In The Government Needs a Hiring Spree, an op-ed in U.S. News & World Report, CPR co-chairs Olympia Snowe and Dan Glickman wrote:
“Americans haven’t been as negative about their leaders since the 2013 government shutdown and the only other comparable period is during the Watergate crisis. Much of the public’s angst stems from the feeling that government cannot function effectively…
“At least six cabinet departments employ over 100,000 employees each and others include tens of thousands. Their budgets run into the billions of dollars. So, while the focus is most often on those at the top of the organizational chart, we are dedicated to ensuring that essential management-related positions in each agency are also filled in a timely fashion by individuals qualified to handle both people and budgets.”
With the posting of that op-ed, BPC debuted its new Management Excellence Tracker on May 5, 2017. Former Sen. Olympia Snowe and former congressman and Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman highlighted this effort to “shed light on the pace at which nominees for critical high-level, sub-cabinet management positions—which are crucial to the functioning and effectives of government—are selected and confirmed.”
The report covers about 50 key Senate-confirmable management positions from nomination through Senate review to confirmation for the three most recent presidential administrations—Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and George W. Bush. This first report covered the first 100 days of the Trump administration. The second report, released on August 8, coincides with the 200-day mark.
The tracker highlights those positions that require appointees to be quickly in place to handle large management and budget issues; it also tracks the efficiency with which those positions are filled. The tracked positions in the BPC study include deputy secretaries, chief financial officers, and large sub-agency leaders such as the directors of the Federal Emergency Management Association, the Transportation Safety Agency, and the National Institutes of Health.
Here is a snapshot of where things stand as of our second update:
- After the first 200 days, both President George W. Bush and President Barack Obama had nominated (or held over from the previous administration) individuals for more than 75 percent of the tracked positions. President Trump has made nominations or held over individuals for 57 percent of the tracked positions, not including three nominations that were subsequently withdrawn before Congress took action.
- President Trump’s nominees are spending significantly more time in the Senate process. President Trump’s nominees have taken on average nearly 54 days from nomination to confirmation. Obama nominees spent only 36 days in the Senate and Bush nominees were considered and confirmed, on average, within 38 days.
BPC will issue updates at regular intervals in 2017 about the progress made in filling these key positions in government that BPC has highlighted as requiring management experience.