Vacancy Act Violation Letter-Department of Veterans Affairs, July 20, 2005

B-305188: Jul 20, 2005

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Pursuant to section 3349(b) of title 5 of the United States Code, we are reporting a violation of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 at the Department of Veterans Affairs. As Congress may know, the Vacancies Reform Act established new requirements for the temporary filling of vacant executive agency positions that require Presidential appointment and Senate confirmation. The Act generally limits the period of time that such a position may be filled with an acting official to 210 days. Section 3349(b) of the Act requires the Comptroller General, upon a determination that an acting official is serving longer than the 210-day period and any applicable extensions, to report such finding to Congress, the President, and the Office of Personnel Management.

As required by the Vacancies Reform Act, the Department of Veterans Affairs reported to us that a vacancy in the position of Under Secretary for Health began on April 7, 2004, when Under Secretary Robert Roswell resigned. The position of Under Secretary for Health requires Presidential appointment and Senate confirmation, and thus is subject to the Vacancies Reform Act. The Department also reported to us that Dr. Jonathan Perlin, served in an acting capacity from April 8, 2004, until April 28, 2005, when he was confirmed by the Senate as Under Secretary for Health.