Under Secretary Leaves DOT for OMB

July 12, 2019

Under Secretary of Transportation for Policy Derek Kan has left the Department of Transportation to take a senior post at the White House Office of Management and Budget.

There was no formal announcement from either place, but DOT has gotten around to removing Kan from the “Meet Key Officials” page of their website. His departure leaves both the #2 DOT job (Deputy Secretary) and #3 slot (Under Secretary) vacant. (Former Deputy Secretary of Transportation Jeff Rosen was recently confirmed by the Senate to be Deputy Attorney General instead.) Joel Szabat, the Senate-confirmed Assistant Secretary of Transportation for Aviation and International Affairs, is now Acting Under Secretary.

At OMB, things are complicated. The Senate-confirmed OMB Director, Mick Mulvaney, has his hands full being Acting White House Chief of Staff. Mulvaney has two Senate-confirmed OMB Deputy Directors. The general deputy, Russ Vought, is Acting OMB Director, and the other, Margaret Weichert (Deputy Director for Management), is busy being Acting Director of the Office of Personnel Management.

The top OMB post that does not require Senate confirmation (at least on the Obama Administration’s OMB org chart – there is no current OMB org chart published online as far as we can tell) – is Executive Associate Director, which is the post Kan has now filled. That presumably makes him Acting Deputy Director.

There is no word yet on when the President will nominate replacements for Rosen and Kan.

(For a good summary of what OMB does and how it is organized, see this 2016 transition report from the Baker Institute.)

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