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[Editor’s note 8/6/19: Andy Sherman, who was accused in this story, but who served admirably for 38 years at GPO in several administrative positions, sent me this Letter to Chairman Blunt that he sent in January, 2019. Andy explains that there was no misconduct, and gratefully allowed me to post the letter to FGI in order for our readers to have a fuller understanding of this news story. With this context, as well as the knowledge that the June 2018 report was sent to Congress but that neither the House Administration Committee nor the Senate Rules and Administration Committee took any action, should clarify this tempest in a teapot story. Thanks Andy!]
This scandal has been slowly boiling at GPO for quite some time — well before Davita Vance Cooks resigned as GPO Director in November, 2017 and may be part of the reason that Robert Tapella’s nomination as GPO Director was recently withdrawn. You can read more in the June 21, 2018 Interim Report Of Investigation Into Alleged Misconduct By Two Senior GPO Managers. Tune in to the Senate Rules and Administration Committee hearing “Oversight of the Government Publishing Office Office of the Inspector General” on Wednesday July 24 at 10:30am EST. Whatever the outcome, this is sure to have a negative impact on the management of the FDLP.
Allegations of cronyism, wasteful spending and other misconduct are roiling a little-known federal agency in charge of producing and distributing the government’s official documents, including paper questionnaires for the upcoming 2020 census.
According to an internal watchdog report obtained by NPR, two officials at the U.S. Government Publishing Office — previously known as the Government Printing Office — allegedly violated federal laws and regulations by filling agency jobs with unqualified candidates, including an official’s son. The GPO’s Office of Inspector General has not finalized its findings, but in June, it sent an interim report to the joint congressional committee that oversees the agency.
GPO Director Davita Vance-Cooks is leaving GPO for the private sector. Congratulations to Ms Vance-Cooks. The first African-American and first woman to lead the agency, she did so ably for 6 years.
While this shouldn’t be a surprise — GPO directors (nee “public printers”) are political appointees named by Presidents after all — the timing of this announcement is perhaps problematic given that the community is in the midst of discussions and possible legislation to change Title 44 of the US code, impacting both FDLP libraries and the operations and funding of GPO itself.
With that context in mind, the position of GPO director is extremely important in helping to drive positive legislative change while mitigating the possible negatives that always come out in the legislative process. The current GPO policies that are supportive of FDLP could literally change overnight with a different director. This makes the Title 44 negotiations all the more critical as the code is the force of law which tells GPO what they can and can’t do. So it’s important to keep the momentum going and get good policy into Title 44; and not just Chapter 19, but ALL of the chapters which have implications for GPO budgets and ability to continue to maintain FDLP activities.
The naming of Jim Bradley — a good ally to the FDLP program! — as acting director will hopefully ease the transition. And, since he’s been active in the title 44 debate, GPO and the FDLP hopefully won’t miss a beat.
The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) Director Davita Vance-Cooks has announced her departure from Federal service to accept a job in the private sector. By law, GPO Deputy Director Jim Bradley assumes the duties of Acting GPO Director until a replacement is appointed.
Vance-Cooks was nominated by President Obama and confirmed by the Senate in 2013 to be the 27th Public Printer of the United States. Prior to confirmation, she served as Acting Public Printer for 19 months. A seasoned business executive with more than 35 years of private sector and Federal management experience, she was the first woman and the first African-American to lead the agency.