Leadership

Government personnel office abruptly loses its top official

The director of the Office of Personnel Management abruptly submitted her resignation March 17, amid a turbulent period for the federal government’s personnel office.

An OPM spokesperson confirmed that the agency had received the resignation of Director Dale Cabaniss, after she had spent less than six months on the job.

Politico reported that sources within OPM said Cabaniss left due to negative treatment by the head of the Presidential Personnel Office, John McEntee, and White House liaison Paul Dans.

The OPM director position has spent more time vacant than filled under the Trump administration, with nearly two-thirds of President Donald Trump’s term spend with only an acting head of the executive branch’s personnel office.

Prior to Cabaniss, OPM was headed by an acting director, Margaret Weichert, who announced her own resignation from her position at the Office of Management and Budget last month.

Jeff Pon, the agency’s first Senate-confirmed director under Trump, spent just 212 in the job before departing in late October 2018. Cabaniss spent just 182 days in the post, from confirmation to resignation.

Michael Rigas, who has held the deputy director post since Pon’s confirmation in March 2018, will take over as acting director.

The resignation comes amid turmoil as the federal government grapples with how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic and what to do with employees at risk of exposure.

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