OMB's Margaret Weichert speaks at a Government Executive Media Group gala honoring extraordinary federal employees in September 2019.

OMB's Margaret Weichert speaks at a Government Executive Media Group gala honoring extraordinary federal employees in September 2019. Kristoffer Tripplaar

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Trump's Federal Personnel Point Person to Step Down

Margaret Weichert will leave the White House after nearly three years of pushing an aggressive agenda.

President Trump’s top point person on agency management and federal personnel policy is stepping down next month after a nearly three-year tenure that saw mixed results for an aggressive agenda to shake up the civil service. 

Margaret Weichert, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, will rejoin the consulting world at Accenture’s commercial practice. She joined the administration in 2017 as a senior advisor at OMB before the Senate confirmed her to her current role in February 2018. She also served as acting head of the Office of Personnel Management for roughly one year, further influencing policy impacting the federal workforce. 

Weichert spearheaded the administration’s efforts to reorganize government, placing particular attention on the push to eliminate OPM as an independent agency while folding its portfolio into the White House and the General Services Administration. Weichert helped usher out her predecessor at OPM, Jeff Pon, over his resistance to the plan. While she continued to fight for the merger, Congress has resisted and punted on the proposal pending a study. Weichert successfully oversaw one part of the plan, however, with the Defense Department last year assuming responsibility for all security clearance investigations. 

The deputy director has ushered in several key reforms to hiring, including a pilot program to give managers and subject matter experts more say in the selection process. Weichert has also overseen the controversial implementation of Trump’s workforce executive orders, which focused largely on stripping federal employee unions of some of their previously enjoyed rights and influence. She has sought to overhaul federal compensation, arguing federal employees are not motivated by pay while also promoting reforms to give more bonuses to top performers. The administration has abandoned her plan to create a $1 billion interagency workforce fund, but has raised the cap for agencies to provide performance incentives. 

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve as the deputy director for management,” Weichert said. “I’m extremely proud to have had the opportunity to work alongside a talented group of Federal employees to modernize and streamline our government.”

Weichert resisted a Trump policy that predated her calling on all federal agencies to develop plans to slash their staffing levels, instead suggesting many needed to grow their rolls to fill key skills gaps. She also led an effort to “reskill” federal workers whose jobs are likely to become obsolete, launching a pilot program to train those employees for cyber jobs. 

“During my time at OMB and OPM, I’ve valued the opportunity to work with talented public servants, who are dedicated to improving how we deliver mission outcomes, improve service, and strengthen stewardship of taxpayer dollars,” Weichert said. 

She explained the administration is now at “a natural turning point,” as her team is implementing many of the reforms and practices she brought from her career in the private sector. 

“I am ready to pass the baton on knowing that the team is ready to continue to lead change going forward,” she said. 

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, who originally served as Weichert’s director superior at OMB, said it was a pleasure to work with her and praised her commitment to asking “the tough questions that need to be asked in Washington.”

“Her passion for transforming organizations has been contagious within the White House,” Mulvaney said in a statement. 

Ross Vought, the current acting OMB director, thanked Weichert on Trump’s behalf. 

“She’s been leading the charge to re-think how the federal government can better serve the American people,” Vought said. “Through her leadership in developing and executing the President’s Management Agenda and her key insights into transforming organizations, Margaret has put forward solutions that will build a stronger America.”