President Obama’s new director of the powerful Office of Management and Budget is now on duty, but OMB's executive suite has become a virtual ghost town.
Acting director Jeffrey Zients departed OMB on May 1, OMB confirmed late Friday.
Zients had served as the agency's deputy director for management since April, 2009, a spot that is now vacant. He stepped up to temporarily head OMB in 2010 after the departure of Peter Orszag in 2010. Obama eventually appointed now-Treasury Secretary Jack Lew to head OMB, but Zients was called on again when Obama tabbed Lew as the White House chief of staff in 2012.
During his time in the administration, Zients was charged with organizing a full-scale reorganization of the federal government. The plan, which has thus far failed to gain traction in Congress, would be the first full reorganization in more than 50 years.
When nominating Burwell in March, President Obama said he expected that Zients's "skill and versatility" would "continue to serve us well in the future," although did not specify in what capacity.
Robert Gordon, the executive associate director, had served as acting deputy director for management. Last month, he left OMB to join the Brookings Institution as an education policy scholar.
Burwell is also functioning now without a deputy director, who usually coordinates the writing of the budget, as well as a deputy director for management.
Obama has nominated Brian Deese to be deputy director, but he has not yet been confirmed. The vacancies go even deeper. OMB has been lacking a top regulations coordinator since August, 2012, when Cass Sunstein stepped down.
Obama last week nominated Howard Shelanski to fill this role at OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which steers regulation through the interagency and public comment section. No hearing on his nomination has been announced.
The top vacancies come on top of furloughs due to sequestration.
OMB issued furloughs on March 7 to 480 employees. They will be furloughed for 10 days between the week of April 21 and the end of September.
It remains to be seen how the personnel issues at OMB will affect its work. The annual budget season will not heat up until the fall, but the office will likely not want to repeat the two-month delay it had in delivering Obama’s budget this year. The budget came out in April despite being due in early February.
--Justin Sink contributed to this report.
--This report was originally published at 7:30 a.m. and last updated at 11:10 a.m.