|Updated: Sunday, November 11, 2012 1:41 PM|
White House Staff Appointments
The "White House" - for purposes of discussing appointments - means not only the staff which works in the White House, but in various offices which are part of the immediate Executive Offices of the President..
Some of that staff requires Senate confirmation. Most of the immediate staff, such as secretaries and many other very important staff people do not require confirmation and are selected in a normal sort of employment routine - as if any employment near the power of the President is routine.
Much of the staff around the White House, not only including those who staff the building, provide meals, mow the lawn, etc., are civil service, and do wonderfully exotic things, such as the calligraphy on invitations. Who is civil service and who is not is carefully defined in the law and in practice, and which parts of the White House staff are political and which require confirmation are also carefully defined. Each President selects most of the staff members who work closely with him and his immediate staff. These appointments are the highest form of insider sport, and most of these appointments are from close friends and long term associates of the President, or from supporters who helped elect the President.
Pay and conditions of employment are carefully set out in government policy. Security clearances and background checks are extremely important within the confines of the White House operation. The hundreds of staff who handle mail, run switchboards, provide security and communications are more or less permanent in the White House operations, regardless of who is President. Many work entire careers in the White House.
For the most part, White House political appointments of one President are not easily continued into another administration, nor easily turned into civil service career appointments.
White House Offices
(This material is from the White House Page - and the most current form is at www.whitehouse.gov)
White House Counsel
Domestic Policy Council
The White House has released pay records and list of employees at the White House: Click here for Report
05-03-10 - The Completed list of White House personnel should soon be available. It takes a long time to complete staffing the place, and since only a small part of it is subject to Senate confirmation, it is more difficult to track. We will publish that material here as it is available.
11-01-09 - The Obama White House has settled down into a full operational mode - and got there about on the same schedule most new administrations experience. What did happen is that this administration was well put together at the time of the 2008 election - was polished up before January 20 2009, and in almost full operation earlier in the first term than many recent administrations.
08-03-09 - The particular offices including in the Presidential operation are listed at these two addresses: White House Staff Page Executive Office of the President. The Obama White House has been generally transparent about those offices, and less so about the people that fill those positions. Going from those pages, you can get to many of the various agencies involved. It is a good deal more difficult to get to the names of second and third level staff which are political staff, not civil service White House Staff.
05-12-09 - The Obama White House Staff has generally been selected and settled in to work. This is unusually early in his administration, and reflects on the program Obama had to get his administration in place during the period after the nomination was secured in the summer and the election in November. The success of this plan is reflected in the across-the-board activities of Obama in the earliest months of his administration. As the impact of the recession became clearer in the fall of 2008, he realized being ready to govern in this area on the January 20th Inauguration Day was going to be critical. At this point in the spring - that appears to have been a first class idea. The war issues and other legislative issues have moving along firmly - also reflecting this policy of being ready when his President-Elect status was clear.
Shadow staffs for the 2009 White House are starting to appear. Historically, candidates who come from other political structures - particularly administrative political structures such as governor's offices, former White House operations from prior Presidents of the same party tend to staff up their administrative with people they know from those settings. It is obviously a common sense idea to go into the White House with at least some of the people who have experience in that unique setting. White House watchers are paying attention to people around the major campaigns who do things similar to White House jobs in the current campaigns. It is not a small incentive for people to work on the campaign to have some sort of promise or tacit understanding that there is a transition and White House jobs waiting for a winning campaign. Watch the easy ones to get started - people in the campaign handling press may well end up in the White House press office, personal secretaries as the new President's personal administrative staff, etc. These types of administrative jobs close to the President often are extremely powerful positions, particularly on matters related to access later - and that is important! 11-17-08
Karl Rove seems to have taken the entire patronage program out the door with him when he left the White House. It is unclear who is handling patronage at the WH at the moment, but it isn't working very well. Patronage is implicitly tied to the President but the muscle to make it work on a daily basis demands someone like Rove, well placed and in good communication with the political base. Part of the nature of people who control patronage is that they try to keep it all for themselves, and Rove was the master at that. It is improbable that he doesn't still have a significant authority in Texas. Staffing White House appointees - meaning those working immediately for the President, is a much more intimate project and has more professional people - lawyers - etc., on the staff than many of the more remote positions in other parts of the government. 11-15-07
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White House Management
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Copyright 2001-2012 John Isaacson --Contact Information: John Isaacson, Director@Presidential-Appointments.org - Call: 210-313-7858