The White House Office of Presidential Personnel



    1. Worked on the White House staff for fourteen years in the Eisenhower, Nixon, and Ford administrations. He also worked in the State Department, the Peace Corps, and the Treasury Department and is the author of The White House Staff: Inside the West Wing and Beyond (Brookings, 2000).
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    1. Professor of public policy at George Mason University. He has written or edited nine books on the presidency, including the forthcoming Character and the Modern Presidency (Brookings, 2002).
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One of the greatest challenges of a new presidential administration is recruiting and bringing on board the political appointees who will help the new president lead the executive branch. The people who carry out this task for the president work in the Office of Presidential Personnel (OPP). This article presents an overview of the OPP and how it functions during the transition and early months of a new administration. It first sets out the scope of the job by specifying the number and types of political appointments for which the OPP is responsible. Next, an account of how the office has developed will be presented along with the predictable challenges from pressures for appointments from the Hill, the campaign, and cabinet secretaries. Finally, obligations of the OPP after initial recruitment has been accomplished will be examined.