Dale Cabaniss, the director of the government’s Office of Personnel Management, resigned abruptly on Tuesday, effective immediately.
Cabaniss stepped down because of, what two people familiar with the matter said, was poor treatment from the 29-year-old head of the Presidential Personnel Office, John McEntee, and a powerful appointee at OPM, Paul Dans, the new White House liaison and senior adviser to the director of OPM.
OPM Deputy Director Michael Rigas is now acting director of OPM, according to an OPM spokesperson.
Cabaniss had been at the agency only since September.
The departure casts a cloud of uncertainty over the federal workforce as it struggles to decide how to handle the coronavirus outbreak, with growing questions about the Trump administration’s decision to keep most government offices open and how it is handling remote work.
OPM is the human resources management policy shop for the federal government’s civil service, and it deals with health benefits and retirement, among other issues. Cabaniss is a former Republican staff director of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee’s subcommittee on financial services and general government and was chairman of the Federal Labor Relations Authority in the Bush administration. Cabaniss didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
McEntee’s return to the White House has roiled the administration with some officials criticizing the former Trump campaign staffer for what they see as an effort to stock the administration with his friends, including at least three college seniors. …
Within the past week, Jonathan Blyth is also no longer chief of staff at OPM and has moved back to OPM’s congressional affairs shop, which he now heads, according to two people familiar with his move, one of which said it reflects McEntee’s growing clout within the administration.
Adding to the tension: The White House has hired a third college senior to be an administration official in a sensitive post, according to four people familiar with the matter.
As some prominent Democrats call for the military to help out more with the response to the coronavirus crisis, John Troup Hemenway has been hired on a 30-day detail to help the deputy director of the Presidential Personnel Office, Michael Burley, with paperwork for Defense Department political appointees, according to one of the people. Hemenway is expected to graduate from the University of Virginia in December.
Hemenway, who is in his 20s and started last week, is the third college senior to be hired in short order by the White House. One administration official praised him by saying he’s “really good at what he does.”
James Bacon, 23 and a senior at George Washington University, was hired to be one of McEntee’s righthand men as he tries to fill the Trump administration with loyalists and fire anyone who they suspect of disloyalty.
Anthony Labruna, who is expected to graduate from Iowa State University in May but was dismissed from the Trump campaign in February, was also recently named deputy White House liaison at the Department of Commerce.
Hemenway, who worked on the Trump campaign in 2016, got his start in the Trump administration when he was on the “beachhead” transition team at the Department of Defense and then worked in Department of Defense’s White House liaison’s office, according to an administration official. At various points during his time at the Defense Department, Hemenway was working to finish his degree, according to two administration officials. …
Things have gotten so chaotic in this administration, it’s hard to even sort out what’s going on. And, as if this isn’t bad enough, Politico didn’t even mention McEntee’s shady background – covered here by Business Insider in February: