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Outgoing GPO Head Taps Chief of Staff as Acting Successor

Davita Vance-Cooks is poised to become the first woman and first African-American to lead the Government Printing Office when the new year arrives.

Public Printer William Boarman, whose confirmation has been blocked in the Senate while he served in the role via a recess appointment, today named Vance-Cooks his second-in-command.

She will serve as deputy public printer, and take on the post of acting public printer when Boarman leaves the agency. Vance-Cooks could be in a position to earn President Barack Obama’s nomination to serve in the job permanently.

“I haven’t given it any thought,” she said. “Right now, I’m more into just getting ready for this new challenge of being the new deputy. I’m really excited.”

Vance-Cooks has served as chief of staff to Boarman since January, the latest posting in her nearly eight-year tenure at the GPO. Before that, she was managing director of the GPO’s Publications and Information Sales business unit.

“I’ve been thinking about it for many months, actually looking at a number of people within the agency who work closely with me,” Boarman said of his selection process. “I had a chance to see [Vance-Cooks] in action, look at her management skills, her strengths, weaknesses. ... I feel confident that she will continue the vision and strategy we created here.”

Boarman told Roll Call that he had originally planned to name a deputy early in the new year, but the uncertainty created by the delays in his confirmation made it necessary to put someone in place quickly to ensure a smooth transition.

Installed as Public Printer by a recess appointment last winter, Boarman needed to be confirmed by the end of the first session of the 112th Congress to stay in office.

But his confirmation was blocked along with dozens of others by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in a general protest against Obama’s recess appointment policy.

“I got hit by a ricochet bullet,” Boarman said.

Assuming his appointment as public printer will expire in the days ahead, Boarman said he plans to stay on the GPO payroll in a lower-level position, something akin to “assistant to the public printer,” to assist and advise Vance-Cooks during the transition.

“It would just be for a short amount of time, maybe two or three months,” Boarman explained. “I want to help her in every way I can, to help her be a success.”

Vance-Cooks’ appointment as deputy is effective immediately.

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