cleared the committee level but floor votes on them reportedly are being held up by one or more Democrats.
There have been two confirmed OPM directors under President Trump, both of whom served only about six months before resigning, in both cases reportedly due to clashes with higher level officials. OPM otherwise has been led only on an acting basis for the last five years, with deputy director Michael Rigas currently filling the role.