Inside the Reporter's Notebook: OPM personnel changes, Tangherlini gets more than 210 days

Friday - 2/22/2013, 8:28pm EST

Welcome to my new feature, "Inside the Reporter's Notebook," where every two weeks I'll dispatch news and information you may have missed or that slipped through the cracks at conferences, hearings and the like.

This is not a column nor commentary — it's news tidbits, strongly sourced buzz and other items of interest that have happened or are happening in the federal IT and acquisition communities.

As always, I encourage you to submit ideas, suggestions, and, of course, news to me at

The Office of Personnel Management is shuffling some chairs, starting with the chief information officer.

Government sources familiar with OPM say chief information officer Matt Perry has been reassigned, and a job posting to replace him on is imminent.

In an interesting move, OPM Director John Berry moved Perry, who was CIO at OPM for about three years, to run the IT systems for the retirement services and federal investigative services organizations.

Sources say Perry's move is one of several personnel changes Berry is expected to make in the coming weeks. The source didn't know the details of the other chairs Berry plans to shuffle.

An OPM spokeswoman declined to comment, saying the agency doesn't discuss personnel issues. Sources say Perry was told the director wanted to bring someone new in to the position. Perry replaced Janet Barnes in 2010. Barnes had been the OPM CIO for almost a decade previously.

Charles Simpson, the deputy CIO, now is acting CIO for OPM.

Along with the change at the CIO level, Nancy Kichak, an associate director for the human resources policy division, retired at the end of January. Berry replaced her with Joe Kennedy, who was the principal associate director for OPM's Employee Services and the agency's chief learning officer.

He worked on formulating and implementing human capital management strategies and policies, including playing a significant role in developing guidelines and standards that are used to assess the government's performance on human capital management.

Kichak was the associate director for almost eight years and oversaw the development and implementation of merit-based HR policies. She worked on hiring reforms, developing new approaches to bring people into the Senior Executive Service and creating and updating career paths, specifically around cybersecurity, for the government.

Dan Tangherlini has been the acting administrator at the General Services Administration since April — roughly 320 days — well beyond the typical 210 days that most acting political appointees are allowed to be in their position for.

But Tangherlini and his appointment on April 3, 2012 is far from typical.

A senior administration official said Tangherlini's appointment doesn't fall under 5 USC § 3346, which limits the number of days someone can be in an acting position to 210.

"Dan was designated as acting administrator under 40 USC § 302, which permits the President to designate an officer of the federal government to serve as acting administrator and does not have a 210-day limitation on service," the official said by email.

Under this part of the law, Tangherlini can remain acting administrator indefinitely.

The senior official said, "an acting to serve unless a statute 'expressly authorizes the President…to designate an officer or employee to perform the functions and duties of a specified office temporarily in an acting capacity…' The statute establishing the deputy administrator of GSA - 40 USC § 302 - is precisely such a statute. In relevant part, it states that 'The deputy administrator is acting administrator of General Services during the absence or disability of the administrator and, unless the President designates another officer of the federal government, when the office of administrator is vacant.' As Dan Tangherlini is a Senate confirmed officer of the federal government, the President designated him under this authority to serve as acting administrator."

The question then begs, when will the White House nominate Tangherlini to be the administrator?

Many observers have said the White House had to finish with the nominations for Defense, Treasury, CIA and other bigger named agencies. But, as it seems to always come back to, why doesn't the White House understand the value GSA brings to the government, Western Regions Conference aside?

The seven years that the Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act (FFATA) — sponsored by then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and current Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) — has been in place has been less than stellar. The law required OMB to post data on procurements, grants and loans to a public website.