Trump Nominates New GPO Director
After twice nominating, and then withdrawing the nomination of Robert C. Tapella to serve as director of the Government Publishing Office, President Donald Trump has submitted a new name to lead the country's largest in-plant. Hugh Nathanial Halpern of Virginia, who previously served as the director of Floor Operations in the Office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives before retiring in January 2019, has been nominated to serve as the GPO's chief executive officer.
For the past two years, the GPO has been led by a series of acting directors. The last permanent director was Davita Vance-Cooks, who departed in October of 2017 for a job in the private sector. She was followed by Jim Bradley, Andrew Sherman, Herb Jackson and finally John Crawford, the current acting deputy director.
While Tapella had a wealth of printing experience on his resume, and had, in fact, served as GPO's Public Printer a decade ago, Halpern does not appear to have a printing background. His duties as the director of Floor Operations, as detailed on Wikipedia, primarily included informally counting votes and ascertaining the support of the party's members of Congress for particular legislation prior to recorded votes. The director of Floor Operations is also responsible for persuading members of Congress from his party to vote along with the party's leadership and coordinating outreach to allied groups of lobbyists, corporations, or unions, according to Wikipedia.
Halpern's career also includes serving as staff director of the House Rules Committee and in various roles on other House committees, including Financial Services, Energy and Commerce, and Public Works and Transportation. He was the recipient of the McCormack Award of Excellence for Congressional Employees and holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree from the American University and a J.D. from the George Mason University School of Law.
Halpern's nomination is not likely to followed by a quick Senate confirmation, if history is any guide. For Vance-Cooks (who had already been serving as acting director for 16 months) it took three months between nomination and confirmation; for Tapella it took four months; for Bruce James in 2002 it took about eight months.
Bob has served as editor of In-plant Impressions since October of 1994. Prior to that he served for three years as managing editor of Printing Impressions, a commercial printing publication. Mr. Neubauer is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences and has visited nearly 170 in-plant operations around the world. He has given presentations to numerous in-plant groups in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including the Association of College and University Printers and the In-plant Printing and Mailing Association. He also coordinates the annual In-Print contest, co-sponsored by IPMA and In-plant Impressions.