The Government Printing Office is expected to continue work on digital technology initiatives and efforts to relocate to a new facility in upcoming months despite the departure of Public Printer Bruce James, who ended his tenure with the agency Wednesday.
Deputy Public Printer William Turri will serve as acting Public Printer until an appointment is announced, said Bob Tapella, the GPO’s chief of staff.
“I don’t think we are going to see a major change in how the GPO operates,” Tapella said. He later added: “We’re pretty confident that it is going to be business as usual.”
James, the nation’s 24th Public Printer, announced in April he would leave the post after four years at the GPO.
President Bush is tasked with appointing the Public Printer, to be confirmed by the Senate. An administration spokeswoman declined to comment on when a new printer would be announced, saying the White House does not publicly discuss personnel matters.
Under James, Turri oversaw many GPO departments, including Plant Operations, Finance and Administration, and Information and Technology Systems. And as chief of staff, Tapella worked with James to handle the departments Turri did not oversee.
So with the knowledge both men have — along with lower-level directors and managers — there shouldn’t be much of a leadership gap in the interim, Tapella said.
“The last four years were not about Bruce James as an individual,” Tapella said. “It was about a leader who assembled a leadership team to move the agency forward.”
James came out of retirement in his home state of Nevada to take the job. Immediately, he worked to revitalize the agency’s finances and move it from the role of a 19th-century printer to a 21st-century digital information center.
He accomplished many of his early goals. The GPO finished fiscal 2006 with a net income of $9.8 million, the third consecutive period the agency ended in the black.
James also spearheaded a slew of digital technology efforts, including the development of FDsys, a digital system designed to allow users to “create and submit content that can be preserved, authenticated, managed and delivered upon request,” according to the GPO Web site. FDsys is expected to go public this summer.
James earned a good reputation on Capitol Hill. On the Senate floor in December, then-Joint Committee on Printing Chairman Trent Lott (R-Miss.) praised the printer.
“Throughout his tenure, Bruce has ensured that we have the products and services we need to conduct our daily business in Congress,” Lott said. “In carrying out this program of change, Bruce brought to the GPO a broad ranges of business principles and practices ... all those among the public who rely on the GPO have been well served over the past four years.”
But one of James’ ultimate goals — moving the agency out of its massive facility on North Capitol Street to a location that better suits its needs — has yet to be achieved. Officials are expected to reintroduce their proposal to move the GPO in the new Congress, Tapella said.
“We believe that things will keep going,” he said. “There’s absolutely no reason why they wouldn’t.”
Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., takes a selfie with his cut-out head during the Hoops for Youth 16th annual charity basketball game held at George Washington University's Smith Center, September 8, 2014. The members of Congress team beat the lobbyist team 46-40. Buy photo here.