Who’s Minding the Store at the Agencies?
Websites list dozens of acting officials at many agencies, with new leaders just arriving.
All presidential transitions bring uncertainty and a reshuffling of agency managers. But the Trump administration, with its focus on high-visibility Cabinet nominations, has fallen behind predecessors and the recommended schedule on naming people to the secondary positions—the deputies and undersecretaries who steer career staff and keep agencies moving forward.
Of 517 key positions across government, the White House as of Monday had named people to only 35 and just 18 of those had been confirmed, according to the political appointee tracker maintained by the nonprofit Partnership for Public Service and The Washington Post.
Last week saw the arrival of newly confirmed secretaries of the Treasury (Steve Mnuchin), Energy (Rick Perry), Interior (Ryan Zinke) and Housing and Urban Development (Ben Carson). The nomination of health care consultant Seema Verma as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services was reported out of the Senate Finance Committee on March 1.
But in many agencies, the number of vacancies and career officials temporarily in “acting” roles on the website is high. At the State Department, for example, Government Executive counted 100 vacancies in key manager positions, and a dozen acting in top roles at the U.S. Agency for International Development. Homeland Security’s site lists 12 vacancies and 20 acting officials, while Labor has 38 top-level vacancies.
The Commerce and the Veterans Affairs websites’ bio pages have a dozen people listed as acting, while HUD has seven vacant deputy slots. The Environmental Protection Agency, with Administrator Scott Pruitt newly confirmed, has 26 top officials who are there in acting capacities, while NASA has nine. Trump has yet to select someone to run the Office of Personnel Management (Kathleen McGettigan is acting) and the General Services Administration (Tim Horne is acting).
For many of the newly arrived agency heads, no deputies are listed or the webpage of top officials is unavailable. Agency websites, of course, are not consistent in format, and some may be behind on reporting.
Government Executive thought it would be useful for our readers to compile the following list of links to the top official rosters for the major departments and agencies. The sites will continue to be updated as the Trump team makes progress on what eventually will be 4,000 appointments, and some major agencies such as the Treasury Department do not have lists of acting officials. Click on each department name to visit the relevant website:
- Defense Department
- Environmental Protection Agency
- General Services Administration
- Health and Human Services
- Housing and Urban Development
- Homeland Security
- National Science Foundation
- Nuclear Regulatory Commission
- Office of Personnel Management
- Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
- Social Security Administration
- Small Business Administration
- U.S. Agency for International Development
- Veterans Affairs