We the Partnership

New law journal article examines the role of acting officials in federal leadership positions

Temporary leaders – commonly referred to as acting officials – have been used by all recent administrations to fill important positions atop federal agencies. Many questions surround their use and power. How long can acting officials serve? Who is eligible? What happens when the time limit for an acting official runs out? Most of the rules are governed by the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998. However, the law gives presidents a fair amount of flexibility and many details are open to interpretation.

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Managing vacancies in a new or second-term administration

The Senate now takes 115 days on average to confirm presidential appointees, twice as long as during the Reagan administration.[1] Given the length of time it can take to get nominees confirmed, a new administration or second-term administration must prepare to face the reality of having vacant positions and identify their options for filling those roles.

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