Senator wants next OMB director to be familiar with federal workforce

Thursday - 4/24/2014, 4:16pm EDT

The chairman of a key congressional panel with oversight of the federal workforce says he wants President Barack Obama's pick for White House budget director to "possess a background in federal workforce and governmental oversight issues."

Earlier this month, Obama nominated the current director of the Office of Management and Budget, Sylvia Burwell, to take over for Kathleen Sebelius as the head of the Health and Human Services Department.

"As OMB continues to navigate through this critical period, it is imperative that its leadership remains diligent," Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) wrote in an April 24 letter to the Obama.

Tester chairs the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee's subcommittee on the federal workforce.

In particular, Tester cited the role of the OMB director in leading the government's efforts in security-clearance reform. Last month, OMB published an interagency review containing more than a dozen recommendations for improving the process and a more detailed implementation plan is set to be released in the coming months.

"It is critical that OMB's new director continue to guide the security clearance process to make it more focused, expedient and transparent while keeping our nation's most sensitive information in the right hands," Tester wrote.

Tester also pointed to the OMB director's role overseeing the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, currently headed by Howard Shelanski, and the "importance of making OIRA's regulatory reviews more transparent." Tester said he also wants Obama's nominee to be familiar with federal Indian policy.

Tester's committee, meanwhile, plans to hold a hearing May 6 on improving the low morale of the federal workforce.

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