The Senate confirmed the president’s nominee to direct the Office of Personnel Management, Jeff Pon, by voice vote March 7, 2018.
Pon previously served as the chief human resources and strategy officer for the Society for Human Resource Management and chief operating officer for Futures Inc. Pon’s public sector experience includes serving as deputy director of e-government at OPM and chief human capital officer at the Department of Energy.
“Jeff Pon brings impressive and extensive leadership to OPM, and he understands both the hurdles and the importance of recruiting, hiring and training a high quality federal workforce,”said Partnership for Public Service CEO Max Stier. We look forward to working alongside the new OPM director to strengthen the federal workforce and to find constructive and achievable solutions to improving many aspects of the civil service system.”
Pon was nominated to the position in September 2017, but Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Chairman Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said at Pon’s confirmation hearing in October 2017 that he planned to hold up confirmation proceedings to get answers about the employer contribution policies for congressional health care.
At that confirmation hearing, Pon said that his priorities as OPM director would include efforts to cut down the significant lag times in employee hiring, retirement payments and benefits claims by investing in technological solutions.
“With the numerous challenges before the federal community, and the role OPM plays in addressing those challenges, confirmation of an OPM director is long overdue,” said National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association President Richard G. Thissen. “NARFE looks forward to working with Director Pon to ensure OPM preserves an effective federal workforce, longstanding federal workforce policies and earned benefits.”
Thissen also called encouraging Pon’s acknowledgement of the need to make federal retirement claims processing simpler and faster to better serve retiring federal workers.
Michael Rigas, former appointee in the General Services Administration and chief of staff at the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services, was also confirmed as deputy director of OPM.
Jessie Bur covered the federal workforce and the changes most likely to impact government employees for Federal Times.