Government Printing Office officially changes leadership

The Government Printing Office has a new public printer, after the Senate failed in December to confirm the nomination of outgoing leader Bill Boarman.

On Tuesday, former chief of staff to the public printer Davita Vance-Cooks became acting public printer of the GPO. Vance-Cooks is the first woman to hold the position in the agency’s 150-year history.

“I am honored and humbled to serve as GPO's Acting Public Printer and I look forward to continue working with GPO employees as we serve the needs of Congress, federal agencies, and the public," wrote Vance-Cooks in a statement.

"I want to thank Bill Boarman for the opportunity to serve as his deputy and Chief of Staff,” she added. “I have enjoyed working everyday, side-by-side with [Boarman] as we reinvented GPO into the digital information platform it is today.”

Boarman appointed Vance-Cooks to the position on Dec. 20, just days after the Senate’s rejection of his nomination to retain the post.

“I want to appoint a deputy; I have the right to do that under Title 44,” Boarman told The Hill in late December. “There will be a real nice transition because under the law, the deputy automatically becomes the acting public printer. So GPO will have good effective leadership going forward; there won’t be any break in that.”

Vance-Cooks has held a series of senior management positions at the GPO for the past eight years. She told The Hill that she plans to continue on with cost-cutting initiatives introduced during Boarman’s tenure.

“The agency is in a really good place, we’re moving forward with very positive results,” she said in December. “My primary goal is to make sure that we stay the course.”

No specific reason has yet been given for the Senate’s decision to reject Boarman.

“I just think that at some point someone said, ‘We have an issue with him and we’re not letting him through,’ but they wouldn’t say what the issue was,” Boarman said following the Senate’s decision.

President Obama’s nomination of Boarman to the position had been held up in the Senate for nearly two years. It was disclosed earlier this year that Sens. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) and Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) had blocked the nomination from consideration because of disputes stemming from separate issues relating to the National Labor Relations Board.

Hatch and Isakson later removed their objections to Boarman’s nomination, but the Senate still sent his name back to the White House, removing Boarman from consideration.

Boarman said he plans to stay on as a special assistant to the public printer for several months after the leadership transition.

“It will allow me to focus on maybe putting down on paper some issues that I feel need to be addressed that I didn’t have time in the busy schedule to do,” he said. “And give [Vance-Cooks] whatever advice she might need from me.”

"I have great confidence and trust in [Vance-Cooks] and her ability to serve as the leader of GPO,” Boarman wrote in Tuesday’s statement. Her “institutional knowledge of GPO combined with her experience in the private sector makes her the ideal person to assume the position of Acting Public Printer."