October 2015
Issue Map
The Public Manager

Familiar Faces Take on Significant New Roles

Friday, October 9, 2015

Beth F. Cobert
Acting Director
Office of Personnel Management


Beth F. Cobert has replaced Katherine Archuleta as acting director of the Office of Personnel Management. Archuleta stepped down in July in the wake of the massive cyber intrusions on the agency's databases, which exposed the personal information of millions of government employees and contractors.

Cobert was appointed to the position by President Barack Obama on July 10, 2015. She was previously the deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget. Under Cobert's leadership, OMB improved its IT spending reporting, modernized citizen-facing services through teams such as the U.S. Digital Service, and implemented initiatives to improve federal employee engagement.

In her first blog post as acting director, Cobert explained the actions the agency is taking to mitigate the damage from the cyberintrusions, sharing that she took a training course on IT security: "Being new to OPM, I recently took the agency's IT Security and Privacy Awareness Training. The training was a good reminder that using cybersecurity best practices is a responsibility we all share and that we must remain on guard against phishing emails and other threats that are ever present in today's digital workplace."

While cybersecurity remains a central issue for the agency, Cobert's other priorities include improving the federal hiring process, using data to boost employee engagement, and developing leadership training programs.

Denise Turner Roth
General Services Administration

On August 7, 2015, the Senate confirmed Denise Turner Roth to head the General Services Administration (GSA). "My vision moving forward is for the agency to be a proactive federal partner for government, and an economic catalyst for local communities, while also continuing our efforts to drive operational excellence," Roth said.

Roth had been serving as deputy administrator at GSA for more than a year. She has focused on eliminating duplicative services across the agency, saving taxpayers more than $200 million through this effort. Roth's determination to make the GSA more efficient is reflected in her statement: "We must continue to do the work we've been doing to improve the structure of the organization so we can better support our partner agencies. Every step we take to make GSA stronger, the better off our partner agencies will be."

Peter Neffenger
Transportation Security Administration

Peter Neffenger was sworn in as the sixth administrator for Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on July 13, 2015. Neffenger had recently retired from the U.S. Coast Guard, where he served for 34 years.

TSA's previous acting administrator, Melvin Carraway, was forced from the job following reports from the Department of Homeland Security that its undercover agents had repeatedly breached airport security, and Neffenger was swiftly ushered into the top role at TSA.

Neffenger is a recognized expert in crisis management, port security, and oversight of the commercial maritime industry. He served as the deputy national incident commander for the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the largest in U.S. history.

About the Author

The Association for Talent Development (ATD) is a professional membership organization supporting those who develop the knowledge and skills of employees in organizations around the world. The ATD Staff, along with a worldwide network of volunteers work to empower professionals to develop talent in the workplace.

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