Decreasing Agency Vacancies

Memo #4 of Administrative Leadership

Summary: In addition to delays at the beginning of new administrations, vacant positions continue to hinder effective policy leadership throughout Presidential administrations. In order to reduce these gaps in executive branch leadership, we recommend that Presidents require appointees to commit themselves to serve until the end of the President’s term. In addition, we encourage the Senate to establish fast-track procedures for the confirmation or rejection of Presidential nominations. Finally, systematic, institutionalized orientation sessions for new appointees would improve their performance and thus the length of their service.

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Recommended Actions

1. The Senate should limit or constrain the time of holds on agency nominations, especially if the hold is unrelated to the nominee.

2. The Senate should consider a fast track system for nominations to executive branch positions. This could be done by imposing deadlines on two stages of the confirmation process: how long the relevant committee or committees can consider but not vote on a nomination and how long the Senate can consider but not vote on a nomination.

3. The Senate should defer in most circumstances to the White House on agency nominations, unless there is a genuine concern about the individual nominated.

4. The President should require agency officials to commit to serve for a full Presidential term.

5. Systematic, institutionalized orientation and training sessions for new appointees should be instituted.


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