Feb 3, 2016

Hearing On Eanes Nomination

William Lamont Eanes
     The Senate Finance Committee will be holding a hearing on February 4 on the nomination of Andrew Lamont Eanes to become Deputy Commissioner of Social Security. The hearing will not just be on Eanes' nomination. The nominations of a Deputy Secretary of HHS and two Tax Court judges will be on the table. This suggests that the hearing is little more than a formality.
     If Eanes is confirmed, he will immediately replace Carolyn Colvin as Acting Commissioner of Social Security. Colvin's term as Deputy Commissioner expired quite some time ago. The Senate never acted on her nomination to become Commissioner. I don't believe he renominated her after the last midterm election. Eanes had been nominated on July 31, 2014.
     Here's what I can find out about Eanes from a Cleveland Plain Dealer article
  • From Cleveland and still roots for the Browns (poor man)
  • Goes by Lamont
  • About 59 years old
  • Has a wife and two grown sons
  • He worked for an Ohio state senator and later coordinated his run for mayor of Cleveland
  • Has an undergraduate degree from Northern Ohio University and an MBA from Baldwin Wallace University
  • Has worked in Kansas City, Baltimore, Hong Kong and Sydney
  • Has been chief operating office of two telecommunications companies. In 2012 he and his wife started Agile Government Services, a software consulting business that mostly serves the Department of Defense.
  • "Eanes said he heard about the job opening at Social Security's headquarters in Baltimore and applied with no special connections. 'I was an Obama enthusiast but not particularly involved.'"
     When I posted about Eanes' nomination in 2014 almost all the comments had to do directly or indirectly with Eanes' race. Most commentators simply assumed he is incompetent and got the nomination merely because of his race. That's disgusting. Eanes has held positions of significant responsibility in the past. He lacks Social Security experience. It would be nice if he did but that's usually not the case with high level appointments at Social Security no matter who the President is and regardless of the race of the person being nominated. 
     I have no idea why this nomination is moving forward at this time but I'd have to guess the Carolyn Colvin, the Acting Commissioner of Social Security, wants to retire now.


Anonymous said...

Charles - you may want to check the information on whether he replaces Ms. Colvin as acting Commissioner - immediately or at all.

Anonymous said...

An Obama supporter selected to one of the highest executive positions in an agency that impacts everyone in the USA who lacks any experience related to that agency. Yeah, I can see that person as the most qualified individual for such a position.

Anonymous said...

Your information is wrong.
He was a strong supporter of our current President.
He helped his campaign, worked for Sprint where he gave lots of money to the party. He was appointed by the President to replace the ACOSS.

The ACOSS is not retiring until next summer - FYI

Anonymous said...

He came on board and immediately established his credentials in the tech area by overhauling the Systems leadership. He's got a very strong tech background and hands on leadership that he used to assess the existing and potential Systems leadership and was instrumental in setting up those now in place and their views on how tech at SSA should be managed. He is not a stupid man by any stretch of the imagination.

As for political aspects, virtually every presidential appointee, GOP or DEM is a strong supporter of the administration and that's nothing new or extraordinary.

Colvin is a senate confirmed DCOSS who was nominated to be ACOSS. She remains a senate confirmed person who is acting at the COSS job.

I'm not clear on the term he'd have and if he'd cross over into the next President but I'm pretty sure that him being the confirmed DC he'd not bump Colvin from the nominated ACOSS slot (unless or until she left.) She's hanging in there, but she isn't exactly in great physical shape (but she's sharp as a tack mentally). I suspect her health likely pushed to have someone in line to run things just in case.

Anonymous said...

@1:06 -- Colvin is Acting Commissioner pursuant to § 702(b)(4) of the Social Security Act, which provides that "the Deputy Commissioner shall be Acting Commissioner of the Administration [in the Commissioner's absence or disability or], unless the President designates designates another officer of the Government as Acting Commissioner, in the event of a vacancy in the Office of the Commissioner". § 702(b)(2) provides that "In any case in which a successor does not take office at the end of a Deputy Commissioner’s term of office, such Deputy Commissioner may continue in office until the entry upon office of such a successor."

Should Eanes be confirmed, he will immediately take office as Deputy Commissioner pursuant to 702(b)(2), succeeding Colvin. Since the office of the Commissioner is vacant, he will then also be the Acting Commissioner under 702(b)(4), unless the President designates another officer as Acting Commissioner as provided in this section.

Anonymous said...

But the Commissioner's office isn't vacant, it is being held by an Acting Commissioner who has been nominated for the position by the President. That's not the same as the office being vacant (i.e., no one is in the office), and as such, what was proposed as an action doesn't follow. What I think is that as nominated but not confirmed, her term expires on 1/19/17 (or maybe noon 1/20/17) as any other Presidential appointee as the President who nominated her leaves office and her claim on the job expires with his administration. At which point the office would be vacant and what was described concerning someone who is a senate confirmed executive would come into play.

Anonymous said...

9:27 - there is always an Acting Commissioner (a requirement under the Federal Vacancies Reform Act), but SSA has had no permanent Commissioner since Astrue left SSA in February 2013. The mere fact Colvin was nominated to to the office of Commissioner is irrelevant. She has not been confirmed by the Senate, and nomination alone provides no special standing.

Moreover, Colvin's term does not expire on 1/19/17; it ended in January 2013 along with Astrue's. She is only continuing to serve because the statute allows the Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner to serve past the end of their terms until the confirmation of a successor (sec. 704(b)(2) for the Deputy Commissioner).

Note too that SSA is an independent agency and the Commissioner's term is not tied to presidential terms like executive departments. If Eanes or Colvin are confirmed, their terms will extend through January 2019, irrespective of any Administration changes next January.