Biden puts his stamp on FLRA, Thrift Board
- By Natalie Alms
- Aug 05, 2021
President Joe Biden tapped Susan Tsui Grundmann to serve on the Federal Labor Relations Authority and Kurt Rumsfeld as general counsel of the agency on Wednesday.
Both are key positions in the agency that oversees union-agency relations. Both posts require Senate confirmation.
Biden has already made some changes to the board by nominating Ernest DuBester to be its chairman, a change made effective without Senate confirmation, days after taking office.
During the Trump administration, DuBester, originally appointed by former President Barack Obama and again by former President Donald Trump, was the only member of the three-member panel appointed by a Democrat, as unions have jockeyed with the panel over its decisions and the legality of the makeup of FLRA's Federal Services Impasses Panel.
The second member of the three-person panel is Colleen Kiko, a Trump-nominee who previously served as the chair and whose term expires in 2022, and James Abbott, a Trump appointee whose term has expired.
Grundmann currently works as the executive director and chief operating officer of the Office of Congressional Workplace Rights. She's also previously served as the general counsel for the National Federation of Federal Employees, a union representing 100,000 feds.
The general counsel for the FLRA is an important position because of its role in investigating alleged unfair labor practices and prosecuting them.
Biden's nominee for the position currently works as board Chairman Dubester's chief counsel and previously worked as the assistant general counsel for operations and legal policy in the FLRA's Office of the General Counsel.
The National Treasury Employees Union national president Tony Reardon released a statement on the news.
"The FLRA has been without a permanent General Counsel for more than three years which has caused a backlog of unfair labor practice complaints where an FLRA Regional Office has determined a UPL charge has merit," he said. "We urge the Senate to move swiftly to confirm these two highly qualified nominees."
Thrift Board nominees
Biden also announced his nomination of Javier Saade for chair of the Federal Retirement Thrift Investment Board, the independent agency that administers the Thrift Savings Plan – the largest of its kind in the world with more than $700 billion under management.
Saade previously has served as the associate administrator of investment and innovation at the Small Business Administration. Currently, he's a managing partner at Fenway Summer.
Biden also renominated Dana Bilyeu to a third term on the board and added two board members: Leona Bridges, a commissioner for the San Francisco Employees' Retirement System, and Stacey Olivares, an investment manager who serves on several prominent boards and was chief investment officer of Lendistry, a loan company focused on underserved small businesses.
Natalie Alms is a staff writer at FCW covering the federal workforce. She is a recent graduate of Wake Forest University and has written for the Salisbury (N.C.) Post. Connect with Natalie on Twitter at @AlmsNatalie.