Pon Out as OPM Director

The White House announced that Dr. Jeff Pon has been replaced in his position as the Director of OPM.

Dr. Jeff Pon abruptly resigned from his position on Friday as the Office of Personnel Management’s Director after having just taken the position this past May.

The announcement was made per a news release from the White House dated today, October 5, 2018, which said that Margaret Weichert will become the Acting Director of OPM in Pon’s place.

The news release further states:

Ms. Weichert currently serves as the Senate-confirmed Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget in the Executive Office of the President. She will assume the Office of Personnel Management duties in addition to her current duties at the Office of Management and Budget.

During Pon’s short tenure in his position, he outlined a number of proposed changes in a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) in which he suggested reducing federal employee benefits “to bring Federal benefits more in line with the private sector.”

Among the changes proposed in Pon’s letter were the following:

  • Eliminating Federal Employees’ Retirement System Annuity Supplements
  • Modifying Annuity Supplements From a High 3 Average to High 5 Average Salary
  • Increasing Contributions to Federal Employees Retirement System
  • Reducing or Eliminating Retirement Cost-of-Living Adjustments

The proposed changes elicited strong reactions from federal employees based on the number of and general tenor of comments from FedSmith.com readers on the articles outlining OPM’s proposals.

For details, see OPM Proposes Changes to Bring Federal Benefits Closer to Private Sector and Pon Hints at Major Changes Coming to Federal Compensation System.

In an interview with the Washington Post, Weichert discussed the president’s goals for her new role, stating, “What I would say is that the broader objectives of the president’s management agenda are focusing on driving and really modernizing how we think about governing and our workforce in the 21st century. The president wants me to continue the work that we are doing around the president’s management agenda.”

With respect to the federal workforce, the President’s Management Agenda reiterates the stated objectives of freezing pay for federal employees in 2019 and altering federal workers’ benefits to bring them more in line with the private sector.

About the Author

Ian Smith is one of the co-founders of FedSmith.com. He has over 20 years of combined experience in media and government services, having worked at two government contracting firms and an online news and web development company prior to his current role at FedSmith.