Working to find actionable solutions to the nation's key challenges.

BPC Study: Trump Administration Lags in Filling Cabinet Agency Management Positions

Friday, May 5, 2017

Washington, D.C.– The Trump administration lags behind its recent predecessors in making nominations for key government management positions, finds a new study released today by the Bipartisan Policy Center.

The Management Excellence Tracker finds that the Trump White House had nominated people for only 27 percent of the most important Senate-confirmed management positions in executive branch agencies at the 100-day mark. The Obama administration had nominated or carried over from the previous administration 51 percent of these positions by the same date, and the George W. Bush administration had nominated 33 percent.

The BPC study also finds that Trump nominees who have been confirmed are taking considerably longer to complete the Senate confirmation process—43 days on average—compared with 23 days for Obama nominees and 12 days for Bush nominees.

“We’ve known that the Trump administration has trailed its predecessors on filling Cabinet positions. But these numbers show that those delays extend to the positions responsible for day-to-day management of government agencies and that oversee billion-dollar budgets,” said Matthew Weil, associate director of BPC’s Democracy Project. “Filling these positions quickly is critical to ensuring the government operates efficiently and effectively.”

The positions tracked in the BPC study include deputy secretaries, chief financial officers, and large sub-agency leaders such as the directors of FEMA, TSA, and the National Institutes of Health.The positions tracked remain mostly unchanged across the administrations. However, some positions were abolished or created during the past 16 years. We are tracking 49 positions for the Trump administration, 49 positions for the Obama administration, and 45 positions for the George W. Bush administration.

In an op-ed in U.S. News and World Report, former Sen. Olympia Snowe and former Sec. Dan Glickman write that “well-managed departments do their jobs better, interface with the public more successfully, and perhaps of paramount importance can help to restore trust between the people and their government. When it comes to running a large federal agency, it is imperative that sub-Cabinet level, management-focused appointees are able to effectively communicate with and lead the staff—including long-term career staff whose performance is pivotal and often determinative in implementing policy.”

BPC will update the Management Excellence Tracker throughout 2017 with another report coming after 200 days in office.

KEYWORDS: 115TH CONGRESS, DAN GLICKMAN, FEDERAL EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY, NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH, OLYMPIA SNOWE, PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH, TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION (TSA)