The Office of Personnel Management announced March 25 the names of six top political appointees joining the agency, indicating the Biden administration’s intended direction for federal workforce management.
The appointments represent personnel who have been largely involved in the Biden-Harris political efforts and who have direct experience in related fields. Of the six officials, four previously worked on the Biden-Harris transition team or presidential campaign, and four had government experience on either the legislative or executive sides of local and federal government.
Perhaps most significantly, the Biden administration selected Alethea Predeoux, previously the director of legislative, political and grassroots mobilization for the American Federation of Government Employees, to serve as OPM’s director of the Office of Congressional, Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs.
“This appointment is further evidence of the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to protecting and honoring the federal workforce, hiring the best talent, and resetting relationships with federal employee unions,” an OPM spokesperson told Federal Times.
The Biden administration has already taken significant steps to reversing the largely antagonistic approach to federal labor that was established under the Trump administration, and the selection of a former union official to lead part of the federal personnel office is another symbolic gesture of the new administration’s desire to work with unions. Predeoux was also a federal employee at one point herself, covering workforce policy issues and congressional inquiries at the Transportation Security Administration.
Rita Aguilar was selected to serve as senior adviser for the Office of Congressional, Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs, after having previously worked as the vice president of the College Promise Campaign — which promotes public funding for the first two years of college education — and as several advisory roles at the Department of Justice and White House Office of Legislative Affairs.
Peter Bonner, who formerly worked at several private sector companies that supported the federal government’s workforce initiatives, was chosen as the associate director of the Office of Human Resource Solutions, which provides HR-related services to federal agencies.
Former Deputy General Counsel to the Biden-Harris Transition Rachel Cotton will be taking up similar work at OPM as the deputy general counsel for the agency, after working in both the House and Senate and as a law clerk on the U.S. Court of Appeals.
Scott Syroka, a former director of states paid media at the Biden-Harris campaign and an elected official himself as an at-large council member on the Johnston, Iowa City Council, was selected to be the deputy communications director for OPM.
Longtime education and leadership development advocate Tiffany Worthy was selected as the senior advisor for appointee leadership development, after her work on the Biden-Harris transition, at the Obama Foundation, on the Obama campaign and at Leadership for Educational Equity.
All six positions are political appointments but do not require Senate confirmation.
Jessie Bur covered the federal workforce and the changes most likely to impact government employees for Federal Times.