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Updated: Sunday, November 11, 2012 1:41 PM

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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)

The Office of Presidential Advance coordinates all logistical arrangements for Presidential visits.

Cabinet Liaison
The Office of Cabinet Liaison is the primary point of contact between the White House, Cabinet members and executive agency heads.

White House Counsel
The Counsel's office advises the President on all legal issues concerning the President and the White House.

The Communications Office is responsible for the planning and production of the President's media events.

The Office of Presidential Correspondence receives, responds to, and processes all correspondence addressed to President George W. Bush.

Domestic Policy Council
The Domestic Policy Council coordinates the policy-making process with respect to domestic issues and ensures that domestic policy decisions and programs are effective and consistent with the President's stated goals.



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


Other White House Offices

Faith-Based and Community Initiatives
The Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives (OFBCI) coordinates efforts to empower community and faith-based organizations working to confront poverty and social needs. The OFBCI focuses on both policy development and community outreach.

The White House Fellows Office oversees the application, selection, and placement process of each class of White House Fellows, and the day-to-day operation of the program. The office also plans, coordinates, and hosts activities that comprise the White House Fellows Education Program.

Intergovernmental Affairs
Intergovernmental Affairs (IGA) serves as the President's liaison to state, local, and tribal governments.


Mrs. Obama's Office
This office promotes Mrs. Obama's initiatives and projects, publicizes events involving the First Lady to the national and international media, assists Mrs. Bush in planning her schedule of activities, and assists with her correspondence with the public.

National Economic Council
The National Economic Council coordinates the economic policy-making process with respect to domestic and international economic issues. This office ensures that economic policy decisions and programs are consistent with the President's stated goals, and ensures those goals are effectively pursued.

Office of the Vice President
The Vice President's Office assists and advises the Vice President in his executive and legislative duties. The Vice President's staff provides support on domestic policy, national security affairs, legislative affairs, communications, scheduling, and advance.

Political Affairs
The Office of Political Affairs ensures that the executive branch and the President are aware of the concerns of the American citizen.

Public Liaison
The Office of Public Liaison promotes Presidential priorities through outreach to concerned constituencies and public interest groups. This includes planning White House briefings, meetings, and large events with the President, Vice President, and other White House staff.

Photo Office
The White House Photo Office photographically documents and maintains an archive of official events of the President, First Lady, and other administration officieals.

Presidential Personnel
The Presidential Personnel Office recruits, screens, and recommends qualified candidates for Presidential appointments to Federal departments and agencies.

The Presidential Scheduling Office is responsible for the planning, organization, and implementation of the President's daily and long-range schedules. All requests for appointments, meetings, or events with the President are directed through this office.

The Office of Speechwriting is charged with crafting the President's message in formal speeches and other remarks.

Strategic Initiatives
The Office of Strategic Initiatives plans, develops, and coordinates a long-range strategy for achieving Presidential priorities. The office conducts research and assists in message development.

Travel Office
The Travel Office provides logistical travel support for the President, First Lady, Vice President, and the White House Press Corps (when they accompany). This office works closely with the Office of Presidential Advance, White House Press Office and members of the White House Press Corps.

White House Management
The White House Management Office manages the daily operations and administration for the White House Offices. This includes budget, purchasing, facility and asset management, travel and other administrative support for the White House staff.

White House Personnel
The Personnel Office manages placement, benefits, and other employment matters concerning White House staff. In addition, this office oversees the White House Intern Program.

Visitors Office
The Visitors Office coordinates White House Tours and other special events at the White House for thousands of guests annually.



Copyright 2001-2012 John Isaacson --Contact Information: John Isaacson, Director@Presidential-Appointments.org - Call: 210-313-7858