Aug 10, 2017

A Message From The Commissioner

Date: August 8, 2017 Refer To: S7A-4

To: Senior Staff

From: Nancy A. Berryhill /s/
Acting Commissioner 

Subject: Organizational Realignment - INFORMATION

I continue to identify opportunities to improve efficiency and public service by unifying efforts and advancing our ability to make data-driven decisions.

Today, I am announcing the establishment of a Deputy Commissioner-level organization – the Office of Analytics, Review, and Oversight (OARO) – which will be implemented October 1, 2017. The six offices involved that will form this organization are as follows:

From the Office of Budget, Finance, Quality, and Management:
 • Office of Anti-Fraud Programs; 
 • Office of Business Improvement;
• Office of Quality Review; and
• Audit Liaison Staff 

From the Office of Disability Adjudication and Review:
• Office of Appellate Operations;

From the Office of the Commissioner:
 • Analytics Center of Excellence

Integration of these organizations with complementary missions provides an opportunity to mature our anti-fraud efforts, institutionalize and foster data analysis in our programs, improve coordination to provide oversight of the disability adjudication system, and communicate a unified message within and outside the agency. This restructuring presents an opportunity to maximize our resources and better organize efforts to explore and develop the future of analyses and oversight. I said in my first communication January 23rd that we will be mission focused and mission driven. The establishment of this organization further demonstrates a commitment to maximizing our performance and employee engagement while enhancing and improving agency policies and processes so that we provide quality public service.

Pat Jonas will be Deputy Commissioner, OARO and Amy Thompson will serve as Acting Assistant Deputy Commissioner, OARO. 

In addition to this new organization structure, the Office of Budget, Finance, Quality, and Management will be the Office of Budget, Finance, and Management (OBFM). The Office of Disability Adjudication and Review will be the Office of Hearings Operations (OHO). 

Please join me in congratulating our colleagues on their new assignment. I am sure I can count on you to give them your full cooperation as they begin the task of integration and moving forward.

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

Is there anyone even remotely being considered as commish these days or just a continuing series of acting place holders?

Anonymous said...

@11:11

I was curious so I did some research. Both the Commissioner and deputy Commissioner are appointed with the advice and consent of congress under 42 USC 902 for 6 year terms. Acting commissioners and deputy commissioners can serve up to 210 days. Nomination of an acting commissioner, under the federal vacancies reform act of 1998, would immediately stop the acting commissioner from serving in the position while the nomination is considered by the senate. 210 days from Berryhill being appointed acting commissioner is in a week and a half. I'm not sure why Colvin was allowed to act as Commissioner without consent of congress. The vacancies reform act seems pretty clear that with or without a nomination, and even then if the nomination isn't consented to by congress, there is a 210 day limit. There are a few ways to extend the limit, by another 210 days.

Then again, I'm not sure who would have standing to sue over the matter. I've seen some litigation over the "acting" issue with the SEC, but not at all in regard to SSA. It will be interesting to see if the matter goes anywhere.

Anonymous said...

You would have to check with Cheeto.

Anonymous said...


Would anyone who understands what this means please explain it in plain English? Is the Appeals Council being separated from the hearing level for some reason? It sounds like that is what is going on – that the AC is being regarded as some sort of analytic functionary, rather than an integral part of the adjudication process. But that makes no sense, if it is truly handling appeals from hearing decisions.

Anybody have the inside scoop?

Anonymous said...

We trained hard, but it seemed that every time we were beginning to form up into teams we were reorganized. I was to learn later in life that we tend to meet any new situation by reorganizing, and what a wonderful method it can be for creating the illusion of progress while actually producing confusion, inefficiency, and demoralization.

Anonymous said...

Don't let the wording of the offices fool you, Fraud..Audit..Improvement...Liason...yeah right!...Code words for thoroughly saving money with a fine tooth comb to include improving that 40% that manage to get approved. In other words that 40% will be going down!

Anonymous said...

I figure this is the result of Trump demanding reorganization of all the department's to eliminate waste. Like all the expense of re publishing and reordering stuff that says OHO. Seriously???

Anonymous said...

Agree with 7:37
Remember Mulvaney decreed that every federal agency put forth a plan to cut spending and costs. This is probably part of the SSA'a proposal to meet those objectives. Its probably just a lot of smoke and mirrors.

Anonymous said...

Sooooo. "In addition to this new organization structure, the Office of Budget, Finance, Quality, and Management will be the Office of Budget, Finance, and Management (OBFM)." I guess they are just dropping any pretense that "quality" is part of the mission. ;)

Anonymous said...

@1:51

BRAVO! This is entirely consistent with my near 3 decades of Hearings Office employment.

Anonymous said...

@11:49

On December 22, 2010, the United States Senate confirmed President Obama’s nomination of Carolyn W. Colvin as Deputy Commissioner of Social Security to a term that expired on January 19, 2013. Thus she was a senate confirmed individual, even after the term expired so the 210 day limitation you speak of doesn't apply. That only applies to persons not confirmed by the Senate, as has come up a few times regarding the current administration's own cabinet and federal leadership positions. As far as I've seen, no one has been nominated to either of SSA's two senate confirmed positions, so career staff is filling those slots. I also believe that should someone like Berryhill be nominated to hold the job, presidential nominees cannot serve as acting leaders until confirmed.

Anonymous said...

no more requests to review hearing decisions?

Anonymous said...

It feels like we just became another part of Operations and so long to the appearance of independent decision-making.

Anonymous said...

I am not certain Colvin was ever confirmed Deputy SSA Commissioner, I am aware she was coaxed out of retirement to be nominated and confirmed SSA Commissioner. When she agreed to do so, she became "Acting SSA Commissioner." In December 2013, when the Senate confirmed many Obama nominees and Colvin was expected to be included among them, she was NOT confirmed SSA Commissioner. Apparently this was due to many issues concerning the DCPS debacle, misconduct among certain personnel being swept under the rug, etc. Thus, Colvin was NEVER confirmed SSA Commissioner. Obama also DID NOT renominates Colvin for SSA Commissioner. You may recall Obama nominated Andrew Lamont Eanes, who Colvin and co. went to great lengths to force out. Colvin remained "Acting SSA Commissioner," but her title never reverted back to Deputy SSA Commissioner, and I do not recall Colvin ever having that job title.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the fake news that Carolyn Colvin was not confirmed by the senate - then in her 2014 testimony she lied to Congress (https://www.congress.gov/113/chrg/shrg95582/CHRG-113shrg95582.htm) about what the Congressional Record documented here https://www.congress.gov/congressional-record/2010/12/22

Must be easier to make things up than look them up, but seriously, facts are facts.

Anonymous said...

@7:47

Colvin was NEVER CONFIRMED SSA Commissioner. This is NOT FAKE NEWS. Your FACTS are ALTERNATIVE FACTS.
Colvin was officially "Acting SSA Commissioner" in 2013 after Obama coaxed her out of retirement so he could nominate her for SSA Commissioner. She was NOT confirmed by the Senate in December 2013, as anticipated, nor did Obama reappoint her for the position - He appointed Andrew Lamont Eanes. Whether Colvin previously had some sort of Deputy Commissioner title over a department before all this happened, I am not certain. These are FACTS.

Anonymous said...

@7:47

The two websites you cite are inaccurate and do not substantiate your assertions or the true FACTS concerning Colvin and history.