OPM's King Gets Long Recess


Sen. Fred Thompson, R-Tenn., accused the Clinton Administration of using a technicality to extend the appointment of James King as director of the Office of Personnel Management, bypassing the Senate confirmation process.

The president extended King's appointment through the end of this congressional session by using a "recess appointment," which is generally used when the Senate fails to act on a nomination. In a statement released yesterday, Thompson, who heads the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, which oversees OPM, characterized the move as a "deliberate action by this White House to avoid the Senate's constitutional role."

Clinton sent King's renomination to the Senate on March 6, a month before King's four-year term as OPM director was set to run out. Unlike many high-level Administration officials, the OPM director is appointed for a four-year term. Thompson said in his statement that his committee had been moving King's nomination forward, but the two-week spring recess delayed the process. Paul Clark, a Thompson spokesman, said the administration should not have "waited until the last minute" to send King's nomination to Capitol Hill.

"The administration basically said, 'We're not going to give you time,'" Clark said.

OPM spokeswoman Rosalie Cameron said yesterday that if the president hadn't made the recess appointment, OPM would have been left with no director or deputy director. The latter slot has been vacant since January.

"With no deputy director in place, the administration was properly concerned about the continuity of leadership on the essential functions and activities of OPM," Cameron said. "The recess appointment was not intended to supplant the authority of the committee, or in any way to avoid the scrutiny and consent of the Senate."

Clark said the administration could have waited a few days for the Senate to complete King's confirmation.

The Governmental Affairs Committee will wait until King's recess appointment runs out after this session to consider his official confirmation.

"Next year the committee will determine whether to move ahead with Mr. King's confirmation to the term appointment. I hope he has a good year," Thompson said.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
Close [ x ] More from GovExec

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care


When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.