President Trump’s nominee to lead the Office of Personnel Management on Tuesday withdrew his name from consideration for the post, a source confirmed.
In a letter to Trump obtained by Government Executive, OPM Director nominee George Nesterczuk thanked the president for his consideration, but said he would no longer pursue the position. Since his nomination in May, Nesterczuk has not received a hearing before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, and he has seen strident opposition from federal employee unions. OPM referred questions to the White House, which did not comment on the matter.
“I have decided to withdraw because the prospect of my favorable confirmation has grown remote,” Nesterczuk wrote. “Recent partisan attacks threaten to delay further the consideration of my nomination. These attacks are intended to prevent me, or anyone, from carrying out government reforms that the American people and you, Mr. President, are rightly demanding.”
A group of more than a dozen unions representing federal employees penned a letter last week to the leaders of a Senate panel urging them to reject Nesterczuk’s nomination.
They cited his role in the creation of the National Security Personnel System, a performance-based pay model at the Defense Department that failed after a legal battle. And they questioned his past work as an advisor for the Ukrainian government on public administration issues, which appears to have occurred under Russian backed former President Victor Yanukovych, and whether he has ties to former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort, who is currently under federal investigation.
Although Nesterczuk does not specifically mention the allegations, he alludes to the “distraction” they would cause if his nomination were to move forward.
“While the allegations against me are baseless and false, in the current climate, when even non-controversial nominees endure extensive delays in the Senate, I do not wish to be a distraction for the administration while I defend my integrity,” he wrote. “Further, I don’t want to be the cause of additional delay in the selection of a new director of OPM.”