Watching for the exit of OMB politicals; CMS loses its chief data officer

Dave Mader, the controller, will be the second of the Office of Management and Budget's key management leaders to leave ahead of the end of the Obama administra...

A lot of personnel moves are coming or expected in the next month, with 10 federal chief information officers walking out the door and all the management leadership at the Office of Management and Budget.

We’ve learned a few are happening before Jan. 20, including Dave Mader, OMB controller. Mader’s last day is Jan. 4, sources say. No surprise that Mader is leaving, only that he’s out the door sooner than Jan. 20.

Anne Rung, the former administrator at the Office of Federal Procurement Policy, left Oct. 31.

So that leaves Director Shaun Donovan, federal CIO Tony Scott and Lisa Danzig, the associate director for Performance and Personnel, as the only remaining political appointees in OMB focused on management issues.

And of course, the political appointees in the Office of Science and Technology Policy that focus on technology issues, including U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith and deputy CTOs DJ Patil, Ed Felten, Alexander Macgillivray and Cori Zarek, along with a host of other senior policy advisers, also are expected to leave in the coming month or so.

When all of these appointees plan to leave is unclear, but the exodus is coming, and they will be replaced by President-elect Donald Trump appointees.

It’s also worth noting that OMB lost one of its best public affairs leaders. Jamal Brown, an OMB press secretary, left after six years of working with media on management issues, putting out fires and helping with speaking engagements. Brown was an all-around professional despite being over-protective at times. He took the time to understand the management issues we covered, respected the trade press and the role it plays in covering Washington, and, I believe, did his best to promote the good news stories that too often get lost in the shuffle while putting out the fires in any administration.

I worked closely with Jamal. We had our debates, heated discussions and disagreements, but I knew it was never personal and we were both looking for the same final result. So on a personal and public note, thanks to Jamal for the last six years of service.

Along with these political appointees, career officials also are on the move. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services is losing its chief data officer. Niall Brennan, who also serves as the director of the Office of Enterprise Data and Analytics (OEDA), has decided to leave CMS to pursue new opportunities, according to an email to staff obtained by Federal News Radio.

“Under Niall’s leadership, CMS took its data governance, analytic, and dissemination efforts to a new level. Niall has been at the forefront of the government data liberation movement, resulting in CMS being recognized as a model for other public and private organizations,” said the email from CMS leadership. “Niall and his team have also modernized and increased CMS analytic capabilities, resulting in increased access to real-time analytics and more interactive dashboards for both internal and external users. Niall also led the back-end data reconciliation effort for and continues to lead CMS reporting and analytics for the marketplace. He also grew the Chronic Condition Warehouse into a leading repository of health care information and oversaw the creation of the Qualified Entity Program.”

CMS said Chris Cox will serve as acting CMS chief data officer and acting OEDA Director until a new person is named.

Cox has been Brennan’s deputy for more than five years, and has more than 30 years of experience in federal service, beginning her career at the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), where she led the expansion of national health surveys linked to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security administrative data and increased public data access of linked data files.

Brennan has worked at CMS for more than six years, and spent part of his career at think tanks and with the Congressional Budget Office.

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