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OPM IG Questions Legality of Beth Cobert’s Acting Director Role

OPM_logoThe Office of Personnel Management‘s inspector general has said Beth Cobert is ineligible under federal law to act as agency director while her nomination for the post is pending, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

Eric Yoder and Joe Davidson write Cobert was nominated to the OPM leadership role in November 2015, four months after she replaced Katherine Archuleta on an acting basis.

OPM IG Patrick McFarland told Cobert in a memo that her situation violates the 1998 Federal Vacancies Reform Act.

“Under the FVRA, any actions taken by you since the date of your nomination are void and may not be subsequently ratified,” McFarland wrote in the letter obtained by The Post.

As acting director, Cobert has implemented guidelines federal employee recruitment, relocation, retention incentives as well as senior executive performance evaluation and rotational policies.

OPM’s Office of the Inspector General discovered legal issues about the role while personnel researched OIG responsibilities under the law, Carten Cortell reported for Federal Times.

Cortell noted the law states that a presidential nominee cannot act as head of a federal agency if he or she did not previously serve as the agency’s first assistant in the year prior to his or her appointment.

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