Gustafson, Mayock get 11th-hour confirmations
After the Senate passed averted a government shutdown on Dec. 9 by passing a bill to fund agencies through April 28, legislators tackled several other final items of business before leaving town and bringing the 114th Congress to close. Among those final votes were confirmations for the long-vacant posts of Commerce Department inspector general and Office of Management and Budget deputy director for management.
Andrew Mayock, a senior adviser to OMB Director Shaun Donovan, was confirmed one year to the day after President Barack Obama announced his intention to nominate Mayock for the deputy director of management position. The DDM post had been held by Beth Cobert, who was tapped by the president (but never confirmed) to run the Office of Personnel Management.
Mayock's confirmation may be more symbolic than substantive, however. The DDM job is a critical policy position, for which the next administration will almost certainly want its own person soon after Jan. 20. Mayock has served throughout the Obama administration in a variety of roles and also held posts during President Bill Clinton's terms.
Peggy Gustafson, meanwhile, was confirmed as the Commerce Department's IG. As with Mayock, the Senate approved her nomination by voice vote in the early hours of Dec. 10.
Gustafson is currently IG for the Small Business Administration and has long been a visible member of the oversight community. Prior to joining SBA, she served as general counsel to Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and helped draft legislation to strengthen agency IG offices.
Gustafson did not wait quite as long for a confirmation vote as Mayock did -- she was nominated in late April -- but vacant IG posts also have a been a point of contention. Several nominations were left unresolved as Congress adjourned for the year, and Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) recently complained to Senate leadership about the delays.
"In order to keep our promise to the American people to hold government entities accountable and ensure taxpayer dollars are well spent, we must ensure these vacant IG positions are filled in a timely manner," Tester wrote in a Dec. 2 letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). "As permanent leadership slots get filled throughout government agencies in the coming months, IGs oversight role is critical.
Posted by Troy K. Schneider on Dec 12, 2016 at 3:33 PM