Leadership of Key Agencies Shaping Up

The White House has nominated as deputy OPM director Michael Rigas, currently the chief of staff at the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services, and formerly an official with the conservative Heritage Foundation and a political appointee working on contracting matters at GSA during the Bush administration.

OPM has not had a deputy director since 2011 and has had only acting directors since mid-2015. George Nesterczuk, who has been involved with federal personnel matters in a number of roles over many years under Republicans, was nominated in late May to become director but so far hasn’t had a confirmation hearing.

Also, the White House has nominated FLRA member Patrick Pizzella to become deputy secretary of Labor. Pizella is the acting chair of the three-member board that oversees labor-management relations within the government. His departure would leave that agency with just one member and unable to make decisions unless at least one other is nominated. The MSPB has been in that situation since early in the year, with no nominations made yet.

Meanwhile, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is set to vote on the nomination of Henry Kerner to take over the Office of Special Counsel, the agency that enforces Hatch Act political activity restrictions on federal employees and that investigates allegations of prohibited personnel practices, including retaliation for whistleblowing. Kerner is a former career prosecutor who was an investigative who served investigative roles for several Republicans on Capitol Hill and most recently was a vice president of the Cause of Action advocacy group.