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What Cobert brings to OPM

OMB DDM Beth Cobert, testifying before the Senate Homeland Security Committee on Jan. 14, 2014

Beth Cobert is leaving her relatively sleepy perch as deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget to take over the scandal-wracked Office of Personnel Management.

OMB has provided emergency leadership to embattled agencies before. Former OMB Controller Danny Werfel stepped in as acting commissioner of the IRS amid a scandal in 2013. And a few months after the botched launch of HealthCare.gov, OMB Director Sylvia Matthews Burwell was tapped to replace Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Cobert, in her tenure as DDM, has been leading the implementation of President Barack Obama's data-driven management initiative. She's also a leader on implementing the overall administration goal of "Smarter IT delivery," launched in the wake of the HealthCare.gov debacle. On the OMB org chart, she's charged with supervising the federal CIO operation, and her job ranges across federal activities like workforce development, employee performance, financial management, and updating and reforming the security clearance process.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest touted Cobert's qualifications for the OPM post. "Given the urgent challenges that they're facing right now, it's clear that a manager with a specialized set of skills and experiences is needed," Earnest said in a July 10 press briefing. "Those are, conveniently enough, the skills and experiences that Ms. Cobert brings to the job." He added, "but ultimately we'll need a permanent replacement. And that's something that we'll start working on today."

While Cobert is at OPM, Dave Mader, the current controller at OMB, will serve as acting deputy director of management.

Posted by Adam Mazmanian on Jul 13, 2015 at 2:33 PM


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