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Jeffrey Neal, Author of, discusses the process and timeline of filling jobs for the next administration

Many of President-elect Joe Biden’s picks for top jobs in his administration will need to go through the Senate confirmation process. Jeff Neal, former Chief Human Capital Officer at the Department of Homeland Security, joined “Government Matters” to make the case for Biden appointing middle-tier positions now that won’t need confirmations.

“They don’t have to worry too much about finding talent for a lot of these jobs. At this time of the election season, the president-elect’s team is getting bombarded with resumes…” Neal said.

He said Biden’s team will need to consider the qualifications of individuals while also ensuring diversity.

“Obviously they’re going to start with the core White House staff and the Cabinet, and then the question is always ‘do you work your way down from the Cabinet-level jobs to the lower political jobs, or not?’ And my recommendation has always been that an administration get started in the middle with all of those positions that are not Senate-confirmed,” Neal said.

Neal pointed out that Biden’s team would be able to move faster with middle-tier roles and that people appointed to these roles could begin their new jobs at noon on Jan. 20.

While some might be hesitant to appoint middle-tier roles without first appointing top-tier roles, Neal said it is not typical for agency leaders to choose all of the political appointees they work with, and that a lot of roles are selected by the White House.

“Particularly, when you consider that we’ll probably see cabinet secretaries confirmed fairly quickly, we’re not going to see under secretaries and assistant secretaries filled quickly, and leaving the jobs that report to those folks vacant for months, or maybe until the end of 2021, just means that priorities won’t be worked on, there won’t be people on the president’s team who are in place and making things happen,” he said.

He said the Biden administration could easily have several hundred people working on day one if the transition team prioritizes positions that don’t need Senate confirmations.

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