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John Sullivan confirmed as Deputy Secretary, U.S. Department of State

May 26, 2017: John J. Sullivan was confirmed as the Deputy Secretary of the U.S. Department of State by the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, May 24, 2017. Sullivan, 57, of Maryland, was nominated by President Trump on April 11, 2017. Sullivan is currently a partner at the Washington, D.C., office of Mayer Brown LLP, and he is the co-chairman of the firm’s national security practice. Sullivan previously held senior-level posts at the U.S. Departments of Justice, Defense and Commerce. He was until 2009 the Deputy Secretary of the Commerce Department; the Commerce Department General Counsel from 2005 to 2007; and he was previously the Deputy General Counsel at the Defense Department; and the Counselor to Assistant Attorney General J. Michael Luttig at the Justice Department. Sullivan received his law degree from the Columbia University School of Law.

Kevin Lilly appointed Presiding Officer, Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission


May 26, 2017: Kevin Lilly was appointed as the Presiding Officer of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission by Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday, May 10, 2017. Lilly, of Houston, is the founding partner, president and chief executive officer of Avalon Advisors Wealth Management. Lilly was previously appointed to the Texas State University System Board of Regents. He was also previously a Trustee at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans; the Houston Museum of Natural Science; and the Houston Symphony.

Christina Kishimoto appointed as Superintendent, Hawaii Education Department


May 26, 2017: Christina Kishimoto has been appointed as the Superintendent of the Hawaii State Department of Education, effective on August 1, 2017, the State Board of Education announced on Friday, May 19, 2017. Kishimoto succeeds Kathryn Matayoshi, who is scheduled to leave office on June 30, 2017. Kishimoto signed a three-year contract. She is scheduled to receive an annual salary of about $240,000. Kishimoto is set to start her transition from her current post as the Superintendent of the Gilbert Public Schools District in Arizona. Kishimoto has been the Gilbert Public Schools Superintendent since July, 2014. Kishimoto received a master's degree in public affairs from the University of Connecticut and a doctorate from Columbia University.

George Nesterczuk nominated as U.S. Office of Personnel Management Director


May 26, 2017: George Nesterczuk has been nominated as the Director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM). Nesterczuk has worked on federal personnel policies on the Republican side, in several posts, for more than thirty years. Nesterczuk is currently the director of the Nesterczuk and Associates management consulting company. He was previously a Senior Adviser at OPM during the Reagan administration, and he went on to positions at the Defense Department and Transportation Department. Among other later positions, he was the Chief of Staff for the U.S. House subcommittee overseeing the federal workforce in the late 1990s, and he returned to OPM as a Senior Adviser in 2004, playing a key role in establishing the National Security Personnel System at the Defense Department. The NSPS was an alternative personnel system that ultimately applied to more than 200,000 civilian employees of the department and in its time was seen as a potential model for the entire federal workforce. It was designed to tie pay and awards more closely to performance ratings while giving management greater power over disciplinary matters. However, unions viewed it as allowing for favoritism and it was abandoned in 2009 when Congress and the White House were controlled by Democrats.

OPM has not had a confirmed Director since mid-2015, when Katherine Archuleta resigned in the wake of disclosures that personal information had been stolen from OPM databases on federal employees, retirees and other people who had undergone background investigations. Beth Cobert was the Acting Director for the remainder of the Obama administration; she was nominated but never confirmed because of a dispute dating to before she arrived about OPM’s interpretation of the Affordable Care Act’s impact on health coverage for members of Congress. Kathleen McGettigan, the OPM Chief Management Officer, has been the OPM Acting Director since the start of the Trump administration.

James Griffin appointed Acting Member, Hawaii Public Utilities Commission


May 26, 2017: James Griffin has been appointed as an Acting Member of the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission (PUC), effective on June 5, 2017. Griffin is a natural energy researcher at the University of Hawaii, Manoa. The appointment follows the State Senate’s rejection late last month, April, 2017, of Gov. David Ige’s previous appointee for the PUC, Thomas Gorak, on a 15-10 vote. Ige had appointed Gorak, who had been the PUC’s Chief Counsel, to the three-Member Commission about two weeks before the other two Members--Chairman Randy Iwase and Lorraine Akiba--voted to reject NextEra Energy’s proposed $4.3 billion acquisition of the Hawaiian Electric Company. Griffin, a faculty member who works at the university’s Hawaii Natural Energy Institute, was previously the Chief of Policy and Research at the PUC. Griffin received joint master’s degrees in public policy and environmental management from Duke University; his master’s degree in economics from the University of California at Santa Barbara; and his Ph.D. in policy analysis from Pardee RAND Graduate School in Santa Monica in 2008.

Paul Compton nominated as HUD General Counsel


May 26, 2017: Paul Compton has been nominated as the General Counsel at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Compton is currently a partner at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP. Compton is a banking lawyer in Birmingham, Alabama. He has worked on tax credits, including historic tax credits, industrial incentives and new markets tax credits. Compton has worked on more than fifty acquisitions and sales of financial institutions, and the formation of more than fifteen banks, bank holding companies and insurance companies. Compton has worked at Bradley since 1989, after his graduation from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Callista Gingrich nominated as U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican


May 26, 2017: Callista L. Gingrich was nominated as the U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican yesterday, Thursday, May 25, 2017. Gingrich, 51, of Virginia, is the president of Gingrich Productions. She is married to former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and 2012 Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. In 1988, just out of college, she accepted an internship in Washington, D.C., at the office of U.S. Rep. Steve Gunderson, Republican. At the end of the internship she joined Gunderson's Congressional staff, where she worked until 1995. In 1995, she moved to the House Committee on Agriculture, where she worked as the Chief Clerk until 2007.