Appointee Watch: IRS Commissioner Announced as Management Officials Move Forward

President Trump has made progress in recent weeks on several positions that will be key to implementing elements of his agenda in 2018.

Last week, Trump announced that he would nominate Charles Rettig to be commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. Rettig is a private tax attorney with extensive experience in tax controversies, and his nomination comes at a time when the IRS looks to implement a major new tax law despite years of budget cuts.

And on Wednesday, the Senate moved forward on several nominees for management posts, just days after the White House released its fiscal 2019 budget proposal that calls for sweeping changes to federal employee compensation and management policies. The Senate voted unanimously to confirm Margaret Weichert to be deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, while the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee voted to move forward with the nomination of Jeff Pon to lead the Office of Personnel Management following months of delays.

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But the White House has one more vacancy on the long list of State Department jobs that require nominees, as former Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland withdrew her name from consideration for ambassador to Singapore.

According to the Partnership for Public Service and The Washington Post, which have been tracking more than 600 administration positions that require Senate confirmation, 256 appointees have been confirmed to their posts. Another 154 people have been announced or formally nominated, while 226 jobs remain vacant.

In recent days, Trump has nominated the following people for agency posts:

Agriculture: Naomi Earp, assistant secretary for civil rights. Earp is a retired career federal employee, who worked for more than 20 years in federal equal opportunity policy and employment law. As a member of the Senior Executive Service, she was chairwoman and vice chairwoman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission during the George W. Bush administration.

Commerce: Jeffrey Nadaner, assistant secretary for export enforcement. Nadaner is director of the Brute Krulak Center for Innovation and Creativity at the U.S. Marine Corps University. He has held a variety of positions both in the Defense Department and at Lockheed Martin. He also was a speechwriter for former Secretary of State Colin Powell, and he was a member of the State Department’s policy planning staff.

Defense: John Whitley, assistant secretary for financial management and comptroller, U.S. Army. Whitley is a senior fellow at the Institute for Defense Analyses and the Center for Naval Analysis, and he is the research director at the Crime Prevention Research Center. He previously served as a director of program analysis and evaluation for the Homeland Security Department, and he has previously worked in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. He is a former Army Ranger.

Energy: Brent Park, deputy administrator for defense nuclear nonproliferation. Park is a nuclear physicist and associate laboratory director at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, where he leads national security programs for the Energy Department and the National Nuclear Security Administration.

Health and Human Services: Jean Hoyland, administrator, Administration for Native Americans. Hoyland is currently the tribal affairs advisor to Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. She is a member in the Flandreau Santee Sioux, and she is an expert on federal tribal law and policy.

Homeland Security: Charles Cook, chief financial officer. Cook is president of his own consulting firm, sits on the board of advisers for Sehlke Consulting Services, and is a 20-year member of the Senior Executive Service. He held posts in budgeting, finances and management for a number of federal agencies, including the U.S. Navy, the Defense Department and the Marine Corps.

Christopher Krebs, undersecretary for national protection and programs. Krebs is currently a senior official performing the duties of this position, where he oversees cyber and physical infrastructure security. He is the assistant secretary for the Office of Infrastructure Protection, and before joining the federal government, he worked at Microsoft on governmental affairs.

Office of Government Ethics: Emory Rounds, director. Rounds is associate counsel at OGE, and has previously served as a special assistant to the acting director and as acting head of the agency’s internal operations division. He previously was an ethics counsel at the White House Counsel’s office during the George W. Bush administration.

State: Kirsten Madison, assistant secretary for international narcotics and law enforcement affairs. Madison is deputy director and resident fellow for foreign and defense policy at the American Enterprise Institute. She has worked for 25 years in foreign and national security policy, including a stint on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where she focused on counter-narcotics and counter-terrorism.

Adm. Harry Harris, ambassador to Australia. Harris is commander of the U.S. Pacific Command. He has served in the Navy for 39 years.

David Cornstein, ambassador to Hungary. Cornstein is chairman of Pinnacle Advisors, a financial planning and wealth management firm.

Georgette Mosbacher, ambassador to Poland. Mosbacher is president of Georgette Mosbacher Enterprises Inc., a business and marketing consulting firm.

Joseph Cella, ambassador to Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, Tonga and Tuvalu. Cella is a businessman and principal of the Pontifex Group, a consulting firm.

Transportation: Thelma Drake, Federal Transit Administrator. Drake is a former Republican congresswoman representing Virginia and the former director of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation. She currently serves as assistant director of public works and transportation for the City of Norfolk. 

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