FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Harry M. Seidman, Administrative Conference of the United States
Congress Implements ACUS Recommendation to Improve Public Access to Information About Senior Government Officials
Washington, D.C., February 6, 2023 – Congress recently directed the federal executive branch to implement ACUS Recommendation 2019-8, Public Identification of Agency Officials. The new law will improve the public availability of information about senior officials across the federal government.
Adopted by the ACUS Assembly two years ago, Recommendation 2019-8 encouraged agencies to publish on their websites basic information about high-level agency leaders and identify vacant leadership positions and acting officials. It also recommended that the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) regularly publish on its website a list of high-level agency leaders, as well as an archival list of former Senate-confirmed presidential appointees.
The Assembly was informed by a comprehensive report by then-ACUS Attorney Advisor Bobby Ochoa.
The Periodically Listing Updates to Management (PLUM) Act, which became law as part of the James M. Inhofe National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2023, requires OPM to establish and regularly update a public website containing data on government policy and supporting positions. Agencies must provide OPM with any information it deems necessary to establish and maintain the site.
The new site will replace the United States Government Policy and Supporting Positions, more commonly known as the Plum Book, which a congressional committee publishes after each presidential election. As Ochoa and ACUS Committee Chair Aaron Nielson noted, editions of the Plum Book offered only “a snapshot in time. Between editions, it can be difficult to find reliable information about who leads the federal government.”
The PLUM Act was first introduced in January 2020 and, over the next few years, garnered bipartisan support from members of Congress and almost two dozen civic organizations. Rep. Carolyn Maloney, then-Chair of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, explained that the bill “would implement” recommendations made by ACUS and the Government Accountability Office.
ACUS Chair Andrew Fois said about the new law: “ACUS is thrilled to see another one of its recommendations implemented, this time by congress. We believe that this legislation will help make the government more transparent. We are grateful to the Congress, and everyone who worked on this, for this success.”
The Administrative Conference of the United States is an independent, non-partisan federal agency within the executive branch dedicated to improving administrative law and federal regulatory processes. It conducts applied research, and provides expert recommendations and other advice, to improve federal agency procedures. Its membership is composed of senior federal officials, academics, and other experts from the private sector. Since 1968, ACUS has issued hundreds of recommendations, published reports and reference guides, and organized forums to improve the efficiency, adequacy, and fairness of administrative processes such as rulemaking and adjudication. Many have resulted in reforms by federal agencies, the President, Congress, and the Judicial Conference of the United States. Learn more at www.acus.gov.
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