Washington: US President Joe Biden has named Indian-American lawyer and rights activist Kiran Ahuja as the head of the Office of Personnel Management, a federal agency that manages more than two million US civil servants.
If confirmed by the Senate, the 49-year-old Ahuja would become the first Indian-American to serve this top position in the US government.
Ahuja served as the chief of staff to the director of the US Office of Personnel Management from 2015 to 2017. He has more than two decades of public service and non-profit / nonprofit sector leadership experience.
Ahuja currently serves as the CEO of Philanthropy Northwest, a regional network of philanthropic institutions.
He began his career as a civil rights lawyer in the US Department of Justice, settled school segregation cases and filed the department’s first student racial harassment case.
From 2003 to 2008, Ahuja served as the founding executive director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum, an advocacy and membership organization.
During the Obama-Biden administration, he spent six years as the Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, pioneering efforts to increase access to federal services, resources and programs for key services.
Ahuja grew up in Georgia in Savannah as a young Indian immigrant in the Civil Rights era, and received a bachelor’s degree in political science from Spelman College and a law degree from the University of Georgia.
The Washington Post said Ahuja would have a mandate to reverse former President Donald Trump’s civil service policies, which he and his top aides often regarded as “deep states” of Democratic bureaucrats.
Many agencies lost experts in many fields during the Trump era, and Biden has vowed to rejuvenate the workforce, the daily reports.
Congressional Gerry Connolly, chairman of the House Government Operations Subcommittee, welcomed Ahuja’s nomination.
“Ahuja’s leadership experience and OPM’s knowledge are very essential to rebuilding an agency that was targeted for elimination in the last administration,” he said.
“Ahuja is a renowned and expert leader who will build stability and trust in OPM as it recruits, retires, retires and retires our 2.8 million federal employees. I look forward to its swift Senate confirmation, and then our nation needs it to work hard to convert OPM into a human resource and leadership training organization, ”said Connolly.
President Biden has made an excellent choice in Ahuja’s nomination to serve as director of OPM, Congresswoman Judy Chu said.
“With over two decades of experience serving in the government, nonprofit and philanthropic sectors, Kiran is uniquely qualified to lead OPM at this critical juncture as we work to build a federal workforce that Refers to the full diversity of our country. “
“As former chief of staff as director of OPM and former executive director of the White House Initiative on Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders under the Obama Administration, he will bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to OPM that will enable him to hit The ground is moving one day, ”Chu said.
Max Stear, president and chief executive officer of Partnership for Public Service, said Ahuja is a citizen-minded leader and an excellent choice for this important work.
His exceptional qualifications include more than two decades of nonprofit leadership and public service, including OPM and the White House, and a track record of addressing human capital issues through innovation and collaboration, he notes.
In a statement, employees of the American Federation of Government said Ahuja brings a wealth of experience in federal personnel matters and his record of advocacy on behalf of women of color is reason to be optimistic to address the active weaknesses of the previous administration Will make it a priority for Diversity and inclusion efforts in government.
“Ahuja has the knowledge and experience that OPM needs to guide HR policy for the federal workforce. And importantly, he is committed to protecting the non-partisan civil service and ensuring that it reflects the diversity of the United States, ”said Tony Reardon, president of the National Treasury Employees Association.
“During the Trump administration, the agency was constantly hampered by attempts to disband and eliminate it, to condemn employees who depended on OPM for the independence of federal employees and the management of important federal employee programs.
“We believe this appointment will result in stable, professional leadership at OPM, which is committed to protecting its unique role in operating federal retirement programs and other human resource management priorities,” he said.