Presidential Transitions: How to get control of the appointment process?
A key task. A method employed: The President decides, "I’ll pick Don Secretary of the Treasury." Don comes in, sits down with the President. The Chief of Presidential Personnel and key transition heads are in the room. The President says, "Don, congratulations, I want you to be my Secretary of Treasury. You’re a great guy. We’re going to have a great team, we’re going to do this, we’re going to do that." He said, "One thing I want you to understand, though." This is the President talking: "We are going to control the appointments here at the White House, and Jack is going to be head of Presidential Personnel. Now, Don, we want your input on who you want for your Deputy, Assistant Secretary, and such, because it’s your team and you have a part, but we are going to control it here at the Oval Office, and do you agree with us?" And, of course, every one of them says, "Yes, I really do." So that’s a way to get control of it right away. Obviously, you lose that after about nine months or so, but for the first six or eight months, that Cabinet officer is going to clear it before he does anything. So all the names suggested, whether they are from the President himself or from the Cabinet officers, come into the process. Key administration people control the process.