Vacancy Act Violation Letter-Department of Commerce, July 12, 2006

B-307351: Jul 12, 2006

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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 Commerce. As you 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. 5 U.S.C. 3346, Section 3349(b) 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 Commerce reported to us that a vacancy in the position of the Assistant Secretary for Import Administration began on January 8, 2005, when Assistant Secretary James Jochum resigned. This position requires Presidential appointment and Senate confirmation under the provisions of 15 U.S.C, 1505, and thus is subject to the Vacancies Reform Act. 5 U.S.C. 3345(a). The Department also reported to us that on January 9, 2005, Joseph Spetrini, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Antidumping Countervailing Duty Policy and Negotiations, began serving as Acting Assistant Secretary.