Trump Announces HR Professional As New Pick to Lead OPM

President Trump has announced his picks for Office of Personnel Management director and key posts in the Office of Management and Budget.

Career human resources professional Jeff Tien Han Pon is in line for the top job at OPM, the White House announced Friday night. Pon was most recently the chief human resources and strategy officer for the Society for Human Resource Management, and he was chief operating officer for Futures Inc., a company that helps members of the military find careers in the civilian workforce.

He is a veteran of government workforce management, having served as deputy director of eGovernment at OPM, where he was involved in the roll-out of the vacancy listing site USAJobs. He also was chief human capital officer at the Energy Department.

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Randy Erwin, president of the National Federation of Federal Employees, said in a statement that his organization looks forward to evaluating Pon and his credentials to lead OPM.

“While it is early in the nomination process and we reserve final opinion, we appreciate the consideration to name a nominee with a diverse and rich professional history in federal human capital," Erwin said. "We look forward to learning more about Mr. Pon and we hope that he, if confirmed, will view employee organizations as valuable and significant partners.”

And National Treasury Employees Union spokesman Tony Reardon said he hopes Pon will continue to support a key council that encourages dialogue between labor and management.

"NTEU strongly supports the National Council on Federal Labor-Management Relations and if Jeff Tien Han Pon is confirmed as Director of the Office of Personnel Management, we hope he will allow this important council to continue its work improving the federal workplace for employees and taxpayers," he said.

Max Stier, CEO of the Partnership for Public Service, endorsed Pon's qualifications and expressed hope he could lead the federal government through meaningful civil service reform.

“Fixing the federal government’s broken personnel system requires a director of the Office of Personnel Management who can drive bold changes and understands the challenges that agencies face in attracting and retaining talented people," Stier said. "Fortunately for federal employees and those who care about an efficient and effective government, Dr. Jeff Pon’s deep experience, leadership skills, and first-hand experience with government’s talent issues make him a well-qualified nominee.”

Pon is Trump’s second choice for director of OPM. Bush administration veteran George Nesterczuk was nominated in May, but faced stiff resistance from federal employee unions, particularly over his role in the creation of the National Security Personnel System, an attempt to introduce performance-based pay in the Defense Department that failed after a court battle. He withdrew his name from consideration on July 31.

Trump’s pick for deputy director for management of OMB is Margaret Weichert, who is currently serving as a senior adviser to the agency. Weichert is an expert in banking and payments technology, and she has a lengthy career in the private sector, most recently as a principal at Ernst and Young. She has held leadership positions at Market Platform Dynamics, First Data Corporation, Bank of America and Andersen Consulting.

Elsewhere in OMB, Trump tapped Frederick Nutt to be controller in the Office of Federal Financial Management. Nutt currently works as a senior adviser at OMB. He has experience as a senior adviser at the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, and he was director of IT acquisition at the Millennium Challenge Corporation.

During the George W. Bush administration, he was a senior adviser at the Environmental Protection Agency, where he worked to implement the migration of some financial management systems to federal shared service providers and on Bush’s broader management agenda.

This story was updated with comments from stakeholders. 

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