HUD Acting Leadership Geared Toward Crisis Response, as CFPB Gets New Acting Director

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has installed a new acting leadership team and a new permanent chief of staff, while the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has also appointed a new acting director while new full-time positions are awaiting the Senate confirmation process according to announcements issued by the White House and HUD.

Jenn Jones has been sworn in as the Department’s chief of staff, while Matthew Ammon is serving as Acting Secretary. Janet Golrick has also been named as the acting Federal Housing Administration (FHA) Commissioner, while the CFPB also has a new Acting Director in the form of Dave Uejio.

New HUD chief of staff

Jones, who previously served as chief of membership and policy at the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), was among several other senior appointees who took part in a virtual swearing-in ceremony led by President Biden from the White House shortly after his inauguration.

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Prior to her work with NCRC, Jones worked as as a senior policy advisor to former HUD Secretary Julián Castro during the second term of President Barack Obama, leading the Department’s affirmatively-furthering fair housing, neighborhood and community revitalization, rental assistance transformation, criminal justice reform and socio-economic mobility priorities under Secretary Castro.

“While we will miss Jenn dearly, we also couldn’t be more excited for her,” said Jesse Van Tol, CEO of NCRC in a statement the organization released about the move. “Jenn is a leader in social-economic justice, so we are not surprised that Biden tapped her for his administration. We look forward to working with her in her new capacity at HUD, and we wish her all best in her future endeavors.”

Acting leadership at HUD, FHA

Acting HUD Secretary Matthew E. Ammon

Acting HUD Secretary Matthew E. Ammon has worked at HUD for over 25 years and in several senior positions, most recently as the acting general deputy assistant secretary in HUD’s office of community planning and development. He previously served as director of the Office of Lead Hazard Control and Healthy Homes, and has helped to develop programs designed to eliminate childhood lead poisoning and to address housing conditions that threaten residents’ health.

Ammon has also spearheaded other safety initiatives during his time at HUD, including authoring HUD’s “Healthy Homes Strategic Plan,” and he has also led a federal inter-agency working group to develop “Advancing Healthy Housing – A Strategy for Action,” designed to align priorities of other federal agencies to meet broader healthy housing goals.

Ammon has also contributed to the Federal Radon Action Plan, the Coordinated Federal Action Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Asthma Disparities, the Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Promote Healthy Housing, and the National Prevention Council’s national prevention strategy.

Acting FHA Commissioner Janet M. Golrick

Acting FHA Commissioner Janet Golrick has over 30 years of housing experience across both the public and private sectors, with expertise in disaster preparedness and recovery as demonstrated by her experience in the Department’s disaster response efforts ever since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. She also served as the housing lead for a task force that responded to Hurricane Sandy in 2012.

Acting CFPB director

Dave Uejio, the Acting Director of the CFPB, previously worked at the agency as a strategy program manager before becoming its chief strategy officer, where he provided strategic support aimed at enhancing the Bureau’s capabilities in fulfilling its goals of consumer protection according to work history published on his LinkedIn profile. He first joined the CFPB as its first lead for talent acquisition in 2012, where he designed a modern recruitment program to reflect its place as a government agency that got its start in the 21st century.

Uejio stepped into the acting leadership position at the Bureau on the same day that the last Senate-confirmed director, Kathleen Kraninger, resigned from her position at the request of the Biden administration. Installation of temporary leadership in lieu of Senate confirmation for permanent appointments is a regular occurrence in any transition, but Kraninger was initially sworn in for a five-year term prior to a U.S. Supreme Court decision which made it possible for a sitting president to dismiss the CFPB director from the position.

It was initially believed that since Rohit Chopra — Biden’s choice for the full-time CFPB Director position — had already gone through the Senate confirmation process as a Federal Trade Commissioner, he would likely be installed as acting director as he awaits his confirmation. This move indicates that the administration instead intends all full-time directors to be confirmed prior to starting their respective jobs.

Leadership in transition: reacting to crises

A particular emphasis for the filling of these leadership positions appears to be on installing career staff as opposed to political appointees. In particular, the selections for Acting HUD Secretary and Acting FHA Commissioner appear to have added significance due to the ongoing status of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as Acting Secretary Ammon has abundant career experience in enhancing housing for the safety and health of residents, while acting FHA Commissioner Golrick has ample experience in disaster response and reaction on the part of the federal government.

“These public servants, like so many across the federal government, are dedicated to serving the American people, not a political party or agenda,” said President Joe Biden in a statement announcing these appointments. “Their experience in government and commitment to service will allow this administration to take the reins as we prepare to get the pandemic under control and our economy moving once again.”

The White House released a full list of temporary leadership appointments on its website. Confirmation of Acting Commissioner Golrick’s appointment was provided in the recent publication of a Mortgagee Letter.

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